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Chapter 12

Fan Laws

The fan laws are a particular version of the more general similarity laws
that apply to all classes of turbomachinery. They express the relationships
among the performance variables for any two fans that have similar flow
conditions. The variables include: fan size D , fan speed N , fan air density
, fan flow rate Q , fan total pressure pFT , fan velocity pressure pFV , fan
static pressure pFS , fan input power Ps , fan total efficiency T , fan static
efficiency S , compressibility coefficient K p , and sound power level LW .
Alternative variables include: fan mass flow rate m instead of fan volume
flow rate Q and fan specific energy (or fan work) y F instead of the various
fan pressures pFT , pFV , and pFS . The symbols chosen here to represent the
various fan performance variables are a compromise between the simplest and
the most clear. For maximum clarity, each of the symbols should have a
subscript F; however, this has been omitted from many for simplicity. The
subscript F is retained as part of the fan pressure symbols to avoid any possi-
bility of confusion with the pressure at a point. In some works, the distinction
between fan pressure and pressure at a point is made by using P for the former
and p for the latter. In this handbook, however, all pressures are denoted by
p . The symbol for power is P with subscript i designating impeller power,
subscript s designating shaft power, and subscript o designating output power.

Derivation
The fan laws, like the similarity laws, can be derived by various methods
of reasoning. Closely examining the momentum equations will lead to the
correct conclusions. Dimensional analysis can also be used. Various texts
present these methods in various ways. The fan laws can be based on either
compressible or incompressible flow. Although incompressible-flow fan laws
are sufficiently accurate for many fan-engineering applications, compressible-
flow fan laws should be used whenever the difference due to compressibility
coefficient exceeds the accuracy desired for the calculation.
1
R. Jorgensen and H. R. Bohanon, "Compressibility and Fan Laws," ASHRAE Paper No.
2333, presented at Atlantic City, 1975. This derivation is based on an assumed polytropic
process through the fan based on the total pressures, total temperatures, and total densities at
the inlet and outlet. The fan air density is taken to be the stagnation air density at the fan
inlet. The fan flow rate is the volume flow rate based on fan air density.

#1999 Howden Buffalo, Inc.


12-2 FAN ENGINEERING

Jorgensen and Bohanon1 derived compressible-flow fan laws, which are


the basis for the variations listed in Table 12.1. The incompressible versions,
which were listed in earlier editions of this handbook, can be obtained by
setting the compressibility coefficient ratio equal to unity. Table 12.2 lists
Fan Law 1 on the basis of mass flow rate and fan work. Fan Laws 2 through
10 could also be listed on this basis but are omitted because mass flow rate
and fan work are not yet in general use.

Applications
The fan laws can be used to predict the performance of a fan, if certain
requirements are satisfied. The basic requirement is that the performance at
the corresponding points of rating for an homologous fan be known. Two or
more fans are said to be homologous when their air passages are
geometrically similar. Two or more homologous fans are said to be operating
at corresponding points of rating if the positions of the operating points,
relative to shutoff and free delivery, are the same.
The fan laws are listed in Table 12.1. Any of the ten variations can be
used to predict the performance of a fan (subscript a) when the performance
of another fan (subscript b) is known. These ten are simply mathematical
manipulations of one fundamental set of relationships. The different
variations have different groups of dependent and independent variables.
Density and compressibility coefficients are always shown as independent
variables, but velocity pressure and sound power level are always dependent
variables. Note that an entire set of dependent variables must be calculated
whenever a particular set of independent variables is changed. Also, note that
efficiency and point of rating are constant for all fan law applications.
Whenever the flow can be considered incompressible, the ratio of
compressibility coefficients can be taken to be unity, thereby simplifying
many calculations.
The choice of fan law variation to be used in any particular situation will
depend on the independent variables. For instance, if a new D and a new N
are specified, as is frequently so when drawing performance curves, then Fan
Law 1 should be used. This is illustrated in Example 12.1. If the performance
of a given fan is to be varied, then D will be constant and must be one of the
independent variables. Fan Law 1, 2, 3, or 4 may be used, depending on
whether N , pFT , Q , or Pi is specified. See Examples 12.2 and 12.3.
Fan Laws 1 and 5 lead to some very useful concepts, which are discussed
in the sections on equivalency, power formulae, specific speed, specific
diameter, and specific sound power level.
Different methods of rating fans could be developed using various
combinations of the ten fan law variations. Methods for rating a particular
size of fan can be developed from the first four variations because diameter is
an independent variable. However, methods for determining the size may call
for one of the last six variations. Some of the more common rating methods
are described in the chapter on selection.
1
See footnote previous page.

1999 Howden Buffalo, Inc.


CHAPTER 12 FAN LAWS 12-3

Table 12.1 Fan Laws

For all fan laws: Ta = Tb and (point of rating)a = (point of rating)b


No. Dependent Independent Variables

D 3
N 1


1 K 1

1a Q a = Q b
D
a

b

N
a

b
1 K
pa

pb


D 2
N 2


1
K 1

1b pFTa = pFTb
D
a

b

N
a

b
a

b
K
pa

pb


D 5
N 3


1
K 1

1c Pia = Pib
D
a

b

N
a

b
a

b
K
pa

pb

D

2
N 2


1
1
pFVa = pFVb
D
N 1
a a a
1d

D N
b b b

+ 70 log 50 log + 20 log


LWa = LWb
D +
N
a a a
1e
b b b

D

2
p

12 1 2
K 1 2

2a Q a = Q b
D
a

b

p
FT a

FTb
a

b
K
pa

pb

D

1
p

12 1 2
K 12

2b N a = Nb
D
a

b

p
FT a

FTb
a

b
K
pa

pb

D

2
p


32 1 2
K 12

2c Pia = Pib
D
a

b

p
FT a

FTb

a

b
K
pa

pb

1 p 1

1
K 1

2d pFVa = pFVb
1
p
FT a

FTb
1 K
pa

pb

+ 20 log
D p 5 log
25 log
LWa = LWb
D +
p
a Ft a a
2e
b Ft b b

Note that an entire set of dependent variables must be calculated whenever a


particular set of independent variables is changed.

#1999 Howden Buffalo, Inc.


12-4 FAN ENGINEERING

Table 12.1 (cont.) Fan Laws

For all fan laws: Ta = Tb and (point of rating)a = (point of rating)b


No. Dependent Independent Variables

D

3
Q
1


1 K 1

3a N a = Nb
D
a

b

Q
a

b
1 K pa

pb

D

4
Q 2


1
K 1

3b pFTa = pFTb
D
a

b

Q
a

b
a

b
K pa

pb

D

4
Q 3


1
K 2

3c Pia = Pib
D
a

b

Q
a

b
a

b
K pa

pb

D

4
Q 2


1
K 2

3d pFVa = pFVb
D
a

b

Q
a

b
a

b
K pa

pb

D
80 log 50 log
Q
+ 20 log
LWa = LWb
D +
Q
a a a
3e
b b b

D 43
P 13


1 3
K 2 3

4a Q a = Q b
D
a

b

P
ia

ib
a

b
K pa

pb

D 4 3
P 23


13
K 1 3

4b pFTa = pFTb
D
a

b

P
ia

ib
a

b
K pa

pb

D 5 3
P 13


1 3
K 13

4c N a = Nb
D
a

b

P
ia

ib
a

b
K pa

pb

D 4 3
P 23


13
K 23

4d pFVa = pFVb
D
a

b

P
ia

ib
a

b
K pa

pb

D
13.3 log + 16.6 log
P
LWa = LWb
D P + 3.3 log

a ia a
4e
b ib b

Note that an entire set of dependent variables must be calculated whenever a


particular set of independent variables is changed.

