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Source: HANDBOOK OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERING CALCULATIONS

SECTION 9
AIR AND GAS COMPRESSORS
AND VACUUM SYSTEMS

Estimating the Cost of Air Leaks in Vacuum-System Pump-Down Time


Compressed-Air Systems 9.1 9.27
Selecting an Air Motor for a Known Vacuum-Pump Selection for High-
Application 9.4 Vacuum Systems 9.30
Air-Compressor Cooling-System Choice Vacuum-System Pumping Speed and
for Maximum Coolant Economy 9.10 Pipe Size 9.33
Economics of Air-Compressor Inlet Determining Air Leakage in Vacuum
Location 9.14 Systems by Calculation 9.34
Power Input Required by Centrifugal Checking the Vacuum Rating of a
Compressor 9.16 Storage Vessel 9.36
Compressor Selection for Compressed- Sizing Rupture Disks for Gases and
Air Systems 9.18 Liquids 9.39
Sizing Compressed-Air System Determining Airflow in Pipes, Valves,
Components 9.24 and Fittings 9.40
Compressed-Air Receiver Size and
Pump-Up Time 9.26

System Economics and Design Strategies

ESTIMATING THE COST OF AIR LEAKS IN


COMPRESSED-AIR SYSTEMS

Find the cost of compressed air leaking through a 0.125-in (0.3175-cm) diameter
hole in a pipe main of a typical industrial air piping system, Fig. 1, to the atmo-
sphere at sea level when the air pressure in the pipe is 10 lb / in2 (gage) (68.9 kPa),
the plant, Fig. 2, operates 7500 h / yr, air temperature is 70⬚F (21.1⬚C), and the cost
of compressed air is $1.25 per 1000 ft3 (28.3 m3). What is the cost of the leaking
air when the pipe pressure is 50 lb / in2 (gage) (344.5 kPa) and the other variables
are the same as given above?

Calculation Procedure:
1. Find the volume of air discharged to the atmosphere
Air flowing through an orifice or nozzle attains a critical pressure of 0.53 times the
inlet or initial pressure. This reduced pressure occurs at the throat or vena contracta,
which is the point of minimum stream diameter on the outlet side of the air flow.
If the outlet or back pressure exceeds the critical pressure then the vena contracta

9.1
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9.2 PLANT AND FACILITIES ENGINEERING

FIGURE 1 Typical compressed-air system main and branch pipes (Factory Manage-
ment and Maintenance).

or throat pressure rises to equal the backpressure. Air flow through a hole in a pipe
or tank replicates the flow through an orifice or nozzle.
When an inlet air pressure of 10 lb / in2 (gage) ⫹ 14.7 ⫽ 24.7 lb / in2 (abs) (170.2
kPa), the critical pressure is 0.53 ⫻ 24.7 ⫽ 13.09 lb / in2 (abs) (90.2 kPa). Since
13.09 lb / in2 (abs) is less than the atmospheric backpressure of 14.7 lb / in2 (abs)
(101.3 kPa), the throat pressure equals the backpressure, or 14.7 lb / in2 (abs) (101.3
kPa). Knowing this, we can compute weight of the escaping air from W ⫽ 1.06
A(P1[P ⫺ P1] / T )0.5, where W ⫽ leakage rate, lb / s (kg / s); A ⫽ area of leakage
hole, in2 (cm2); P ⫽ pipeline or initial air pressure, lb / in2 (abs) (kPa); P1 ⫽ outlet
or backpressure, lb / in2 (abs); T ⫽ absolute temperature of the air before leakage
⫽ ⬚F ⫹ 460.
Substituting, using the values given above, W ⫽ 1.06 ⫻ 0.012272(14.7[24.7 ⫺
14.7] / 530)0.5 ⫽ 0.006851 lb / s (0.0031 kg / s). Converting this air leakage rate to
lb / h (kg / h), multiply by 3600 s / h, or 0.006851 ⫻ 3600 ⫽ 24.66 lb / h (11.19 kg /
h). Since the cost of compressed air is expressed in $ / ft3, the flow rate of the
leaking air must be converted. Since air at 14.7 lb / in2 (abs) (101.3 kPa) weighs
0.075 lb per ft3 (1.2 kg / m3), the rate of leakage is 24.66 / 0.075 ⫽ 328.8 ft3 / h (9.31
m3 / h).

