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Technical Bulletin
TBN021.2/2001



PREDICTION OF FAN SOUND POWER



Fan noise is a function of the fan design
(Kw), volume flow rate (Q), total pressure
(Pt) and efficiency (c).

The sound power generation of a given
fan performing a given duty is best
obtained from the fan manufacturers
actual test data taken under approved
test conditions. However, if such data
are not readily available, the octave
band sound power levels for various fans
can be estimated by the following
procedure.

Fan noise can be rated in terms of the
specific sound power level, which is
defined as the sound power level
generated by a fan operating at a
capacity of 1m
3
/s (or 1 cfm) and a
pressure of 1 Pa (or 1 in. of water). By
reducing all fan noise data to this
common denominator, the specific
sound power level serves as a basis for
direct comparison of the octave band
levels of various fans and as a basis for a
conventional method of calculating the
noise levels of fans at actual operating
conditions.


Blade Passage Frequency ( Bf )

Recent study shows that on a specific
sound power level basis, small fans are
somewhat noisier than large fans. While
any such size division is necessarily
arbitrary, the size divisions indicated are
practical for estimating fan noise. Fans
generate a tone at the blade passage
frequency, and the strength of this tone
depends, in part, on the type of fan. To
account for this blade passage
frequency, an increase should be made
in the octave band into which the blade
frequency falls. The number of decibels
to be added to this band is called the
blade frequency increment (BFI). Blade
frequency (Bf ) is :

Bf = (rpm x no. of blades)/60

The number of blades and the fan rpm
can be obtained from the fan selection
catalogue. If this catalogue is
unavailable, Table 1 may be used for
estimation.


Fan Type
Octave Band in
which BFI occurs

Centrifugal
Airfoil, backward curved
backward inclined
Forward curved
Radial blade, pressure
blower
Vaneaxial
Tubeaxial
Propeller



250 Hz

500 Hz
125 Hz

125 Hz
63 Hz
63 Hz


Table 1 Octave Band in which Blade
Frequency Increment (BFI) Occurs*

Specific sound power levels and blade
frequency increments are listed in Table
2. For a more complete desciption of fan
types, construction, and applications, see
Technical Bulletin TBN007.0 Fan
Types.

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Technical Bulletin - TBN021.2/2001


Octave Band Center Frequency, Hz
Fan Type Wheel Size 63 125 250 500 1000 2000 4000 8000 BFI

Centrifugal
Airfoil, backward
curved, backward
inclined
Forward curved
Radial blade
Pressure blower



> 0.9m
< 0.9m

All
> 1m
1m to 0.5m
< 0.5m


32
36

47
45
55
63


32
38

43
39
48
57


31
36

39
42
48
58


29
34

33
39
45
50


28
33

28
37
45
44


23
28

25
32
40
39


15
20

23
30
38
38


13
15

20
27
37
37


3


2

8
Vaneaxial

> 1m
< 1m
39
37
36
39
38
43
39
43
37
43
34
41
32
38
26
35
6
Tubeaxial

> 1m
< 1m
41
40
39
41
43
47
41
46
39
44
37
43
34
37
32
35
5
Propeller

All 48 51 58 56 55 52 46 42 5

Table 2 Specific Sound Power Levels (dB re 1pW) and Blade Frequency Increments (BFI) for Various
Type Fans


Point of Operation

The specific sound power levels given in
Table 2 are for fans operating at or near
the peak efficiency point of the fan
performance curve. This conforms with
the recommended practice of selecting
fan size and speed so that operation falls
at or near this point; it is advantageous
for energy conservation and corresponds
to the lowest noise levels for that fan. If,
for any reasons, a fan is not or cannot be
selected optimally, the noise level
produced will increase and a correction
factor C as shown in Table 3 shall
accounts for this.

Static Efficiency
% of Peak
Correction
Factor
90 to 100
85 to 89
75 to 84
65 to 74
55 to 64
50 to 54
0
3
6
9
12
15

Table 3 Octave Band in which Blade
Frequency Increment (BFI) Occurs*

This correction factor should be applied
to all octave bands.


Prediction of Fan Sound Power (Lw)

Sound power levels at actual operating
conditions may be estimated by using
the actual fan-volume flow rate and fan
pressure, as:


c
P
P
log 20
Q
Q
log 10 K L
1 1
w w
+

+ =


where :
Lw = estimated sound power level
of fan (dB re 1pw)
Kw = specific sound power level
(see table 2)
Q = flow rate, m
3
/s (cfm)
Q1 = 0.000472 when flow is in m
3
/s
(1 when cfm)
P = pressure drop in pascals
(in.H2O)
P1 = 249 when pressure in pascals
(1 when in.H2O)
c = correction factor in dB, for
point of fan operation.


3-3
Values of the estimated sound power
level are calculated for all eight bands ,



and the BFI is added to the octave band
in which the blade passage frequency
falls.


Example :
A forward curved fan FDA500C is
selected to supply 4.15 m3/s at 750Pa. It
has 41 blades and operates at 904rpm
with static efficiency of 56%. What is the
estimated sound power level ?

Step 1 : Obtain the specific sound
power level (Kw) from Table 2
for forward curved.

Step 2 : Calculate the additional sound
power levels due to the volume
flow rate and pressure.

49 57 . 9 44 . 39
249
750
log 20
000472 . 0
15 . 4
log 10
P
P
log 20
Q
Q
log 10
1 1
= + =




Technical Bulletin - TBN021.2/2001


Step 3 : Calculate the Bf to determine
the BFI falls at which octave
bands.

Bf = (rpm x no. of blades)/60
= (904x41)/60
= 617 Hz
The BFI falls on 500Hz octave
bands. (i.e between lower f,
355Hz to upper f, 710 Hz)

Step 4 : Determine correction factor c
for off-peak efficiency.

From catalogue performance
data, this fan shows a peak
efficiency of 62%.
% of peak static efficiency =
(56/62)x100 = 90.3.

From Table 3, c = 0.

Combine all 4 steps as shown in the
Table 4.

Lw(Linear) = 98.2 dB
LwA = 85.8 dB(A)




Table 4 Sample Calculation
Octave Band Center Frequency, Hz Sound
Reference
63 125 200 500 1000 2000 4000 8000 Power
Step 1 47 43 39 33 28 25 23 20
Step 2 49 49 49 49 49 49 49 49
Step 3 - - - 2 - - - -
Step 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Lw(dB)(Linear) = 96 92 88 84 77 74 72 69 98.2
A-weighted factor
LwA (dB(A))=
-25.5
70.5
-15.5
76.5
-8.5
79.5
-3.0
81
0
77
+1
75
+1
73
-1
68

85.8

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