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# UNIVERSITY OF MALAYSIA SABAH

Faculty of Engineering,
Mechanical Engineering Program
Course: KM20701

Experiment 9
Determining the Specific
Heat Capacity of Air
Lecturer: DR. WILLEY LIEW YUN HSIE

TAN XING YAN
BK13110419
Lab Group 9

Contents
Summary ................................................................................................. 1
1.0 Introduction ........................................................................................... 2
2.0 Experimental Apparatus and Procedure ................................................... 4
2.1 Procedure .............................................................................................. 5
3.0 Results ....................................................................................................... 6
4.0 Calculation ................................................................................................ 8
4.1.1 Experiment 1 (1
st
Pre-heater with 1 kW) ........................................... 8
4.1.2 Experiment 2 (1
st
Pre-heater with 1 kW & 2
nd
Pre-heater with 1 kW)
..................................................................................................................... 9
4.2 Comparison ........................................................................................... 9
5.0 Discussion and Conclusion ..................................................................... 10
6.0 Reference ................................................ Error! Bookmark not defined.

1

Summary
Experiments were carried out to investigate the specific heat capacity
of air by any convenient steady flow process (i.e. heating or cooling)
provided that there is no change in the moisture content of the air. The
experiments were carried out by using Air Conditioning Laboratory Unit
A660 (with upgrades A6060A and AC660A) by altering the pre-heater and
re-heater across the air conditioning unit.
After some time of carrying out the experiment, the fan supply voltage
increased by itself might be due to the increased of temperature together
with the resistance. The average specific volume of air obtained is
1.0235kJ/kg.K with 1.84% of difference compare to the 1.005kJ/kg.K given.
The difference may be caused by the lack of maintenance of the air
conditioning unit and/or the surrounding environment which is quite small
makes the difficulty of air to flow.

2

1.0 Introduction
The whole experiment was carried out by Air Conditioning
Laboratory Unit A660. It comprises variable speed radial acting axial flow
fan discharging into a 250mm square duct with steam humidifier, electrical
pre-heaters, direct expansion cooling coil/de-humidifier, electrical re-heaters
and orifice plate for airflow measurement (P.A.Hilton Ltd, 2011).
The nominal value used for air at 300 K is C
P
= 1.005 kJ/kg.K. The
experiment is to determine the experimental specific heat capacity of air
compared to the standard heat capacity by the percentage of differences.
The specific heat capacity is defined as the amount of heat energy per
unit mass needed to raise temperature of substance by one degree Celsius.
The relationship between heat and temperature change is usually expressed
in the form of equation 1.1 below.
(1.1)
Where is the heat added or removed
is the specific heat of air
is the mass of air
is the change in temperature
In this experiment, the specific heat capacity of air is given as
equation 1.2 as shown below.

(1.2)
Where

is the specific heat of air,

## is the temperature before heater.

3

Which the air mass flow rate given as equation (1.3):-

(1.3)
Where is the duct difference pressure in (mm H
2
O),
is the specific volume of air in (m
3
/kg).
The

(1.4)
Where

## is the supply voltage,

is the resistance of 1
st
pre-heater,

is the resistance of 2
nd
pre-heater.
In equation 1.2, the mass flow rate is needed to find the

, in
contrast, the specific volume of the air is required for finding the mass flow
rate. The specific volume of air can be determined by using a
psychorometric chart. With the temperature of dry bulb and wet bulb, we
can find the specific volume of air by intersecting both temperatures in the
psychrometric chart. Beside of specific volume, we also needed voltage and
fan power, this can be identify through the machine control panel.

4

2.0 Experimental Apparatus and
Procedure
The apparatus used in this experiment is Air Conditioning Unit A660
(with upgrades A660A and AC660A). The figure 2.1 below shows the air
conditioning unit.

Figure 1: A660 Air Conditioning Laboratory Unit
This air conditioning unit has been designed to demonstrate and to
evaluate the energy transfer occurring in all the process required. There are
few data that can be obtained from this apparatus, among them are:
a) The condition of the air before and after the various process (via dry
and wet bulb sensor).
b) The energy transfer rate at each heater, fan and refrigeration unit.
c) Air mass flow rate.
d) Pressure and temperature of refrigerant.
5

2.1 Procedure
This experiment is conducted by manipulating the 2 pre-heaters and 2
re-heaters to determine the specific heat capacity of air. The four
experiments with difference of Pre-heater and Re-heater switched on are as
follow:
Table 1: Pre-heater and Re-heater that switched on in the experiments respectively

The air conditioning is switched on and air flow is set to convenient
value then the first pre-heater is switched on to give 1 kW heating. After that,
the orifice differential pressure is set to 4mm H
2
O. The air conditioning unit
is left for few minutes until the conditions have stabilized and the following
observations are recorded that are, dry bulb temperature at the fan inlet, t1,
dry bulb temperature after pre-heaters, t3, dry bulb temperature after re-
heating, t7, wet bulb temperature after re-heating, t8, supply voltage, V
L,
and

fan supply voltage, V
F
.
After the observations are made, the procedure is repeated again by
using different switches of pre-heaters and re-heaters as table 1.