#1999 Howden Buffalo, Inc.


CHAPTER 12 FAN LAWS 12-5

Table 12.1 (cont.) Fan Laws

For all fan laws: Ta = Tb and (point of rating)a = (point of rating)b


No. Dependent Independent Variables

Q

12
p 1 4


14
K 14

5a Da = Db
Q
a

b

p
FT a

FTb
a

b
K pa

pb

Q

1 2
p 34


3 4
K 14

5b N a = Nb
Q
a

b

p
FT a

FTb
a

b
K pa

pb


Q 1
p 1
1

K 1

5c Pia = Pib
Q
a

b

p
FT a

FTb 1 K pa

pb

1 p 1
1

K 1

5d pFVa = pFVb
1
p
FT a

FTb 1 K pa

pb

+ 10 log
Q p + 0 log
5e LWa = LWb
Q
a

b
p + 20 log FT a

FT b

a

Q N 1

13 1 3
K 13

6a Da = Db
Q
a

b N 1
a

b
K pa

pb

Q N

23 43 1
K 1 3

6b pFTa = pFTb
Q
a

b N
a

b
a

b
K pa

pb

Q N

53 43 1
K 23

6c Pia = Pib
Q
a

b N
a

b
a

b
K pa

pb

Q N

23 43 1
K 23

6d pFVa = pFVb
Q
a

b N
a

b
a

b
K pa

pb

Q N
+ 23.3 log + 26.6 log + 20 log
LWa = LWb
Q N
a a a
6e
b b b

Note that an entire set of dependent variables must be calculated whenever a


particular set of independent variables is changed.

1999 Howden Buffalo, Inc.


12-6 FAN ENGINEERING

Table 12.1 (cont.) Fan Laws

For all fan laws: Ta = Tb and (point of rating)a = (point of rating)b


No. Dependent Independent Variables

p

N
12 1


1 2
K 12

7a Da = Db
p
FT a

FTb N
a

b
a

b
K
pa

pb

p

N
32 2


3 2
K 12

7b N a = Nb
p
FT a

FTb N
a

b
a

b
K
pa

pb

p

N
52 2


3 2
K 32

7c Pia = Pib
p
FT a

FTb N
a

b
a

b
K
pa

pb


p 1
1


1 K 1

7d pFVa = pFVb
p
FT a

FTb 1 1 K
pa

pb

p 20 log N
+ 35 log

15 log
LWa = LWb
p N
FT a a a
7e
FT b b b

P Q

1 4 34


14
K 12

8a Da = Db
P
ia

ib Q
a

b
a

b
K
pa

pb

P Q

34 5 4


3 4
K 1 2

8b N a = Nb
P
ia

ib Q
a

b
a

b
K
pa

pb

P Q

1 1


1 K 1

8c pFTa = pFTb
P
ia

ib Q
a

b
1 K
pa

pb

P Q

1 1


1 1
pFVa = pFVb
P Q 1
1
ia a
8d

P Q
ib b

+ 20 log 10 log + 0 log


8e ` LWa = LWb
P Q
ia a a

ib b b

Note that an entire set of dependent variables must be calculated whenever a


particular set of independent variables is changed.

#1999 Howden Buffalo, Inc.


CHAPTER 12 FAN LAWS 12-7

Table 12.1 (cont.) Fan Laws

For all fan laws: Ta = Tb and (point of rating)a = (point of rating)b


No. Dependent Independent Variables

P

12


p 3 4


14
K 1 4

9a Da = Db
P
ia

ib p
FT a

FTb
a

b
K
pa

pb

P

1 2


p 54


3 4
K 34

9b N a = Nb
P
ia

ib p
FT a

FTb
a

b
K pa

pb


P 1


p 1


1 K 1

9c Q a = Q b
P
ia

ib p
FT a

FTb
1 K pa

pb

1 p 1


1 K 1

9d pFVa = pFVb
1
p
FT a

FTb
1 K
pa

pb

P
+ 10 log + 10 log
p
+ 0 log
LWa = LWb
P p
ia FT a a
9e
ib FTb b

P

15
N 3 5


1 5
K 15

10a Da = Db
P
ia

ib

N
a

b
a

b
K pa

pb

P

35
N 4 5


3 5
K 2 5

10b Q a = Q b
P
ia

ib

N
a

b
a

b
K pa

pb

P

25
N 45


35
K 3 5

10c pFTa = pFTb


P
ia

ib

N
a

b
a

b
K pa

pb

P

25
N 45


35
K 25

10d pFVa = pFVb


P
ia

ib

N
a

b
a

b
K pa

pb

P
+ 14 log + 8 log
N
+ 6 log
10e LWa = LWb
P N
ia a a

ib b b

Note that an entire set of dependent variables must be calculated whenever a


particular set of independent variables is changed.

1999 Howden Buffalo, Inc.


12-8 FAN ENGINEERING

Table 12.2 Fan Law 1 Based on m and y F

For all fan laws: Ta = Tb and (point of rating)a = (point of rating)b


No. Dependent Independent Variables

D

3
N 1


1
K 1

1a m a = m b
D
a

b

N
a

b
a

b
K
pa

pb

D

2
N 2


1 1
yF a = yF b
D
N 1 1
a a
1b
b b

D

5
N 3


1
K 1

1c Pia = Pib
D
a

b

N
a

b
a

b
K
pa

pb

D
+ 70 log 50 log
N
+ 20 log
LWa = LWb
D +
N
a a a
1e
b b b

Note that Fan Laws 2 through 10 could also be listed on the basis of mass flow rate m and
fan work or fan specific energy y F .

Example 12.1 Use of Fan Law 1 Incompressible Flow

Given a 36.5-in. diameter fan delivering 10000 cfm at 1.85 in. wg, 0.075
lbm/ft3, 600 rpm, and 3.4 hp, find the corresponding performance of an
homologous fan of 73.0-in. diameter at 0.070 lbm/ft, and 1200 rpm.

Use Fan Law 1 because the known quantities (independent variables) are D ,
N , and . Assume incompressible flow.
Q a
73.0
3
1200
1
1 1
Q b
=

36.5

600

1

1
= 16.00,

pFTa
=
73.0 1200 0.070 1 = 14.93, and
2 2 1

pFTb 36.5 600 0.075 1


Pia
=
73.0 1200 0.070 1 = 238.93.
5 3 1

Pib 36.5 600 0.075 1


Q = 10000 16.00 = 160 000 cfm,
a
pFTa = 185
. 14.93 = 27.62 in. wg, and
Pia = 3.4 238.93 = 812.4 hp.

Note that the same factors could be applied to other ratings of the 36.5-in. fan,
so that sufficient points could be determined for the 73.0-in. fan to facilitate
drawing constant speed curves.

#1999 Howden Buffalo, Inc.


CHAPTER 12 FAN LAWS 12-9

Example 12.2 Use of Fan Law 3 Incompressible Flow

Given a fan delivering 10000 cfm at 1.85 in. wg, 0.075 lbm/ft3, 600 rpm, and
3.4 hp, find the corresponding performance of the same fan at 12000 cfm and
0.075 lbm/ft3.

Use Fan Law 3 because the independent variables are D and (which are to
be held constant), and Q . Assume incompressible flow.
1 12000 1 1 = 720 rpm,
N = 600
3 1 1 1

a
1 10000 1 1
1 12000 1 1 = 2.66 in. wg, and
.
4 2 1 1

p = 185
FTa
1 10000 1 1
1 12000 1 1 = 5.9 hp.
P = 3.4
4 3 1 2

ia
1 10000 1 1
Note that the fan must operate at the same point of rating, which will happen
only if the system has a characteristic that requires 2.66 in. wg at 12000 cfm
and 0.075 lbm/ft3.

