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PsychrometricChartUse

Figure1.PsychrometricChart

PsychrometricChartandAirCharacteristics
Apsychrometricchartpresentsphysicalandthermalpropertiesofmoistairinagraphicalform.Itcanbe
veryhelpfulintroubleshootinggreenhouseorlivestockbuildingenvironmentalproblemsandindetermining
solutions.Understandingpsychrometricchartshelpsvisualizationofenvironmentalcontrolconceptssuchas
whyheatedaircanholdmoremoisture,andconversely,howallowingmoistairtocoolwillresultin
condensation.Theobjectiveofthisfactsheetistoexplaincharacteristicsofmoistairandhowtheyareused
inapsychrometricchart.Threeexamplesareusedtoillustratetypicalchartuseandinterpretation.Properties
ofmoistairareexplainedintheDefinitionsattheendforyourreferenceduringthefollowingdiscussions.
Psychrometricchartsareavailableinvariouspressureandtemperatureranges.Figure1,atthetopofthe
page,isforstandardatmosphericpressure(14.7psi)andtemperaturesof30oto120oFwhichisadequatefor
mostgreenhouseorlivestockhousingapplications.Psychrometricpropertiesarealsoavailableasdatatables,
equations,andsliderulers.
Apsychrometricchartcontainsalotofinformationpackedintoanoddshapedgraph.Ifwedissectthe
componentspiecebypiece,theusefulnessofthechartwillbeclearer.Boundariesofthepsychrometricchart
areadrybulbtemperaturescaleonthehorizontalaxis,ahumidityratio(moisturecontent)scaleonthe
verticalaxis,andanuppercurvedboundarywhichrepresentssaturatedairor100percentmoistureholding
capacity.ThechartshowsotherimportantmoistairpropertiesasdiagrammedinFigure2:wetbulb
temperatureenthalpydewpointorsaturationtemperaturerelativehumidityandspecificvolume.See
Definitionsforexplanationoftheseterms.Moistaircanbedescribedbyfindingtheintersectionofanytwo
ofthesepropertiesandfromthatpointalltheotherpropertiescanberead.Thekeyistodeterminewhichset
oflinesonthechartrepresenttheairpropertyofinterest.Somepracticewithexampleswillhelp.UseFigures

2and3withthepsychrometricchartinFigure1toverifywhetheryoucanfindeachairproperty.

Anunderstandingoftheshapeanduseofthepsychrometricchartwillhelpindiagnosingairtemperatureand
humidityproblems.Notethatcoolerair(locatedalonglower,leftregionofchart)willnotholdasmuch
moisture(asseenontheyaxis'humidityratio)aswarmair(locatedalongrightsideofchart).Aruleof
thumb,insidetypicalgreenhousesoranimalbuildingsduringwinterconditions,isthata10oFriseinair
temperaturecandecreaserelativehumidity20percent.Useofapsychrometricchartwillshowthatthisis
roughlytrue.Forexample,todecreaserelativehumidityinawintergreenhouseduringacriticaltimeperiod,
wecouldheattheair.

Figure2.Propertiesofmoistaironapsychrometricchart.Wet
bulbtemperatureandenthalpyusethesamechartlinebutvalues
arereadoffseperatescales.

UseofPsychrometricChartinGreenhouseandBarn
Example1Findairproperties
Aslingpsychrometergivesadrybulbtemperatureof78oFandawetbulbtemperatureof65oF.Determine
othermoistairpropertiesfromthisinformation.Twousefulairpropertiesforenvironmentalanalysisin
agriculturalbuildingswouldberelativehumidityanddewpointtemperature.Relativehumidityisan
indicatorofhowmuchmoistureisintheaircomparedtodesirablemoistureconditions,anddewpoint
temperatureindicateswhencondensationproblemswouldoccurshouldthe(drybulb)temperaturedrop.

Findtheintersectionofthetwoknownproperties,drybulbandwetbulbtemperatures,onthepsychrometric
chart,Figure1.Thedrybulbtemperatureislocatedalongthebottomhorizontalaxis.Findthelinefor78oF,
whichrunsverticallythroughthechart.Wetbulbtemperatureislocatedalongdiagonaldottedlinesleading
toscalereadingsattheupper,curvedboundarymarked"saturationtemperature".Theintersectionofthe
vertical78oFdrybulblineandthediagonal65oFwetbulblinehasnowestablisheda"statepoint"forthe
measuredair.Nowreadrelativehumidityas50percent(curvinglinerunningfromlefttorightupthrough
thechart)anddewpointtemperatureas58oF(followhorizontalline,movingleft,towardthecurvedupper
boundaryofsaturationtemperatures).ThisexampleisshowninFigure3soyoumaycheckyourwork.

