Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 8



efrigeration is the process of cooling below ambient environmental temperature. Air conditioning (AC) is the process of treating air to simultaneously control its temperature, humidity, cleanliness, and distribution. Psychrometrics is the science of air/water vapor mixtures. It is used to study air at its various stages in the AC process and determine how the air moves from one state to another. The AC process changes the psychrometric condition of air and may involve cooling, heating, humidification, or dehumidification. This chapter provides a basic overview of psychrometrics as the underlying thermodynamic process involved in the application of certain technologies addressed in ensuing chapters in this Section. Examples include condensing methods, cooling towers, and desiccant dehumidification. Figure 34-1 is a psychrometric representation of the basic AC processes. The arrows point to the direction on the chart that is followed to track the changing condition of the air as each of the processes occur. Directions A, C, E, and G are the four basic elemental AC processes: humidifying, heating, dehumidifying, and cooling, respectively. These four lines form four quadrants much like the four directions on a compass. Any point lying within these quadrants represents a combination of processes. For example, just as a point lying between north and east is in a northeast quadrant, any point lying between A and C represents heating and humidifying combined.

Humidifying only Heating and humidifying Sensible heating only Heating and dehumidifying (or chemical dehumidifying) E = Dehumidifying only F = Cooling and dehumidifying G = Sensible cooling only H = Evaporative cooling only For the purposes of HVAC engineering, all aspects of these processes must be considered. Of primary interest for the ensuing chapters in this section are the cooling and dehumidification processes.

Where: A = B = C = D =


Air is a mixture of many gases, predominantly nitrogen and oxygen. Atmospheric air also contains water vapor. The dry-bulb (db) temperature of an air stream is the temperature of the mixture of air and water vapor at rest. Moist air is said to be saturated when it can coexist in equilibrium with an associated condensed moisture phase. Wet-bulb (wb) temperature is the temperature that will be reached when air and water are mixed with no transfer of heat from the outside. By evaporating, the water cools itself and the surrounding air until saturation is reached and the water can no longer provide additional cooling. While the db temperature indicates the actual temperature of the air, the wb temperature indicates the temperature that can be reached by evaporating enough water into the air to make it fully saturated. The relationship between db and wb temperature is useful because if both are known, all other properties of the air-water mixture can be read directly from a psychrometric chart. The concept can be understood through a comparison with db temperature determination. Consider the case of two thermometers placed in a moving stream of gas (i.e., air), with the bulb of one covered with a linen, wet with distilled water. The covered thermometer functions as a wb thermometer. Water will evaporate from the wick due to heat transfer to the air at the db temperature and due to radiant heat transfer from the surroundings. The water vapor is diffused from the

A Humidity Ratio H B


Dry-Bulb Temperature

Fig. 34-1 Psychrometric Representation of Basic AC Processes.

Copyright 2003 by The Fairmont Press.

Combined Heating, Cooling & Power Handbook: Technologies & Applications

wick to the surrounding air-water vapor mixture until the evaporation rate reaches equilibrium with the drying capacity of air. At this point, the temperature reached by the wick-thermometer is called the wb temperature. The wb thermometer will register a lower temperature than the db thermometer as long as evaporation continues. When the wb temperature is less than the db, the air is only partially saturated. The difference between db and wb temperature for a particular state is known as the wb depression. The greater the RH, the smaller the differential between db and wb temperatures, i.e., the wb depression. The maximum depression for a given db temperature will occur when the gas is dry. Zero depression will be observed at saturation, i.e., at 100% RH. Wb and db temperature will be equal because the gas is completely saturated. When the cooling of an air stream proceeds at constant total pressure, the partial pressures of the constituents remain constant until the saturation state of the vapor is reached and condensation of the vapor occurs. Dewpoint, or condensation temperature, is the temperature at which condensation begins when the moist air mixture is cooled at constant pressure. The dewpoint is equal to the saturation temperature. When air is saturated, it has reached a condition of 100% RH. Relative humidity (RH or ) is the ratio of the mole fraction of water vapor in the mixture to the mole fraction of water vapor in saturated air at the same db temperature and barometric pressure. It is also the ratio of the pressure of the vapor in the air to the vapor pressure at saturation corresponding to the temperature. In simpler terms, RH expresses the moisture content of air as a percentage of what it can hold when air is fully saturated. This maximum value increases as the temperature increases, reaching its maximum at 100% RH (saturation). The humidity ratio (), or specific humidity, of an air-water mixture is the ratio of the mass of the water vapor to the mass of dry air in the mixture. It is essentially a comparison of the weight of all of the water molecules to the weight of all of the air molecules in a lbm (or kg) of a mixture. Thus, the humidity ratio may be expressed as:

pressure. In order to work in whole numbers, AC engineers commonly use the English system of measurement, which defines a lbm as consisting of 7,000 grains. So a humidity ratio of 0.00785 lbm of water/lbm of dry air is converted to whole numbers by multiplying by 7,000 grains/lbm of water. Thus, 0.00785 lbmwater /lbmair x 7,000 grains/lbmwater = 55 grains/lbmair For conversions to SI units, there are 15,432 grains/kg, so a humidity ratio of 0.00785 would be equivalent to 121 grains/kg air. For example, assume that air at 90F (32C) and 70% RH is cooled and dehumidified so that the final state is 80F (27C) and 40% RH. The amount of water per lbm (kg) of dry air () is reduced from 0.0214 to 0.0087. The 0.0127 lbm (kg) of water removed per lbm (kg) of dry air corresponds to (7,000 x 0.0127) 88.9 grains/lbm (196 grains/kg) of dry air. The air cooling process consists of removing sensible and latent heat, so that the enthalpy, or the total energy, in the air is reduced. When air is hot, its enthalpy is high. When air is moist, its enthalpy is also high because additional heat was required to evaporate moisture into the air. The total enthalpy (hm) of a mixture is equal to the enthalpy of the dry (ha) air plus the enthalpy of the water vapor (hv) times the humidity ratio (). Thus, hm = ha + hv (34-2)

The amount of heat that must be removed to make this change, or enthalpy reduction, may be expressed as: hm = (Mair x SH x T) + (MH2O x SH x T) + (Mcondensate x heat of vaporization) (34-3)

Mv Ma


Where: Mv = Mass of water vapor Ma = Mass of dry air A typical humidity ratio is 0.00785 lbm (kg) of water per lbm (kg) of dry air. That is the amount of water in air at 70F (21C) and 50% RH at standard atmospheric

Where: M = Mass in lbm (kg) SH = Specific heat in Btu/lbm F (kJ/kg C) The enthalpy of the air is expressed as the number of Btu/lbm (kJ/kg or kW/kg) of dry air. Typical values range between 0 Btu/lbm (0 kJ/kg) at 0F (-18C) if the air is perfectly dry and 63 Btu/lbm (147 kJ/kg) if air is saturated at 95F (35C). The heating and cooling requirements of AC loads are characterized by their sensible and latent components. The ratio of the sensible load component to the total heat load is sometimes referred to as the sensible heat fraction (SHF) or sensible heat ratio (SHR). The ratio of the latent component to the total load is sometimes referred to as

Copyright 2003 by The Fairmont Press.


the latent heat fraction (LHF) or latent heat ratio (LHR). Generally, the more water vapor that must be removed from the air stream to be conditioned, the more work a mechanical refrigeration compressor (or absorption chiller) must do to achieve a low enough cooling coil temperature to condense the water vapor. The cooling coil must be much colder simply to lower the (sensible) temperature of the air to the desired level. Thus, just as with other lower temperature refrigeration applications, the compressor must operate at a higher compression ratio, requiring more shaft power per ton (kWr or kJ/h), if there is a high LHR or if a low RH is desired.