2. Determine the annual cost of the air leakage


This compressed-air plant operates 7500 h / yr. Since the leakage rate is 328.8
ft3 / h, the annual leakage through this opening is 7500 ⫻ 328.8 ⫽ 2,466,000 ft3
(58,691 m3). At a cost of $1.25 per 1000 ft3, the annual total cost of this leak is
$1.25 ⫻ 2,466,000 / 1000 ⫽ $3,082.50. This is a sizeable charge, especially if there
are several leaks of this size, or larger, in the system.

3. Find the rate of leakage at the higher line pressure


When the backpressure is less than the critical pressure, a different flow equation
must be used. In the second instance, the critical pressure is 0.53 (50 lb / in2 (gage)
⫹ 14.7) ⫽ 34.29 lb / in2 (abs) (236.26 kPa). Since 34.29 lb / in2 (abs) (236.26 kPa)
is greater than the atmospheric backpressure of 14.7 lb / in2 (abs) (101.3 kPa), the
critical pressure is greater than the backpressure. Air leakage through the hole is
now given by W ⫽ 0.5303(ACP) / (T )0.5, where C ⫽ flow coefficient ⫽ 1.0; other
symbols as before.

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AIR AND GAS COMPRESSORS AND VACUUM SYSTEMS

FIGURE 2 Typical compressed-air plant showing compressor and its associated piping and accessories (Power).

9.3
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9.4 PLANT AND FACILITIES ENGINEERING

Substituting, W ⫽ 0.5303(0.012272)(1.0)(64.7) / (530)0.5 ⫽ 0.01829 lb / s (0.0083


kg / s). Converting to an hourly flow rate as earlier, 3600 ⫻ 0.01828 ⫽ 65.84 lb / h
(29.89 kg / h).

4. Compute the annual cost of air leakage at the higher pressure


Following the same steps as earlier, annual leakage cost ⫽ 65.84 lb / h (7500
h / yr)(1.25 / 1000 ft3) / 0.075 lb / ft3 ⫽ $8,230.00 per year. Again, this is a significant
loss of revenue. Further, the loss at the higher pressure is $8230 / 3082.50 ⫽ 2.67
times as great. This points out the fact that higher pressures in a compressed-air
system can cause more expensive leaks.
Related Calculations. Compressing air requires a power input to raise the air
pressure from atmospheric to the level desired for the end use of the air. When
compressed air leaks from a pipe or storage tank, the power expended in compres-
sion is wasted because the air does no useful work when it leaks into the atmo-
sphere.
In today’s environment-conscious world, compressed-air leaks are considered to
be especially wasteful because they increase pollution without producing any ben-
eficial results. The reason for this is that the fuel burned to generate the power to
compress the wasted air pollutes the atmosphere unnecessarily because the air pro-
duces only a hissing sound as it escapes through the hole in the pipe or vessel.

SELECTING AN AIR MOTOR FOR A KNOWN


APPLICATION

Show how to select a suitable air motor for a reversible application requiring 2 hp
(1.5 kW) at 1000 rpm for an industrial crane. Determine the probable weight of
the motor, its torque output, and air consumption for this intermittent duty appli-
cation. An adequate supply of air at a wide pressure range is available at the
installation.

Calculation Procedure:
1. Assemble data on possible choices for the air motor
There are four basic types of air motors in use today: (1) radial-piston type; (2)
axial-piston type; (3) multi-vaned type; (4) turbine type. Each type of air motor has
advantages and disadvantages for various applications. Characteristics of these air
motors are as follows:
(1) Radial-piston air motors, Fig. 3, have four or five cylinders mounted around
a central crankshaft similar to a radial gasoline engine. Five cylinders are preferred
to supply more horsepower with evenly distributed power pulses. In such a unit
there are always two cylinders having a power stroke at the same time. The radial-
piston motor is usually a slow-speed unit, ranging from 85 to 1500 rpm. It is suited
for heavy-duty service up to 20 hp (15 kW) where good lugging characteristics are
needed. Normally they are not reversible, though reversible models are available at
extra cost.
(2) Axial-piston air motors, Fig. 4, are more compact in design and require less
space than a four- or five-cylinder radial-piston motor. Air drives the pistons in
translation; a diaphragm-type converter changes the translation into rotation. This
arrangement supplies high horsepower per unit weight. Axial-piston motors are