Example 12.3 Use of Fan Law 4 Incompressible Flow

Given a fan delivering 10000 cfm at 1.85 in. wg, 0.075 lbm/ft3, 600 rpm, and
3.4 hp, find the corresponding performance of the same fan at 5.0 hp and
0.060 lbm/ft3.

Use Fan Law 4 because the independent variables are D (which is to be held
constant), Pi , and . Assume incompressible flow.

1 5.0 0.060
43 13 1 3
1 2 3

Q a = 10000
1 3.4 0.075
1 = 12250 cfm, and
4 3 23 13 1 3
1 5.0 0.060 1
pFT A = 1.85 = 2.22 in. wg,
1 3.4 0.075 1
5 3 13 1 3 13
1 5.0 0.060 1
N A = 600 = 735 rpm.
1 3.4 0.075 1

Note that the fan must operate at the same point of rating, which will happen
only if the system has a characteristic that requires 2.22 in. wg at 12250 cfm
and 0.060 lbm/ft3.

1999 Howden Buffalo, Inc.


12-10 FAN ENGINEERING

Compressibility
The effects of compressibility are accounted for in the fan laws by the
inclusion of a compressibility coefficient K p for each of the two fans. This
coefficient is a function of the polytropic1 exponent n , the absolute total
pressure pT1 at the inlet, and the absolute total pressure pT 2 at the outlet:


n p
n 1
"#

n

n 1 p
T2
1
##
Kp = ! T1
$. (12.1)
pT 2
1
pT 1

The polytropic exponent can be evaluated using the isentropic exponent


and the polytropic efficiency p :

n p
= . (12.2)
n 1 1

The polytropic efficiency can usually be considered equal to the fan total
efficiency T without serious error:

p
p 1
"#
p
p

1
T2
1
##
Kp = ! T1
$. (12.3)
pT 2
1
pT 1

Equation 12.3 can be solved for both K p and p using an appropriate


iteration procedure.
Figure 12.1 is a graphical representation of Equation 12.3 using = 14
. .
2
Jorgensen and Bohanon have shown that the evaluation of K p can often
be facilitated by the use of a pressure-rise coefficient x , a temperature-rise
coefficient z , and

1 6
z ln 1 + x
Kp =
1 6
x ln 1 + z
. (12.4)

1
The assumption of a polytropic process between end states that are defined by total pressures
is, of course, only an approximation of the real process through a fan. Nevertheless, the
effects of compressibility are predicted quite well by this "total polytropic" assumption.
2
See footnote page 12-1.

1999 Howden Buffalo, Inc.


CHAPTER 12 FAN LAWS 12-11

Figure l2.1 Compressibility Coefficient

Figure 12.2 is a graphical representation of Equation 12.4. The values of x


and z can be determined from Equations 12.6 and 12.7.
The fan laws for compressible flow include the ratio of the compressibility
coefficient for the predicted fan K pa to the compressibility coefficient for the
tested fan K pb raised to various powers. The evaluation of this ratio can also
often be facilitated by using the technique that Jorgensen and Bohanon1 have
developed. They showed that

K pa z x 1 .
=
z x 1
a b a b
(12.5)
K pb b a a b

The pressure-rise coefficient for the tested fan xb is a function of the fan
total pressure pFTb and the absolute total pressure pTb1 at the inlet and can be
evaluated from test data:

pFTb
xb = . (12.6)
pT 1b

The temperature-rise coefficient for the tested fan zb is a function of the


isentropic exponent b , the fan input power Pib , the fan flow rate Q b , and the
absolute total pressure pT 1b at the inlet and can be evaluated using test data:
1
See footnote page 12-1.

#1999 Howden Buffalo, Inc.


12-12 FAN ENGINEERING

Figure l2.2 Compressibility Coefficients

Adapted from the data of AMCA: Laboratory Method, of Testing Fans for Rating, AMCA
Standard 210-74, 1974, p. 39.

#1999 Howden Buffalo, Inc.


CHAPTER 12 FAN LAWS 12-13

b 1 CQ Pib
zb =
b Q b pT 1b
.
(12.7)

The conversion constant CQ has a value of unity in SI units and 6354 in U.S.
customary units.
The procedure for evaluating the pressure-rise and temperature-rise
coefficients for the predicted fan varies, depending on which fan law is being
used.
For instance when using Fan Law 1, the temperature-rise coefficient za , is

D N p 1 .
=z
2 2 1 1

D N p 1
a a a T 1a b a
za b (12.8)
b b b T 1b b a

The pressure-rise coefficient xa . for the predicted condition can then be


evaluated using

1 6 1
ln 1 + xa = ln 1 + xb 6 lnln1111 ++ zz 66 1 1 and
a

b a
a b

b
(12.9)

xa = e 1 + xa 6 1.
ln 1
(12.10)

Finally, the ratio of compressibility factor K pa K pb can be evaluated:

K pa z x 1 .
=
z x 1
a b a b
(12.11)
K pb b a a b

The isentropic exponents a and b for the two conditions can be calculated
from information about the two gases. If the two conditions are the same, the
last two ratios cancel each other.
A similar procedure can be used with Fan Law 8 except that

P Q p 1 .
=z
1 1 1

P Q p 1
a a T 1a b a
za b (12.12)
b b T 1b b a

A slightly different procedure is required for Fan Laws 2, 5, 7, and 9. The


differences are

p p
=x
1 1

p p
FTa T 1a
xa b , (12.13)
FTb T 1b

#1999 Howden Buffalo, Inc.


12-14 FAN ENGINEERING

1 6 1
ln 1 + za = ln 1 + zb 6 lnln1111 ++ xx 66 1 1 , and
a

b a
a b

b
(12.14)

za = e 1 + za 6 1.
ln 1
(12.15)

Equation 12.3 can be used with Fan Laws 3, 4, 6, and 10. If the point of
rating is not known, an iteration procedure must be used.

Example 12.4 Use of Fan Law 1 Compressible Flow

Given a 36.5-in. diameter fan delivering 10000 cfm at 1.85 in. wg, 0.075
lbm/ft3, 600 rpm, 3.4 hp, 29.92-in. Hg inlet pressure, and 1.4 isentropic
exponent; find the corresponding performance of an homologous fan of 73.0
in. diameter at 0.070 lbm/ft3, 1200 rpm, 29.92 in. Hg, and 1.4 isentropic
exponent.

Use Fan Law 1 as in Example 12.1, but correct for compressibility.

pT 1b = 29.92 13.62 = 407.5 in. wg,


185
.
xb = = 0.004540,
407.5
. 1 6354 3.4
14
zb = = 0.001515,
. 10000 407.5
14
za = 0.001515 14.93 = 0.022619, (14.93 from Example 12.1),

1 6 1
ln 1 + xa = ln 1004540
. 6 11
ln 1022619
.
ln 1001515
.
6
6
= 0.066926,

xa = e 0.0066926 1 = 0.0692164,
K pa 0.022619 0.004540
= = 0.9793,
K pb 0.001515 0.0692164

Q = 160000 0.97931 = 163400 cfm,


pFTa = 27.62 0.97931 = 28.20 in. wg, and
Pia = 812.4 0.97931 = 829.6 hp.

The errors introduced in Example 12.1 by assuming incompressible flow are


about 2% each at this point of rating for Q , pFT , and Pi .