Experiment Pre-heater that switched on Re-heater that switched on
1 1
st
Pre-heater with 1 kW -
2 1
st
and 2
nd
Pre-heater with 1 kW -
3 - 1
st
& 2
nd
Re-heater with 2 kW
4 1
st
& 2
nd
Pre-heater with 2 kW 1
st
& 2
nd
Re-heater with 2 kW
6

3.0 Results
The data obtained through all the 4 experiments are recorded in Table 2
below while Table 3 is the system heater resistances of the air conditioning
unit. The values of (W.P.Jones, 1996) (Shan K. Wang, 2000) (Pita, 2002)
fan power consumption are obtained from the fan power graph of A660
control panel as shown in Figure 2.

Local Atmospheric Pressure: 101,325 Pa
1 2 3 4
A Air at Fan Inlet
dry t
1
C 28.2 28.6 28.1 28.6
wet t
2
C 28.0 27.8 28.0 28.4
B After Pre-heat or Steam Injection
dry t
3
C 43.2 43.9 55.7 63.4
wet t
4
C 40.3 52.5 34.1 54.8
C
After Cooling or
Dehumidification
dry t
5
C 26.3 31.3 32.6 31.9
wet t
6
C 26.2 28.9 25.9 31.8
D After Re-heating
dry t
7
C 27.2 46.8 57.5 64.5
wet t
8
C 27.4 29.8 34.3 39.2
Supply Volts V
L
V AC 220 220 220 220
Duct Differential Pressure Z mmH
2
O 4.0 4.0 3.5 3.65
Fan Supply Voltage V
F
V 110 115 105 108
Fan Power Consumption W 100 105 95 97
Table 2: Data collected from experiments.

7

SYSTEM HEATER RESISTANCES (from table on machine control panel)
Boiler , Lower 2kW R
b
25.3
Boiler , Upper 2kW R
b
24.3
Boiler, 1kW R
b
57.4
1
st
Pre-heater, 1kW R
p
46.1
2
nd
Pre-heater, 1kW R
p
45.6
1
st
Re-heater, 1kW R
r
45.1
2
nd
Re-heater, 1kW R
r
45.0
Table 3: System heater resistances

Figure 2: Fan power consumption graph

8

4.0 Calculation
4.1.1 Experiment 1 (1
st
Pre-heater with 1 kW)
From psychrometric chart, specific volume of air, v = 0.882 m
3
/kg

Using ideal gas equation,
o ; where P is the atmospheric pressure,
V is the volume of air,
n is the number of mole of air,
R is the ideal gas constant,
T is the temperature of air.

o

## ; where m is the mass of the air,

M = 2.897x10
-4
is the molar mass of
Air.
o Resolving,

o Therefore,
= 0.850 m
3
/kg

Using equation 1.3 with v = 0.882 m
3
/kg,

= 0.110 kg/s
equation 1.4 with R
P1
= 46.1,

= 1049.9 W
equation 1.2 with t
B
= 43.2
o
C, t
A
= 28.2
o
C, C
P air
= 0.697 kJ/kg.K

(3.1)
9

4.1.2 Experiment 2 (1
st
Pre-heater with 1 kW &
2
nd
Pre-heater with 1 kW)
From psychrometric chart, v = 0.934 m
3
/kg

From equation 3.1, v = 0.905 m
3
/kg

Using equation 1.3 with v = 0.934 m
3
/kg,

= 0.107 kg/s
equation 1.4 with R
P1
= 46.1 & R
P2
= 45.6,

= 2111.3 W
equation 1.2 with t
B
= 43.9
o
C, t
A
= 28.6
o
C, C
P air
= 1.35 kJ/kg.K

4.2 Comparison
Experiment 1 => Percentage difference = (0.697 - 1.005)/1.005 x 100%
= -30.65%
Experiment 2 => Percentage difference = (1.35 - 1.005)/1.005 x 100%
= 34.33%
Average value of C
P air
= (0.697 + 1.35)/2 = 1.0235 kJ/kg.K

Average percentage difference of C
P air
= (1.0235 1.005)/1.005 x 100%
= 1.84%

10

5.0 Discussion and Conclusion
The average value of specific heat capacity of air we obtained from
the experiment C
P air
= 1.0235 kJ/kg.K which has a percentage difference of
1.84% compared to the standard specific heat capacity of air, 1.005 kJ/kg.K.
This may be due to the heat generated by the air conditioning unit,
inappropriate air ventilation and prolonged use of experimenting the air
conditioning unit which causes the surrounding temperature and humidity
varied over time. This affect the specific volume of air and then the
calculation for specific heat capacity of air.
The value of specific heat capacity of air will be raised and higher
than 1.005 kJ/kg.K if all the pre-heaters and the re-heaters switched on. By
inspecting the formula:-

the value of C
P air
is assumed to be increased when the value of

increased
and difference of

and

## decreased when all the heaters are switched on.

The calculation for experiment 3 and experiment 4 could not be
conducted because the values of specific volume of air are out of the
psychrometric chart so unable to get the value and use for calculation.

11

6.0 References
P.A.Hilton Ltd. 2011. P.A.Hilton Ltd. A660 Air Conditioning Laboratory
Unit. [Online] 2011. http://www.p-a-hilton.co.uk/products/A660-Air-
Conditioning-Laboratory-Unit.
Pita, Edward G. 2002. Air Conditioning Principles and System: An Energy
Approach. New Jersey : R.R. Donnelly & Sons Company, 2002. pp. 173-
182.
Shan K. Wang, Zalman Lavan & Paul Norton. 2000. Air Conditioning
and Refrigeration Engineering. United States of America : CRC Press LLC,
2000. pp. 11-19.
W.P.Jones. 1996. Air Conditioning Engineering. London : Arnold, 1996. pp.
10-12.