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AIR AND GAS COMPRESSORS AND VACUUM SYSTEMS 9.5

FIGURE 3 (a) Five-cylinder piston-type radial air motor used in sizes from about 2 hp (1.5
kW) to 22 hp (16.4 kW) and at speeds from 85 to 1500 rpm. (b) How five-cylinder air motor
distributes power. Two cylinders are always on power stroke at any instant (Gardner-Denver
Company).

available in sizes from 0.5 to 2.75 hp (0.37 to 2.1 kW). They run equally well in
either direction. To make the motor reversible, a four-way air valve is inserted in
the line.
(3) Multi-vaned motors, Fig. 5, are suitable for loads from fractional hp (kW)
to 10 hp (7.5 kW). They are relatively high-speed units which must be geared down
for usable speeds. The major advantages of multi-vaned motors is light weight and
small size. However, if used at slow speed, the gearing may add significantly to
the weight of the motor.
(4) Air-turbine motors deliver fractional horsepowers at exceptionally high
speeds, from 10,000 to 150,000 rpm, and are an economical source of power. They
are tiny impulse-reaction turbines in which air at 100 psi (689 kPa) impinges on
buckets for the driving force. Force-feed automatic lubrication sprays a fine film of
oil on to bearings continuously, minimizing maintenance.
Based on the load requirements, 2 hp (1.5 kW) at 1000 rpm, a reversible radial-
piston air motor, Table 1, would be a suitable choice because it delivers up to 2.8

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9.6 PLANT AND FACILITIES ENGINEERING

Diaphragm converts
piston translation
to rotation

Output
shaft

Pistons
(four or five)

FIGURE 4 Axial-piston air motor available in various output sizes (Keller Tool Com-
pany).

FIGURE 5 Typical multi-vane type air motor, available in fractional hp sizes and up to
some 10 hp (7.5 kW) (Gast Manufacturing Company).

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AIR AND GAS COMPRESSORS AND VACUUM SYSTEMS 9.7

TABLE 1 Specifications of Typical Air Motors

Air consumption
Rated hp* Speed at rated Free speed Weight Stall torque at rated hp ft3
(kW) hp—rpm rpm lb (kg) ft—lbs free air/min
Radial piston motors (non-reversible)*
2.9 (2.2) 1,500 3,200 130 (59) .......... ..............
3.3 (2.5) 1,300 3.000 130 (59) .......... ..............
3.8 (2.8) 1,200 2,700 130 (59) .......... ..............
Radial piston motors (reversible)*
2.5 (1.7) 1,200 2,200 135 (61.3) .......... ..............
2.8 (2.1) 1,000 1,950 135 (61.3) .......... ..............
3.2 (2.4) 900 1,600 135 (61.3) .......... ..............
5.2 (3.9) 750 1,600 200 (90.8) .......... ..............
*at 90 lb / in2 (620 kPa).
Ingersoll-Rand.

hp (2.1 kW) at 1000 rpm with air delivered to the motor at 90 lb / in2 (620 kPa).
The weight of this motor, Table 1, is 135 lb (61.3 kg).

2. Compare the advantages of air motors to other types of motive power


Air motors have a number of advantages over their usual competitors—electric
motors. These advantages are: (1) In explosive or gaseous environments, air motors
are lower in cost than larger, heavier, explosion-proof electric motors. Air motors
operate relatively trouble-free in moist, humid environments where the electric mo-
tor may suffer from a buildup of fungus and corrosion. And since the air motor
requires little maintenance, it can be mounted in inaccessible locations. (2) With
an air motor, the output speed can be varied from zero to free-speed no-load rotation
by merely changing the volume of air supplied to the motor. Controls are simple
in design and use. (3) Air motors can weigh as little as one-quarter that of electri-
cally-powered units; their physical dimensions are about 50 percent those of elec-
trical devices. Further, air motors do not spark; they cannot burn out from over-
loading; the air motor is not injured by stalling. Air motors start and stop positively;
they have a consistent output torque which can be changed by varying the inlet air
pressure.
Air motors do, however, have limitations. Thus: (1) Compared to electric motors,
air motors are inefficient. An air motor requires about 5 hp (3.7 kW) input to the
air compressor to produce one horsepower (0.7 5kW) at the motor outlet. (2) Air
motors are rarely practical in sizes greater than 20 hp (15 kW). Their most efficient
range is 1 / 20 to 20 hp (0.04 to 15 kW). (3) The initial cost of an air motor is high;
in larger sizes, above 1 hp (0.75 kW), air motors cost up to five times that of
equivalent electric motors.