Example 12.5 Use of Fan Law 3 - Compressible Flow

Given a fan delivering 10000 cfm at 1.85 in. wg, 0.075 lbm/ft3, 600 rpm,
29.92 in. Hg inlet pressure, and 1.4 isentropic exponent; find the correspond-
ing performance of the same fan at 12000 cfm and 0.075 lbm/ft3.

#1999 Howden Buffalo, Inc.


CHAPTER 12 FAN LAWS 12-15

Use Fan Law 3 because the independent variables are D and (which are to
be held constant), and Q .

pT 1b = 29.92 13.62 = 407.5 in. wg,


185
.
xb = = 0.004540,
407.5
. 1 6354 3.4
14
zb = = 0.001515,
. 10000 407.5
14
0.001515 ln 1004540
. 1 6
K pb =
0.004540 ln 1001515
. 1 6
= 0.9985,

10000 185
. 0.9985
Tb = = 0.855,
6354 3.4
pFTa 2.66 from Example 12.2,
pT 2 a = 2.66 + 407.4 = 410.2,
410.2 0 .4
"#
. 0.855
14
407.5 1.4 0.855
1
#$
K pa =
0.4
! = 0.9978,
410.2
1
407.5
0.9978
N a = 720 = 719.5 rpm,
0.9985
0.9978
pFTa = 2.66 = 2.658 in. wg,
0.9985

0.9978
2

Pia = 5.9

0.9985
= 5.89 hp, and

12000 2.658 0.9978


Ta = = 0.850.
6354 589
.

Since Ta differs from the value used to compute K pa , recalculate:


pFTa = 2.658,
pT 2 a = 410.2, and
410.2 0 .4
"#
. 0.850
14
407.5 1.4 0.850
1
#$
K pa =
0.4
! = 0.9978.
410.2
1
407.5
This is nearly the same value that was obtained using 0.855 so:
N a = 719.5,
pFTa = 2.658,
Pia = 5.89, and
Ta = 0.850.

#1999 Howden Buffalo, Inc.


12-16 FAN ENGINEERING

The error introduced in Example 12.2 by assuming incompressible flow is


insignificant.

Equivalency
Sometimes the concept of equivalency can be used to facilitate
comparisons or calculations. Two equivalency concepts that are frequently
used in fan engineering are equivalent incompressible values and equivalent
total pressure.
Equivalent incompressible values can be defined as the values that a
particular fan, at a particular speed and a particular density, would have if the
fluid were incompressible rather than compressible. Fan Law 1 can be used
since diameter, speed, and density are independent variables and can be held
constant. It follows that

Q I = QK

p

pFTI = pFT K p , and


PiI = Pi K p (12.16)

Q I , pFTI , and PiI , are the incompressible values of flow rate, pressure, and
power. K pI = 10 . . Q , pFT , Pi , and K p are the corresponding compressible
values. Fan performance data can be reduced to equivalent incompressible
values for comparison purposes. This is one step toward the development of
dimensionless coefficients (discussed below).
Avoid the use of equivalent incompressible values for anything other than
comparisons, since the only real values for a fan are the compressible values.
(The fluid handled by a fan is always compressible.)
Equivalent total pressure pFTe is the total pressure developed by a
particular fan, at a particular speed and a particular reference air density e ,
which is equivalent to the required fan total pressure pFT at the required
density . From Fan Law 1b,

K .
pFTe = pFT
K
p
(12.17)
e pe

The reference density e will be standard air density if the reference data
are prepared for standard density. This concept is particularly useful when
making selections from published data that have been prepared for standard
air conditions. (See the chapter on fan selection for examples.) Often,
calculations can be simplified without excessive loss in accuracy by assuming
the compressibility ratio K p K pe to be unity.

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CHAPTER 12 FAN LAWS 12-17

Power Formulae
The output power Po of a fan is the rate at which useful energy is
delivered to the gas stream. Based on the total polytropic assumption,

K
Qp
Po =
FT p
. (12.18)
CQ

This relationship of fan flow rate Q , fan total pressure pFT , and
compressibility coefficient K p is expressed in Fan Law 5c.
The power input to the impeller Pi can be calculated from the power
output and the polytropic efficiency p :

K
Qp
Pi =
FT p
. (12.19)
p CQ

The fan input power Ps is the sum of the power input to the impeller and
the mechanical losses of the drive train, if there is one:

Ps = Pi + Pm . (12.20)

The mechanical losses of the drive train Pm should be considered separately


because they cannot be predicted by fan laws. When fan law considerations
are not involved,

K
Qp
Ps =
FT p
(12.21)
T CQ

where the fan total efficiency T is the ratio of fan output power to fan input
power. If the kinetic energy leaving the fan is not useful, pFS and S can be
substituted for pFT and T .
The value of CQ is unity in SI units and 6354 in U.S. customary units.
Fan total head H F is proportional to pFT K p w , and weight flow rate w
, where w is the specific weight, so fan input power is
is Qw

F
wH
Ps = (12.22)
T Cw

where Cw is unity in SI units and 33000 in U.S. customary units.

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12-18 FAN ENGINEERING

Example 12.6 Output Power and Efficiency

Given a fan handling 163400 cfm, 28.20 in. wg, 829.6-hp power input to the
impeller, 29.92 in. Hg inlet pressure, 1.4 isentropic exponent, 0.070 lbm/ft3,
and 1200 rpm; find the output power and the total efficiency.

pT1 = 29.92 13.62 = 407.5 in. wg,


28.20
x= = 0.06920,
407.5
. 1 6354 829.6
14
z= = 0.02262,
14
. 163400 407.5
0.02262 ln 106920
.
Kp = = 0.9778,
0.06920 ln 102262
.
0.9778
Po = 163400 28.20 = 709.1, and
6354
709.1
T = = 0.855.
829.6
This is a supplement to Example 12.4.

Specific Speed and Specific Size


Specific speed N s for a given fan at a given rating is the speed at which
an homologous fan would have to operate to produce a fan flow rate of unity
( Q s = 1) and a fan total pressure of unity ( pFTs = 1), at unit density ( s = 1)
and the same point of rating. From Fan Law 5b,

NQ 1 2 3 4
Ns = 34 14
. (12.23)
pFT K p

The unit of specific speed will be the same as that of fan speed N . The value
of specific speed will depend on the system of units used for fan flow rate Q ,
fan air density , and fan total pressure pFT . (Compressibility coefficient
K p is frequently omitted.)
Specific size Ds is the size of the homologous fan referred to above.
From Fan Law 5a,

14
DpFT
Ds = 1 4 1 2
. (12.24)
Q K p1 4

1999 Howden Buffalo, Inc.


CHAPTER 12 FAN LAWS 12-19

Figure l2.3
Specific Speeds and Specific Sizes for Various Fans

#1999 Howden Buffalo, Inc.


12-20 FAN ENGINEERING

The unit of specific size will be the same as that of fan size D . Its value also
depends on the system of units used. Another version of specific speed N se is
based on equivalent total pressure pFTe :

NQ 1 4
N se = 34 14
. (12.25)
pFTe K p

This amounts to dividing Equation 12.22 by 3e 4 , so that for standard air


N se = 6.978 N s in U.S. units or N se = 0.8722 N s in SI units. Similarly,

14
DpFTe
Dse = . (12.26)
Q 1 2 K
14
p

This is obtained by multiplying Equation 12.23 by 1e 4 , so that for standard


air Dse = 0.5233Ds in U.S. units or Dse = 10467
. Ds in SI units.
Similar, but dimensionless, quantities are speed coefficient and diameter
coefficient, which are discussed under dimensionless coefficients.
Figure 12.3 illustrates the relationships among specific speed, specific
size, and efficiency for various types of fans. These relationships are useful in
both design and selection of all types of turbomachinery. Since for any design
of fan there is only one value of specific speed at the point of maximum
efficiency, that value serves to identify the particular design. The same is true
for specific size. If either specific speed or specific size can be established
from the requirements of an application, only those designs with correspond-
ing identifying values need be considered as possible selections.