Whatmightweconcludefromthisinformation?Therelativehumidityof50percentisacceptableformost
livestockandgreenhouseapplications.Ifweallowedtheairtemperature(drybulb)todecreaseto58oF
(dewpoint)orbelow,theairwouldbe100percentsaturatedwithmoistureandcondensationwouldoccur.
Thehumidityratio,asseenonthevertical,yaxisscale,isareliableindicatorofairmoisturelevelsinceit
reflectsthepoundsofmoisturecontainedinapoundofdryairanddoesnotfluctuatewithdrybulb

temperaturereadingsasdoesrelativehumidity.Thehumidityratioforairinthisexampleisabout0.0104lb
moisture/lbdryair(moverighthorizontallyfromstatepointtohumidityratioscale).

Figure3.DiagramofExample1.Verifythesevaluesonthepsychrometricchart(Figure1)

Example2Winterventilation
Oftenairisheatedbeforeitisintroducedintogreenhouseoryounglivestockbuildingenvironments.
Consideranapplicationwhereoutdoorairat40oF(drybulb)temperatureand80percentrelativehumidityis
heatedto65oF(drybulb)beforeitisdistributedthroughoutthebuilding.
Findthestatepointfortheincomingcoolaironthelowerleftportionofthepsychrometricchart(pointAin
Figure4)Notethatotherpropertiesofthe40oFairincludeawetbulbtemperatureof38oFadewpoint
temperatureofabout34oFandhumidityratioof0.0042lbmoisture/lbdryair.Heatingairinvolvesan
increaseinthedrybulbtemperaturewithnoadditionorreductionintheair'swatercontent.Theheating
processmoveshorizontallytotherightalongalineofconstanthumidityratio.SeeFigure4forthisheating
processbetweenpointsAandB.Heatingtheairto65oF(drybulb)hasresultedindecreasingtherelative
humiditytoabout32percent.Theheatedairenteringthebuildingisdryenoughtobeusefulinabsorbing
moisturefromtheplantoranimalenvironment.(VerifythattheheatedairatpointBcontinuestohavea
dewpointof34oFandhumidityratioof0.0042lbmoisture/lbdryair.)Theheatedair,withitslowerrelative
humidity,canbemixedwithmoist,warmairalreadyinthebuilding.Asfreshairmovesthroughananimal
environment,itwillpickupadditionalmoistureandheatbeforeitreachestheventilationsystemexhaust.We
mightmeasuretheexhaustedairconditionsat75oF(drybulb)and70percentrelativehumidity,represented
bypointCinFigure4.Notethatinthisexhaustedair,thehumidityratiohastripledto0.013lbmoisture/lb
dryair.Thismeansthatalotmorewaterisventilatedoutofthebuildinginthewarm,moistexhaustairthan
wasbroughtinbythecold,highrelativehumidityincomingair.Thisisoneofthemajorfunctionsofa
winterventilationsystem:removalofmoisturefromtheplantoranimalenvironment.
Theairsurroundingusisamixtureofdryairandmoistureanditcontainsacertainamountofheat.Weare
usedtodealingwithairtemperature,relativehumidityand,oftentimes,thedewpointasweatherconditions
arediscussed.Allthesepropertiesandmorearecontainedinapsychrometricchart.Chartshapeand
complexitytakesomegettingusedto.RefertoFigures1and2.Youwillfindthattheuppercurvedboundary
ofthecharthasonetemperaturescaleyetcanrepresentthreetypesoftemperature:wetbulb,drybulb,and
dewpoint.Thisuppercurvedboundaryalsorepresents100percentrelativehumidityorsaturatedair.

Figure4.DiagramofExample2.Outdoorairat40 o F,80percentrelativehumidity(pointAisheatedto65 o F
(pointB)foruseinventilation.Exhaustair(pointC)at75 o Fand70%relativehumiditycontainsthreetimes
themoistureofthefreshair(pointAandB).

Example3Winterventilation
Evaporativecoolingusesheatcontainedintheairtoevaporatewater.Airtemperature(drybulb)dropswhile
watercontent(humidity)risestothesaturationpoint.Evaporationisoftenusedinhotweathertocool
ventilationair.Theprocessmovesupwardalongthelineofconstantenthalpyorconstantwebbulb
temperature,forexample,frompointDtopointEinFigure5.Noticethathotdryair(pointsDtoEwitha
24oFtemperaturedrop)hasmorecapacityforevaporativecoolingthanhothumidair(pointsFtoGwith
onlya12oFtemperaturedecrese).