3. Check the motor duty cycle and load against the unit’s characteristics
When selecting an air motor, the first factor to be considered is the type of duty
cycle, intermittent or continuous. A crane, for which this motor will be used, does
have an intermittent duty cycle because it is not normally used continuously. There
is a rest period while the crane load is being put on the crane and again while
being off-loaded from the crane.
The great majority of air-motor applications have a low-load cycle; the air mo-
tors are used for only a few seconds continuously and have long off-duty periods.

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9.8 PLANT AND FACILITIES ENGINEERING

The duty cycle will usually determine the type of motor and the size of compressor
that must be used.

4. Check the horsepower and speed required


Performance curves, Fig. 6, show an air motor’s torque and horsepower (kW) output
at various rpm. Such curves can be varied somewhat by using governors or by
modifying the air intake or exhaust ports. However, the basic shape of the perform-
ance curve depends on the fundamental design of the air motor. It is common
practice to rate an air motor at its maximum output, i.e., at the top of the dome-
shaped performance curve. The reversible radial-piston motor chosen here has ad-
equate horsepower and speed for the anticipated load.

5. Determine the effect of air pressure and quantity on the air motor output
Table 2 shows how the air pressure available at the motor inlet affects both the
power output and rpm of typical air motors. For the motor being considered here,
the output would be sufficient at the lowest air pressure listed. Thus, the motor
choice is acceptable.

Torque

Horsepower

Governor
controlled
curves
Horsepower

Torque
Rated performance

0 1
Stall speed Speed RPM Free speed
FIGURE 6 Performance curve of a typical air motor. Note how a built-in governor can change
the shape of the curve by limiting the maximum speed of the air motor (Product Engineering).

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1,600
5
1,900
4
Free speed—rpm

2,030
3
2,250
2
2,650
1
900
5
800
4
rpm at rated hp

850
3
1,100
2
1,200
1

(0.29)
0.4
5
TABLE 2 Effect of Air Pressure on Motor Performance

(4.8)
6.4
4
Rated hp (kW)

(2.4)
3.2
3

(1.9)
2.5
2

Gardner-Denver Company.
(1.4)
1.9
1
At 60 psi lb
Motor style

(413 kPa)
no.

/ in2

9.9
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9.10 PLANT AND FACILITIES ENGINEERING

Related Calculations. When using tables of air-motor performance, it is im-


portant to keep in mind that the stall torque and air consumption vary for each
motor. Hence, these values are not listed in the usual performance tables. There are
so many variables in air-motor choice that stall torque and air consumption are
unique for each application and are supplied by the motor manufacturer when the
motor choice is made.
As a general rule of thumb, stall torque ranges between 2 and 2.5 times the
torque developed when operating at maximum horsepower output.
In small motors, up to 2.5 hp (1.9 kW), air consumption varies from 35 to 40
ft3 / min (0.99 to 1.1 m3 / min) of free air per hp (0.746 kW). Larger air motors
consume 20 to 25 ft3 / min (0.57 to 0.70 m3 / min) of free air per hp. These con-
sumption rates apply to non-reversible motors. Reversible air motors consume 30
to 35 percent more air.
The data, tables and illustration in this procedure are from Product Engineering
magazine.

AIR-COMPRESSOR COOLING-SYSTEM CHOICE


FOR MAXIMUM COOLANT ECONOMY

Select a suitable cooling system for a two-stage 5000-hp (3730-kW) engine-driven


air compressor, Fig. 7, installed in a known arid hard-water area when the rated
output of the compressor is 25,000 ft3 / min (708 m3 / min) at 100 lb / in2 (abs) (689
kPa). Water conservation is an important requirement for this compressor because
of the arid nature of the area in which the unit is installed. Use standard cooling-
water requirements in estimating the capacity of the cooling system.