Sound Power Level and Specific Sound Power Level


The fan laws for sound are given in Table 12.1. Additional fan law
variations could be written with sound power level LW as an independent
variable, but for simplicity, sound power level is always listed as a dependent
variable in this table. Compressibility has been omitted from the sound laws
because compressibility effects are insignificant compared to the uncertainties
in sound measurement. The relationships embodied in the sound laws have
been verified by Madison and Graham1 in the Buffalo Forge Company
laboratory. However, more recent evidence suggests that the coefficient on
fan speed shown as 50 in Fan Law 1e can range from 60 to 70 depending on
fan design.
The overall sound power level of a fan can be predicted from the overall
sound power level of an homologous fan at the same point of rating. For
reliable predictions, both fans must have good bearings and must be in good
balance.
1
R. D. Madison and J. B Graham, "Fan Noise Variation with Changing Fan Operation,
Trans. ASHRAE, vol. 64, 1958, pp. 319-340.

#1999 Howden Buffalo, Inc.


CHAPTER 12 FAN LAWS 12-21

The sound spectrum for a fan may or may not be predictable by fan laws
from the spectrum for an homologous fan at the same point of rating. Simi-
larity requires that corresponding frequencies (e.g. blade-passing frequencies
and harmonics) be equal. Spectra will be similar only when fan speeds are
equal. Various methods of estimating spectra are discussed in the chapter on
fan noise.
Specific sound power level LWs is the sound power level of an homolo-
gous fan when producing a fan flow rate of unity ( Q = 1) at a fan total pres-
s
sure of unity ( pFTs = 1) and the same point of rating. From Fan Law 5e,

( )
LWs = Lw 10 log Q pFT .
2
(12.27)

The unit of specific sound power level is the same as that for sound power
level LW . The value of specific sound power level will depend on the system
of units used for fan flow rate Q and fan total pressure pFT . A similar, but
dimensionless, quantity is sound power level coefficient, which is discussed
under dimensionless coefficients.

Similarity and Deviations


The fan laws are based on similarity of flow for the two fans whose per-
formances are being compared. There must be geometric, kinematic, and dy-
namic similarity. Geometric similarity requires that corresponding linear di-
mensions be proportional and corresponding angles be equal, for the various
flow passages of the two fans. The constant of proportionality is the ratio of
any corresponding dimensions (for example, the ratio of impeller diameters).
Theoretically, thicknesses of parts, roughnesses of surfaces, clearances be-
tween parts, etc. should all be proportional. Fortunately, some variations can
be tolerated without invalidating the fan laws. However, the effects of any
compromise in geometric similarity should be thoroughly investigated, as dis-
cussed in the section on size effects.
Kinematic similarity requires that corresponding magnitudes be propor-
tional and corresponding angles be equal, for the various fluid velocities in the
two fans. The constant of proportionality is the ratio of corresponding periph-
eral speeds of the impeller. The condition of kinematic similarity leads to the
conclusions of Fan Law la: that fan flow rate, being proportional to velocity
times area, is, therefore, proportional to peripheral speed times diameter
squared, which itself is proportional to rotational speed times diameter cubed.
Dynamic similarity requires that corresponding magnitudes be propor-
tional and corresponding angles be equal, for the various fluid forces in the
two fans. The constant of proportionality is the ratio of the inertia forces of
two similarly located fluid particles. The inertia force of a fluid on a unit area
is proportional to mass density and velocity squared. One of the conditions of
dynamic similarity leads to the conclusions of Fan Law lb: that pressure force
per unit area being proportional to inertia force per unit area is, therefore,

1999 Howden Buffalo, Inc.


12-22 FAN ENGINEERING

proportional to mass density times velocity squared. This leads to fan pres-
sure being proportional to mass density times velocity squared or to mass
density times diameter squared times rotational speed squared.
The other forces in the fluid are those due to elasticity, viscosity, gravity,
and surface tension. The ratio of the inertia force to these forces leads to the
Mach, Reynolds, Froude, and Weber numbers, respectively. The concept of
dynamic similarity requires that, at corresponding points in the two fans,
Mach, Reynolds, Froude, and Weber numbers be equal. However, surface
tension and gravity forces are not significant in fans, so in practical applica-
tions Weber and Froude numbers can be ignored.
Viscosity can have a significant effect on fan law relationships, so Rey-
nolds number should be considered, as discussed in the section on Reynolds
number effect. Elasticity can also have a significant effect as discussed in the
Mach number section.

Size Effects
According to Fan Law 1, the performance of a full-scale fan can be
predicted from the test results for a model of different scale. It is not always
practicable to model every feature of the design. However, the resulting
imperfections in geometric similitude may impair the accuracy of the predic-
tions. For example, the relative thicknesses of the parts may differ for struc-
tural or economic reasons. Fortunately, such differences can be ignored in all
but extreme cases. The relative clearances between parts can also easily
differ. Such differences, however, can be critical and should be eliminated by
careful design and quality control. If not, sufficient tests will have to be made
to determine the effect of each variation. The relative roughnesses of the
various surfaces may differ, too, simply because the same materials are used
for the construction of both the larger and the smaller fan. Ideally, sufficient
tests should be made to determine roughness effects also, but this may not
always be practicable. Unless the surface is hydraulically smooth for both the
larger and the smaller fans, predictions of efficiency for larger fans will
generally be conservative because the effect of decreased relative roughness is
to reduce frictional losses. The pressure coefficients for larger fans will
generally increase because of this reduction. (On the other hand, the work of
Varley1 shows that increased roughness can increase pressure coefficients in
pumps. In his tests, the increased pumping action apparently more than
compensated for the increased losses.)

Reynolds Number Effect


The Reynolds numbers for the various flow passages of a fan will differ
because of their differing passage dimensions and fluid velocities. It is
.
1
E. A. Varley. "Effects of Impeller Design and Surface Roughness on the Performance of
Centrifugal Pumps," Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, London, vol.
175, no. 21, 1961, pp. 955-989.

#1999 Howden Buffalo, Inc.


CHAPTER 12 FAN LAWS 12-23

convenient and customary to define a single Reynolds number Re1 for a fan,
based on the impeller diameter at the tip D , the peripheral velocity at the tip
ND , and the mass density and viscosity, of the fluid at the inlet:

ND 2
Re = . (12.28)

Although this number is rather arbitrary, it can be used to help establish


whether two fans are dynamically similar. One of the conditions of dynamic
similitude is that Reynolds numbers be equal at all corresponding points in the
two fans. When N or D changes, or will have to be changed in order
to compensate; for some types of turbomachinery, this can be accomplished
by a judicious selection of fluid. With fans, however, it is not generally
practicable. Any resulting imperfections in dynamic similitude may impair
the accuracy of fan law predictions, as discussed below.
Variations in Re can be produced by changing N or D , or both. By
varying N separately, any size effects that might accompany a change of D
can be eliminated. Tests of this kind by Phelan, et al1 suggest that there is a
threshold value of Re for every fan design below which occur gradually
increasing deviations from fan law behavior. The indicated threshold value of
Re is: 2.0 106 for airfoil-bladed centrifugal fans, 1.0 106 for backwardly
inclined-bladed centrifugal fans, and 0.8 106 for forwardly curved-bladed
centrifugal fans. For radial-bladed centrifugal fans, no significant deviations
were observed at Reynolds numbers as low as 0.4 106. However, pressure
coefficient did gradually deteriorate with decreasing Re. Power coefficient
also generally decreased, but not as rapidly, and even increased for some
points of rating.
Kittredge2 has derived a general formula for estimating the efficiency of a
prototype from tests of a geometrically similar model. He also lists many
other investigators' formulae, most of which are simplifications of the
following:

11 6 = s + 11 s6 f 1Re 6 .
n

1
i =1

f Re
h h
n
(12.29)
h h i
i =1

This and most of the simplified formulae are based on the premise that a
1 6
certain fraction s of the hydraulic losses 1 h h is due to shock losses
that follow the fan laws and are independent of Reynolds number.
1
J, J. Phelan, S. H. Russell, and W. C. Zeluff, "A Study of the Influence of Reynolds Number
on the Performance of Centrifugal Fans," ASME Paper, No. 78- WA/PTC-1, 1978.
2
C. P. Kittredge, "Estimating the Efficiency of Prototype Pumps from Model Tests," ASME
Paper No 67-WA/FE-6, 1967.