Figure5.DiagramofExample3.Evaporativecoolingprocesswithhotdryairfrompoints
DtoEandwithhothumidairfrompointsFtoG.Noticegreaterevaporativecooling
capacitywithdryair.

Definitions

Drybulbtemperatureisthecommonlymeasuredtemperaturefromathermometer.Itiscalled"drybulb"
sincethesensingtipofthethermometerisdry(see"wetbulbtemperature"forcomparison).Drybulb
temperatureislocatedonthehorizontal,orxaxis,ofthepsychrometricchartandlinesofconstant
temperaturearerepresentedbyverticalchartlines.Sincethistemperatureissocommonlyused,itcanbe
assumedthattemperaturesaredrybulbtemperaturesunlessotherwisedesignated.
Relativehumidityisameasureoftheamountofwateraircanholdatacertaintemperature.Itis"relative"
withrespecttotheamountofwaterthatair,atthatsametemperature,canholdat100percenthumidity,or
saturation.Airtemperature(drybulb)isimportantbecausewarmeraircanholdmoremoisturethancoldair.
Airat60percentrelativehumiditycontains60percentofthewateritcouldpossiblyhold(atthat
temperature).Itcouldpickup40percentmorewatertoreachsaturation.Linesofconstantrelativehumidity
arerepresentedbythecurvedlinesrunningfromthebottomleftandsweepingupthroughtothetoprightof
thechart.Thelinefor100percentrelativehumidity,orsaturation,istheupper,leftboundaryofthechart.
Humidityratioofmoistairistheweightofthewatercontainedintheairperunitofdryair.Thisisoften
expressedaspoundsofmoistureperpoundofdryair.Sincethehumidityratioofmoistairisnotdependent
ontemperature,asisrelativehumidity,itiseasiertouseincalculations.Humidityratioisfoundonthe
vertical,yaxiswithlinesofconstanthumidityratiorunninghorizontallyacrossthechart.
Dewpointtemperatureindicatesthetemperatureatwhichwaterwillbegintocondenseoutofmoistair.
Givenairatacertaindrybulbtemperatureandrelativehumidity,ifthetemperatureisallowedtodecrease,
theairisnolongerabletoholdasmuchmoisture.Whenairiscooled,therelativehumidityincreasesuntil
saturationisreachedandcondensationoccurs.Condensationoccursonsurfaceswhichareatorbelowthe
dewpointtemperature.Dewpointtemperatureisdeterminedbymovingfromastatepointhorizontallytothe
leftalonglinesofconstanthumidityratiountiltheupper,curved,saturationtemperatureboundaryisreached.
Wetbulbtemperatureisdeterminedwhenairiscirculatedpastawettedsensortip.Itrepresentsthe
temperatureatwhichwaterevaporatesandbringstheairtosaturation.Inherentinthisdefinitionisan
assumptionthatnoheatislostorgainedbytheair.Thisisdifferentfromdewpointtemperaturewherea
decreaseintemperature,orheatloss,decreasesthemoistureholdingcapacityoftheair,andhence,water
condenses.Determinationofwetbulbtemperatureonthispsychrometricchart,followslinesofconstant
enthalpybutvaluesarereadofftheupper,curved,saturationtemperatureboundary.
Enthalpyistheheatenergycontentofmoistair.ItisexpressedinBtuperpoundofdryairandrepresentsthe
heatenergyduetotemperatureandmoistureintheair.Enthalpyisusefulinairheatingandcooling
applications.Theenthalpyscaleislocatedabovethesaturation,upperboundaryofthechart.Linesof
constantenthalpyrundiagonallydownwardfromlefttorightacrossthechart.Linesofconstantenthalpyand
constantwetbulbarethesameonthischartbutvaluesarereadoffseparatescales.Moreaccurate
psychrometricchartsuseslightlydifferentlinesforwetbulbtemperatureandenthalpy.
Specificvolumeindicatesthespaceoccupiedbyair.Itistheincreaseofdensityandisexpressedasavolume
perunitweight(densityisweightperunitvolume).Warmairislessdensethancoolairwhichcauses
warmedairtorise.Thisphenomenaisknownasthermalbuoyancy.Bysimilarreasoning,warmerairhas
greaterspecificvolumeandishencelighterthancoolair.Onthepsychrometricchart,linesofconstant
specificvolumearealmostverticallineswithscalevalueswrittenbelowthedrybulbtemperaturescaleand
abovetheupperboundary'ssaturationtemperaturescale.Onthischart,valuesrangefrom12.5to15.0cubic
feet/poundofdryair.Greaterspecificvolumeisassociatedwithwarmertemperatures(drybulb).