The psychrometric chart is a plot of the properties of atmospheric air. It graphically illustrates the relationship between db temperature, wb temperature, RH, humidity ratio, and enthalpy. It is essentially a graphic representation of the condition of air (air-water vapor mixture) at each point in the AC process. It relates db temperature to absolute moisture content of the air and includes all of the possible combinations of temperature, moisture content, density, and heat content properties that can occur in air. The chart can be used to make calculations to determine

the sensible and latent loads associated with HVAC equipment processes. Figure 34-2 is a psychrometric chart in English units. The numbered lines or scales highlight the functionality of the chart. Figure 34-3 is a psychrometric chart in SI units. Figure 34-4 is a basic sketch of a psychrometric chart; the scales and lines of the chart are highlighted as they relate to one specific set of air conditions. Included are db and wb temperatures, RH, specific humidity, vapor pressure, dewpoint temperature, and enthalpy. The darkened circle pinpoints the location of the specific condition and the intersecting horizontal and vertical lines show the scales from which the condition can be identified. If any two properties of an air mixture are known, the chart allows a quick determination of all of its other properties. Following are a series of skeleton psychrometric charts. Each highlights particular scales and lines associated with each one of the seven conditions shown jointly in Figure 34-4. Figure 34-5 shows db temperature lines, i.e., the temperature of air measured on a standard thermometer. These are shown as straight vertical lines. The scale called db temperature is laid out horizontally at the bottom of the chart in F, with the incremental lines extending

Fig. 34-2 Psychrometric Chart (English units). Source: The Trane Company

Copyright 2003 by The Fairmont Press.

Combined Heating, Cooling & Power Handbook: Technologies & Applications

Fig. 34-3 Psychrometric Chart (SI units). Source: Carrier Corp.

Fig. 34-4 Sketch of Psychrometric Chart Highlighting One Specific Set of Conditions.

Copyright 2003 by The Fairmont Press.


Fig. 34-7 Specific Humidity (Humidity Ratio) Lines. Fig. 34-5 Dry-Bulb Temperature Lines.

vertically. In SI unit charts, the scale is in C. Figure 34-6 shows RH () lines. The RH lines are curved and the values appear in increments of 10%, representing the degree of saturation, or the ratio of the pressure of the vapor (pv) to the pressure of the vapor at saturation (pvs). At 100% RH, db temperature is equal to wb temperature. As RH decreases, the wb temperature becomes lower than the equivalent db temperature. Figure 34-7 shows specific humidity, or humidity ratio ( or HR), lines. These are shown as straight horizontal lines that are perpendicular to db lines. The scale is in grains of moisture per lbm of dry air (grains/lbm) and typically ranges from 0 to about 200. In SI unit charts, the corresponding scale is kg/kg of dry air and typically ranges from 0 to 0.033. For example, to determine the grains/lbm of dry air removed in conditioning air from 90F (32C) and 70% RH to 80F (27C) and 40% RH, proceed vertically

Fig. 34-8 Vapor Pressure Scale.

Fig. 34-6 Relative Humidity Lines.

from 90F (32C) db to the 70% RH curve. The intersection is at 150 grains (0.0214 kg/kg), while 80F (27C) and 40% RH intersect at 61 grains (0.0087 kg/kg). The difference is 90 grains (0.0128 kg/kg). Figure 34-8 shows the vapor pressure (Pv or Pw) scale. This measures the pressure exerted by water vapor in the air. The scale, when included, is typically on the far right of the chart and the unit of measurement is in-Hg abs (cm-Hg abs or Pascal). Figure 34-9 shows the dewpoint temperature scale. Dewpoint temperature lines run horizontally, like the grains of moisture lines, with a scale that typically ranges from 20 to 90F (-7 to 32C). To determine the dewpoint temperature of air at 80F (27C) and 50% RH, for example, start at the db temperature of 80F (27C) and proceed vertically to the 50% RH curve. From this intersection, proceed horizontally to the saturation curve (100% RH). This yields a dewpoint temperature of 60F (16C). Figure 34-10 shows the enthalpy (h) scale. It is typi-

Copyright 2003 by The Fairmont Press.

Combined Heating, Cooling & Power Handbook: Technologies & Applications

Fig. 34-9 Dewpoint Temperature Scale.