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12-24 FAN ENGINEERING

The remainder is due to friction losses that are functions of the local Reynolds
numbers Rei and have to be summed 6. If the friction factors for the various
flow passages are similar to those for ducts, their values depend on the flow
regime. The tests by Phelan, et al. seem to support this. For radial-bladed
centrifugal fans, performance was independent of Re, which suggests that
flow was in the wholly rough zone regardless of speed. This is consistent
with the fact that there are few, if any, points where the flow is not highly
turbulent for this simple design. The more sophisticated designs show
improvements with Re increasing up to the threshold value. This suggests
that flow was in the transitional region at least until a speed was reached at
which most of the passages became hydraulically rough. All this demontrates
the difficulty of using any formulation to predict efficiency improvements.
The best technique for establishing performance at different Re is to test
sufficient points over the range to permit interpolation.

Mach Number Effects


The Mach numbers for the various flow passages of a fan will differ
because of their differing fluid velocities. It is convenient to define a single
Mach number Ma for a fan, based on the peripheral velocity of the impeller
tip and on the speed of sound c for the fluid at the inlet:

ND
Ma = . (12.30)
c

Although this number is rather arbitrary, it can be used to help establish


whether two fans are dynamically similar.
One of the conditions of dynamic similitude is that Mach numbers be
equal at all corresponding points in the two fans. It is highly unlikely that two
fans will have the same Mach numbers unless they develop the same
equivalent pressures. Any resulting imperfections in dynamic similitude may
impair the accuracy of fan law predictions, as discussed below.
Aside from compressibility effects, variations in Ma produce no fan law
deviations unless one of the corresponding values approaches unity. When
the local Mach number at any point does approach unity, critical conditions
develop, as discussed in the fluid-flow chapter. Because the flow rate
becomes limited, such a condition is usually described as choking. However,
critical conditions are not likely to occur unless the fan requirements approach
those of a compressor or a passage is highly obstructed.

Dimensionless Coefficients
Table 12.3 lists a number of dimensionless coefficients that are useful in
fan engineering and inspecting this table will show that all these coefficients
are related to the fan laws. Either SI or U.S. customary units can be used.
For SI units, the formulae can be used directly without prefixes, but when
U.S. units are used, the results must be adjusted by the U.S. factor. Most of
the coefficients are interrelated, and their relationships are also listed.

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CHAPTER 12 FAN LAWS 12-25

Some authors in the field of engineering prefer to use coefficients with


more physical significance. For instance, they like the pressure coefficient to
reflect the ratio of pressure produced to the pressure corresponding to the
peripheral speed at the impeller tip. This leads to a value of the pressure
coefficient that differs, by a factor of 2 2 , from the value calculated using
the listed formula. The various physical factors are listed for convenience in
comparing data of the two different types.
All the coefficients except are based on the compressible-flow fan
laws, as indicated by the inclusion of compressibility factor K p . Often, K p
can be assumed to be equal to unity resulting in considerably simpler
calculations. However, it is important to include K p whenever these
coefficients are used to examine the effects of small changes.
The conversion factor gc would ordinarily be included in the formulae
whenever pFT , pFV , or Pi appear. It has been omitted because its value is
unity in SI. The U.S. factor takes gc and all other conversions into account
for the following units.

Symbol SI U.S. Symbol SI U.S.

Q m3/s cfm kg/m3 lbm/ft3


pFT Pa in. wg N rps rpm
pFV Pa in. wg D m ft
Pi W hp Kp - -
LW dB dB gc m-kg/N-s2 ft-lbm/lb-s2

Flow Coefficients
Flow coefficient , also called the capacity coefficient, is based on the
relationships in Fan Law la. Perhaps more than any of the other coefficients,
can be modified to suit the purposes of the individual fan designer or
author. Multiplying by the factor 4 2 yields the ratio of the actual flow rate
to a reference flow rate that corresponds to the product of the peripheral
velocity at the tip and the circular area based on the tip diameter. The value
of the reference flow rate is not important in itself, so the 4 2 factor can be
omitted. However, certain geometric ratios have a great influence on flow
rate, so variations in these ratios should be taken into account when
correlating data. These ratios can be incorporated in a modified flow
coefficient, or they can be stated separately.

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12-26 FAN ENGINEERING

Table l2.3 Dimensionless Coefficients

Name Symbol SI Formula

Flow Coefficient
QK 3
p ND

Pressure Coefficient (total) pFT K p N 2 D 2


Pressure Coefficient (velocity) V pFV N 2 D 2
Pressure Coefficient (static) S 3p FT K p pFV 8 pFT K p
Power Coefficient Pi K p N D53

Efficiency (total) T K P
Qp FT p i

Efficiency (static) S 3
T pFT K p pFV 8 N D
2 2

NQ 1 2` 3 4 pFT K p
34 14
Speed Coefficient
DpFT 1 4 Q 1 2 K p
14 14
Diameter Coefficient
Throttling Coefficient Q 2 K p pFT D 4
Sound-Power-Level Coefficient LW 10 log Qp 3
2 2 N 5 D7
FT 8
Table 12.3 (cont.) Dimensionless Coefficients

Symbol U.S. Factor Interrelation2 Physical Factor1

- 1 3 4 2 = 0.4053
6.015 105 1 2 2 2 2 = 0.2026
V 6.015 105 2 D 4 2 A22 2 2 = 0.2026
S 6.015 105 V 2 2 = 0.2026
3822
. 109 8 4 = 0.08213
T 6354 -
S S -
2.160 104 1 2 3 4 2 = 2.1078
14 12

27.85 1 4 1 2 1 2 2 3 4 = 1.0539
6.015 105 2 2 2 = 0.8106
-116 dB LW 10log 1 6 2
10 log 16 6 =-18 dB7
1
The physical factor for each coefficient is explained in the text for that
coefficient.
2
Other interrelations could be established leading to additional dimensionless
coefficients. For example: might be called work input coefficient. Some
designers use the reciprocals of a coefficient. One example is 1 .

#1999 Howden Buffalo, Inc.


CHAPTER 12 FAN LAWS 12-27

For radial-flow fans, particularly narrower types, some prefer to use a


reference flow rate that corresponds to the product of the peripheral velocity
at the tip and the circular area based on the inlet diameter. Multiplying by the
1 6 2
geometric ratio D1 D2 will take this into account. We could define a
1 6
modified flow coefficient D1 D2 or treat and D1 D2 as individual
2
1 6 2

dimensionless coefficients.
For cross-flow fans, the flow rate is nearly proportional to the width of the
blading b . Multiplying by the geometric ratio D b will take this into ac-
count. We could define a modified coefficient b as D b or treat and
D b as individual dimensionless coefficients.
For axial-flow fans, the flow area is clearly influenced by the hub ratio ,
2
which is equal to D2 D1 . Multiplying by 1 1 2 will take this into 7
account. Furthermore, some prefer to use the peripheral velocity at the mean
effective radius. Multiplying by 21 2 1 + 2 2 7
12
will take this into account.
The 21 2 is an additional physical factor, so it can be omitted. We could
define modified flow coefficients , m , and m , as 1 2 , 2 7
2 7 , and 421 721 + 7 9 respectively; or we could treat ,
1+ 2 12 2 2 12

1 21 7 , and 1 21 + 7 as individual dimensionless coefficients.


2 2 12

The interrelation of , , and states in dimensionless terms what Fan


Law 1a says in dimensional quantities.

Pressure Coefficients
Total pressure coefficient , velocity pressure coefficient V , and static
pressure coefficient S are based on the relationships in Fan Law 1b and on
fan total pressure, fan velocity pressure, and fan static pressure, respectively.
(Pressure coefficient is also called head coefficient.) Multiplying by a factor
2 2 yields the ratio of the actual fan pressure to the reference pressure that
corresponds to the peripheral velocity at the tip. The value of the reference
pressure is unimportant in itself, so the 2 2 factor can be omitted. How-
ever, as with flow coefficient, there is a preference for using the peripheral
velocity at the mean effective radius as the reference pressure for axial-flow
2 7
fans. Multiplying by 2 1 + 2 will take this into account. The 2 is a physi-
cal factor and so can be omitted. We could define a modified pressure
2 7
coefficient m , or treat and 1 1 + 2 as individual dimensionless coeffi-
cients.
The interrelation of , , and states in dimensionless terms what Fan
Law lb says in dimensional quantities. Identical interrelationships would
follow for V and S except for compressibility effects. The interrelation
.

#1999 Howden Buffalo, Inc.


12-28 FAN ENGINEERING

shown for V is dimensionless even though it contains the dimensional terms


D 4 and A2 . The interrelation listed for S follows from the relationship of
pFS with pFT and pFV .

Power Coefficient
Power coefficient , also called coefficient of performance, is based on
the power input to the impeller and the relationships in Fan Law 1c. All
bearing losses and other drive losses should be deducted from the fan input
power. Multiplying by the factor 8 4 yields the ratio of actual input power
(to the impeller) to the reference power that corresponds to the flow rate and
pressure used as references for and . The value of the reference power is
not important in itself, so the 8 4 factor can be omitted. However, if either
or is modified as outlined above, should also be modified. The
interrelation of with and also requires that efficiency be consid-
ered.

Efficiency
Efficiency is a dimensionless performance parameter and, therefore, is
included among the dimensionless coefficients. Fan total efficiency T is the
K , to the input power to the impel-
ratio of the output power of the fan Qp FT p

ler Pi . Fan Law 5c embodies this relationship, as does the interrelation of


with , , and . Refer to the sections on compressibility and power
formulae for additional comments on fan total efficiency and fan static
efficiency.

Speed Coefficient
Speed coefficient is based on the relationships in Fan Law 5b. This
coefficient is the ratio of the actual rotational speed to the rotational speed of
an homologous fan (operating at unity flow coefficient and unity pressure
coefficient) for the same point of rating. Naturally, if the flow and pressure
coefficients incorporate physical factors, the speed coefficient should also be
multiplied by the appropriate factor.
Speed coefficient is a non-dimensional specific speed. Specific speed has
units of rotational speed and is that speed at which an homologous fan would
have to operate to produce a unit flow rate and a unit pressure (at standard air
conditions) for the same point of rating. The ratio of specific speed N se to
speed coefficient is 0.871 in SI units and 150600 in U.S. customary units.
Many investigators have shown that the physical proportions of a fan and
its speed coefficient are related. Figure 12.3 illustrates that narrow radial-
flow fans have lower speed coefficients at peak efficiency than wider radial-
flow fans. It also shows that axial-flow fans with high hub ratios have lower
speed coefficients at peak efficiency than those with low hub ratios. The best
value of efficiency that can be obtained depends on the degree of sophistica-
.

#1999 Howden Buffalo, Inc.


CHAPTER 12 FAN LAWS 12-29

tion in the design. For instance, airfoil-shaped blades exhibit higher


efficiencies than simpler, backwardly curved blades. Figure 12.3 can be used
in the initial stages of selection or design to choose the general type of fan that
might be most suitable.
Speed coefficient can also be used as illustrated in the chapters on
centrifugal and axial-flow fans to establish the approximate dimensions of a
fan on the basis of previously established relationships between specific
physical proportions and speed coefficient.
Once a design has been tested, speed coefficient can be used as an aid to
selecting and rating when Q , pFT , , and N are given and D must be
established. (This procedure is described and illustrated in the chapter on fan
selection.) A curve of speed coefficient versus either flow coefficient or flow
rate must be drawn. Spotting the appropriate value of speed coefficient will
determine the point of rating.

Diameter Coefficient
Diameter coefficient is based on the relationships in Fan Law 5a. This
coefficient is the ratio of the actual diameter to the diameter of an homologous
fan (operating at unity flow coefficient and unity pressure coefficient) for the
same point of rating. Naturally, if the flow and pressure coefficients
incorporate physical factors, the diameter coefficient should also be multiplied
by the appropriate factor.
Diameter coefficient is a non-dimensional specific size or specific
diameter. Specific size has units of length and is that size of an homologous
fan that produces a unit flow rate and a unit pressure at standard air conditions
for the same point of rating. As noted above, this fan would have to operate at
specific speed. The ratio of specific size Dse to diameter coefficient is 1.0466
in SI units and 1/53.20 in U.S. customary units.
Many investigators have shown that the physical proportions of a fan and
its diameter coefficient are related. Figure 12.3 illustrates that narrow radial-
flow fans have higher diameter coefficients at peak efficiency than wider
radial-flow fans. It also shows that axial-flow fans with high hub ratios have
higher diameter coefficients at peak efficiency than those with low hub ratios.
Diameter coefficient could be used to establish approximate dimensions in
the same way as speed coefficient. It is not done in this handbook because,
once the correlations are made for speed coefficient, there is no need to do the
same for diameter coefficient.
It is possible to use diameter coefficient as an aid to selecting and rating
when Q , pFT , , and D are given and N must be established. However, it
is more common to use throttling coefficient or one of its variations.

Throttling Coefficient
Throttling coefficient is based on the relationships in Fan Law 3b. This
coefficient is the ratio of a reference velocity pressure to the fan total pressure.

1999 Howden Buffalo, Inc.


12-30 FAN ENGINEERING

Multiplying by the factor 2 3 2 makes the area for the reference velocity
pressure equal to the circular area corresponding to the tip diameter. The
value of the reference velocity pressure is not important in itself, so the 2 3 2
factor can be omitted. Sometimes this physical factor is adjusted so that the
reference velocity pressure becomes the fan velocity pressure, and the coeffi-
cient is simply called pFV pFT . The square root of throttling coefficient can
be referred to as equivalent or relative orifice coefficient. The fourth root of
throttling coefficient is the reciprocal of diameter coefficient. In previous
editions of this handbook, a quantity similar to 1 2 called unit capacity was
discussed.
Throttling coefficient is useful in comparing competing designs. Plots
with as abscissa and p as ordinate can be drawn on the same chart for all
designs. Comparison of p values at equal values will show which design
has superior efficiency for the various points of rating. This approach factors
out the effects of speed. That is, the various designs may have to operate at
different speeds to produce the required Q and pFT but the plot will still
show which is the more efficient.
Throttling coefficient can be plotted as ordinate with as abscissa on
dimensionless performance curves or with Q as abscissa on conventional
performance curves. Fan selection is facilitated when Q , pFT , , and D are
given and N must be established. An example is given in the chapter on fan
selection.