Fig. 34-11 Wet-Bulb Temperature Lines.

cally on the left, but sometimes on both sides, of the chart. Typically, the scale ranges from about 5 to 60 Btu/lbm (12 to 140 kJ/kg). Commonly, the wb lines are used to represent enthalpy lines. While these are not exactly the same, they are generally considered to be close enough for practical purposes. Figure 34-11 shows wb, or saturation, temperature lines. These indicate the temperature of air above 32F (0C). Below 32F (0C), temperatures are measured on a wb thermometer on which the water in the wick has frozen to ice. Note that the slope of the wb lines change below 32F (0C). The scale, in F, is the curved line (with a slope of about 30 degrees) at the left edge of the chart.

Additional Features of Psychrometric Charts

Following are some additional lines and scales commonly found on psychrometric charts: Specific volume (v) lines. Specific volume is the volume that a unit mass of air occupies. It is the

reciprocal of the density of air. Specific volume lines run almost diagonally from the upper left to the lower right of the chart, with values listed on each line. Values falling between each line can be found through interpolation by placing a straight edge over the point of intersection and paralleling the specific volume lines. The unit of measurement is ft3 (m3) of the air mixture per lbm (kg) of dry air, with typical values ranging from 12.5 to 14.5 (0.75 to 0.95) in standard charts. Sensible heat factor (SHF), or ratio, scale. This is useful when plotting some AC processes, such as cooling and dehumidification, and helps to determine the required supply air conditions. The scale typically ranges from 0.35 to 1.00, or 35 to 100%. This percentage represents the sensible work. The remaining percentage would be latent heat. Enthalpy deviation lines. These are used to correct enthalpy readings when extreme accuracy is required. Enthalpy is the total heat in the air at 100% saturation. If the air is not completely saturated, slight error is present in the enthalpy reading. The scale typically ranges from 0.02 to 0.30 Btu (0.02 to 0.32 kJ). This is the amount of heat that would be subtracted from the enthalpy reading.
AND DEHUMIDIFYING AIR The process of sensible cooling is represented on the psychrometric chart by a horizontal line extended to the saturation line. If air is cooled sensibly, it changes in its db and wb temperature, RH, and total heat, but does not change in its moisture content, dewpoint temperature, or vapor pressure. For example, to determine how much heat


Fig. 34-10 Enthalpy Scale.

Copyright 2003 by The Fairmont Press.


must be removed to sensibly cool air having a db temperature of 80F (27C) and 50% RH to 50F (10C), identify the humidity ratio and enthalpy at 80F (27C) and 50% RH. This is 26 grains and 23.4 Btu (0.0037 kg/kg and 54.4 kJ), respectively, per lbm (kg) of dry air. Proceed horizontally at a constant humidity ratio to 50F (27C), at which point enthalpy is 16.1 Btu/lbm (37.4 kJ/kg) of dry air. The difference, or sensible heat removal requirement, is 7.3 Btu/lbm (17.0 kJ/kg). Until the air temperature reaches its dewpoint, all of the cooling is sensible. For example, an air stream at 70F (21C) and 50% RH can be sensibly cooled to 51F (11C) before any moisture is removed. At 51F (11C), it is saturated (100% RH). If it is cooled further, its moisture will begin to condense out of the air. The db temperature and absolute humidity of the air stream and the cooling coil surface temperature determine sensible and latent cooling. If the cooling surface temperature is below the initial dewpoint temperature, this

45 F 44 gr./lb

70 F 56 gr./lb

Maximum moisture content is proportional to air temperature Cooling the air removes moisture