Sound Power Level Coefficient


Sound power level coefficient is based on the relationships in Fan Law
5e. This coefficient is the sound power level that an homologous fan would
produce when operating at unity flow coefficient and unity pressure coeffi-
cient for the same point of rating. Naturally, if the flow and pressure coeffi-
cients incorporate physical factors, the sound power level coefficient should
also be multiplied by the appropriate factor.
Sound power level coefficient is related to specific sound power level in
the same way that speed coefficient is related to specific speed. Specific
sound power level LWs is equal to LW 10 log Q pFT and is the sound power
level that an homologous fan would produce, when operating at unity flow
rate and unity pressure, for the same point of rating.
Both and LWs , are levels, so their values depend on the reference level
used to establish the sound power level LW . This is universally taken to be
10-12 watts. The value of should be the same regardless of the system of
units employed. In Table 12.3, the U.S. factor, when applied to U.S. units,
gives them the same value as SI units. However, the value of LWs will depend
on the system of units used, which, therefore, should be clearly identified.
When is plotted against , or LWs against Q , a minimum value will
occur at or very near the point of best efficiency.

#1999 Howden Buffalo, Inc.


CHAPTER 12 FAN LAWS 12-31

Compressibility factor K p has been omitted from the formulae for and
LWs because the effect K p is insignificant compared to the inaccuracy of
sound power level measurements. In fact, the fan law relationships involving
sound are not universally accepted. The application of sound power level
should be limited to the overall sound produced by the fan, and other rules
should be applied when predicting the spectrum. See the chapter on fan noise
for rules regarding centrifugal and axial fans.

Dimensionless Performance Curves


Dimensionless performance curves can be drawn using various co-
ordinates. One combination, as illustrated in Figure 12.4, is very similar to a
conventional constant speed, size, and density plot. Flow coefficient is used
as abscissa; and pressure, power, efficiency, speed, diameter, and throttling
coefficient are plotted as ordinates. It is tempting to say that such a set of
curves fully reveals the performance of an homologous series of fans. This is
true only up to that point where fan law deviations become significant.
Within these limitations, dimensionless plots can be used to represent the
performance of any fan in an homologous series, including fans with a control
such as VIV, IBD, or variable pitch. The first of these is illustrated in Figure
12.5.
Any fan requirement can be plotted as a point on Figure 12.4 or Figure
12.5, if the fan size and speed are known, simply by calculating and
from the appropriate Q and pFT . If the point falls within the range of the fan
design, the other variables, such as power and efficiency, can be determined.
If the point falls outside the range of the fan design, another speed or size
must be investigated.

Figure l2.4 Dimensionless Performance Curves

#1999 Howden Buffalo, Inc.


12-32 FAN ENGINEERING

Figure l2.5 Dimensionless VIV Curves

Mass-Flow-Rate/Specific-Energy Approach
It was noted in the opening paragraph of this chapter that fan mass flow
rate and fan specific energy can be used as performance variables. Table 12.2
shows Fan Law 1 based on these variables. The rest of this chapter, however,
deals only with volume flow rate and fan pressure as performance variables.
This is because it is customary to use the fan-volume-flow-rate/fan-pressure
approach in the U.S. Nevertheless, the alternative approach is valid. The
following remarks may be helpful in using this approach.
The alternative to Equation 12.18 is

m y F
Po = . (12.31)
Cm

The alternative to Equation 12.19 is

m y F
Pi = , (12.32)
i Cm

where i is the impeller efficiency.

#1999 Howden Buffalo, Inc.


CHAPTER 12 FAN LAWS 12-33

The alternative to Equation 12.21 is

m y F
Ps = , (12.33)
Cm

where the fan efficiency is the ratio of the fan output power to the fan input
power.
The value of Cm is unity in S.I. units and 33000 when power is in hp,
specific energy is in ft-lb/lbm, and mass flow rate is in lbm/min.
The alternatives to Equations 12.23, 12.24, and 12.27 are, respectively,

Nm 1 2
N sa = , (12.34)
yF 1 2
34

Dy F 1 2
14
Dsa = , and (12.35)
m 1 2

3
LWsa = LW 10 log m y F .
2
8 (12.36)

These are dimensional equations and will yield numerical results different
from the originals. For U.S. customary units, N sa = 5193 . N s , Dsa = 01926 . Ds ,
and LWsa = LWs + 14 dB . The reason for the differences is that the reference
quantities taken to be unity are m s , y Fs , and s rather than Q s , pFTs , and s .
That is, N sa and Dsa are the speed and size of the homologous fan required to
produce unity m s and unity y Fs with unity s . All this seems to suggest that
we would be much better off using dimensionless quantities.
The alternatives to the formulae given in Table 12.3 are listed in Table
12.4.
Almost all the discussions relating to Table 12.3 are also applicable to
Table 12.4. Although the physical factors are identical, the U.S. factors are
different, as shown in the table. The U.S. factors are based on mass flow rates
in lbm/min and specific energy in ft-lb/lbm; otherwise, the units are the same
as for Table 12.3. The pressure coefficient should probably be called the
specific-energy coefficient; otherwise, all the other names used in Table 12.3
apply.
As noted in the chapter on fan testing, the mass-flow-rate/specific-energy
approach is given as an alternative to the volume-flow-rate/pressure approach
in ASME PTC 11 and ISO 5801.

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12-34 FAN ENGINEERING

Table l2.4 Dimensionless Coefficients

Symbol SI Formula1 U.S. Factor2

m ND 3 -
yF N 2 D2 1158
. 105
Pi N 3 D5 3822
. 109
F Pi
my 33000
Nm 1 2 y F 1 2 6278
34

Dy F m 18.45
14 12 12

Dy F 1 2 m 1 2 1158 105
14
.
3
F 2 N 5 D 7
LW 10 log my 8 101 dB

1
SI based on m in kg/s, y F in J/kg, Pi in W, in kg/m3, N in rpm, and D in m.
2
U.S. Factors based on m in lbm/s, y F in ft-lb/lbm, Pi in hp, in lbm/ft3, N in rpm, and
D in ft.

Thrust and the Fan Laws


The preceeding discussions deal with the more or less conventional fan
performance parameters. Thrust is an aspect of fan performance that is
particularly applicable to jet fans which are axial flow fans that are used to
add momentum to the air in a tunnel or other space. The thrust T of a fan can
be predicted from the thrust of an homologous fan. Fan law 1 utilizes fan size
D, fan speed N, and fan air density as independent variables. Using these
independent variables and fan thrust as the dependent variables, we can write:

4 2 1
D N
Ta = Tb a a a . Fan Law 1f
Db N b b

Other variations could be written, but this is the most useful.


A dimentionless thrust coefficient can also be derived:

= T N 2 D 4 (12.31)

This is based on SI units. The use of U.S. units requires a factor of


2 7
1.158 105. Multiplying by 1 1 2 , where is the hub ratio, yields a
dimensionless group that corresponds to the annulus area. Multiplying by the
physical factor 2 3 yields a number that relates pressure to the peripheral
velocity. Both the AMCA and ISO jet fan test codes define thrust coefficient
on the basis of annulus area and peripheral velocity.

#1999 Howden Buffalo, Inc.