Sensible Cooling

Dehumidification Process Air

Fig. 34-12 Cooling/Dehumidification Process. Source: Munters Cargocaire and Mason Grant Company

process can be portrayed on the chart as a straight line extending from the initial condition to the surface temperature on the saturation curve. During this process, the db and wb temperature, moisture content, vapor pressure of the moisture, and total heat all decrease. The amount of moisture removed depends on how cold the air can be chilled. The lower the temperature, the drier the air. The cooling/dehumidification process is illustrated diagramatically and the process air path is drawn on a psychrometric chart in Figure 34-12. In this example, air is cooled from 70 to 45F (21 to 7C) and moisture level is reduced from 56 to 44 grains/lbm (0.008 to 0.006 kg/kg). To meet the specified temperature and humidity set points in a given space, the sensible and latent removal capacity of the refrigeration system must be equal to the corresponding fractions of the cooling load. In situations in which the LHF is much greater than the SHF, or where a low dewpoint temperature is desired, excess sensible cooling capacity must be designed into the system. In order to satisfy the latent cooling requirement, the air stream must be cooled below the dewpoint temperature, or excess air must be introduced and cooled. When a system is designed to produce low humidity levels, the air stream must be reheated before being discharged to the space. The required coil temperature depends on the humidity level desired. If latent load is high, design options to consider are: Use of a deeper coil. Use of lower temperature to dry part of the air and then mix. Use of some other special design. An inherent inefficiency in conventional AC systems is the need to overcool in order to achieve a low dewpoint. For each degree of dewpoint temperature that the air stream must be cooled beyond the point it satisfies the sensible cooling requirement, the system must be overdesigned, driving up system cost and driving down system performance. This means that there is more total cooling capacity requirement than there is total cooling load. This additional energy use is further increased by the energy required for reheating. For each required Btu (kJ or kWh) of sensible overcooling, there is a corresponding Btu (kJ or kWh) required for reheating. At lower temperatures, moisture removal by cooling is less efficient. Also, the rate of sensible overcooling continually increases with each declining degree of dewpoint temperature. The corresponding rate of reheat require-

Copyright 2003 by The Fairmont Press.

Combined Heating, Cooling & Power Handbook: Technologies & Applications

ment increases proportionally with the rate of sensible overcooling. When cooling coil surfaces are held below the freezing point, frost will develop on the coil. This places a limit on how low conventional AC systems can reduce dewpoint temperature. The frost insulates the coil and it becomes physically clogged, reducing airflow and heat transfer efficiency. Defrost equipment must be designed into the system in order to eliminate ice build-up, further adding to the energy inefficiency. Thus, designing a system to achieve low humidity levels results in increased capital and operating costs for excess cooling capacity, reheat, and defrosting equipment. While beyond the scope of this discussion, it is important to note that for refrigeration freezing processes, the psychrometric process extends to the product freezing range. Product temperature is brought down to the freezing range (sensible heat removal above freezing) and then water in the product changes to ice while the temperature remains constant (latent heat removal). Product temperature is then lowered below the freezing point to the ultimate storage temperature (sensible heat removal below freezing).

below apply specifically to standard air and can be used in most AC calculations. If very precise data are required, the constants below can be adjusted to correspond to actual dry air conditions. Note that in English system units, the weight of air may be expressed in lbm or lb, which both imply lbmass (lb is more commonly used in HVAC engineering than lbm). Note also that ft3 is also commonly expressed as cf and cf per minute is commonly expressed as cfm. Specific volume of standard air = 13.33 ft3/lbm (0.833 m3/kg) Density of standard air = 0.075 lbm/ft3 (1.2 kg/m3) Specific heat of standard air = 0.24 Btu/lbm F (1.00kJ/kg C or 0.278 Watt-h/kg C) Average latent heat of water vapor = 1,054 Btu/lbm (2,451 kJ/kg or 681 W-h/kg) Use of these standard air constants is often sufficient in performing HVAC engineering calculations. Such calculations are, however, limited to the accuracy of the assumption of standard air conditions. To refine the accuracy of such calculations, one must adjust factors such as air density (and specific volume), specific heat, and latent heat. These can be found in psychrometric charts designed for non-standard conditions, including charts for high and low temperatures and barometric pressures.


Standard air is defined as dry air at 70F (21C) and 29.92 in. Hg column (101.325 kPa). The air constants

Copyright 2003 by The Fairmont Press.