Calculation Procedure:
1. Assess the types of cooling systems that might be used
Several types of cooling systems can be used for air compressors such as this.
Because the air compressor is used in an arid area subject to water shortages, a
recirculating system of some type is immediately indicated. Since both the engine
and air-compressor cooling water require temperature reduction in such an instal-
lation, the two requirements are usually combined in one cooling system.
The first arrangement that might be chosen, Fig. 8, combines a heat exchanger
for engine power-cylinder cooling and a cooling tower for raw-water cooling for
the compressor. Either a natural-draft cooling tower, such as that shown, or a me-
chanical-draft cooling tower might be used. The cooling-tower choice depends on
a number of factors. In an arid area, however, natural-draft towers are known to
perform well in dry climates. Further, they require much less piping and electric
wiring than mechanical-draft towers.
Another possible cooling-system arrangement uses a closed coil in the cooling
tower for both the power and air cylinders, Fig. 9. This totally closed system does
not allow contact between the compressor and engine cooling water with the at-
mosphere. This means that the compressor and engine cooling water can be treated
to reduce scale formation. Raw water recirculated through the cooling tower does
not contact the compressor coolant.
Where installation costs are critical, raw water can be used to cool the air-
compressor cylinders, Fig. 10. The engine power cylinders, which usually operate

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FIGURE 7 Gas-engine driven compressor has oil-cooled power pistons. Compressor, left, uses metallic piston-rod packing (Cooper-
Bessemer Corp.).

9.11
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9.12 PLANT AND FACILITIES ENGINEERING

FIGURE 8 Heat exchanger, center, for power-cylinder cooling and raw-water cooling
for the compressor (Ingersoll-Rand Co.).

FIGURE 9 Closed cooling system for power and air cylinders utilizing pipe coil in
the cooling tower (Ingersoll-Rand Co.).

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AIR AND GAS COMPRESSORS AND VACUUM SYSTEMS 9.13

FIGURE 10 Raw water cools the air cylinders; power cylinders use
closed system protected by thermostatic valve (Ingersoll-Rand Co.).

at a higher temperature, are cooled by a closed system protected by a thermostatic


valve.
An open cooling-tower system, Fig. 11, is not recommended for installations
such as this because of the possible heavy scale buildup. However, such an open
cooling system might be used where the economics of the installation permit it and
scale buildup is unlikely to occur.

2. Determine the air-compressor cooling load


Use flow rates given in Table 6, page 9.24 to estimate the cooling water flow rate
for this air compressor. Thus, with the intercooler and jacket in series, using the

110°F (43.3°C) 130°F (54.4°C)


FIGURE 11 Cooling-tower recirculating system is not recommended because of the
possibility of scale and impurities buildup (Ingersoll-Rand Co.).

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9.14 PLANT AND FACILITIES ENGINEERING

higher flow rate of 2.8 gal / min (364.3 L / s) per 100 ft3 / min (100 m3 / s), the cooling-
water flow required for this 25,000 ft3 / min (708 m3 / s) air compressor is (25,000 /
100)(2.8) ⫽ 700 gal / min (44.2 L / s).

3. Compute the engine jacket-water cooling load


The engine jacket water cooling load is computed separately using a cooling-water
temperature rise of 10 to 20⬚ F (5.6 to 11.1⬚C) during passage through the engine,
as given in the Internal-Combustion Engine section of this handbook. Further, the
usual jacket-water flow rate is 0.25 to 0.60 gal / (min bhp) (0.02 to 0.05 kg / kW).
For a 5000-hp (3730-kW) engine, using the maximum flow rate, (5000)(0.6) ⫽
3000 gal / min (189.3 L / s).
Additional cooling water may be used for the turbocharger, if fitted, and for
aftercooling. Steps for calculating these cooling-water flows are given in the section
cited above. Such cooling-water flows are usually additive to the jacket-water flow,
depending on the cooling arrangement used.
Related Calculations. Cooling systems for air and gas compressors are im-
portant for reliable and safe operation of these units. Hence, great care must be
exercised in choosing the most reliable and economic cooling system.
Today, both mechanical-draft and natural-draft cooling towers are popular
choices. An economic study is needed to determine the best choice when the cool-
ing effectiveness of both types of towers are about equal. Data given on cooling
towers elsewhere in this handbook can be helpful to the designer in choosing the
best type of tower to use for a given installation of air or gas compressors.
Straight flow-through cooling of small compressors and their drive engines is
often used where adequate water supplies are available. Thus, in large cities the
cooling water may be taken from the water main and discharged to the sewer after
passage through the compressor and engine. Cost of the water may be small com-
pared to the investment in a cooling tower. But with increased environmental con-
cerns, this scheme of cooling may soon be extinct.

ECONOMICS OF AIR-COMPRESSOR INLET


LOCATION

A plant designer has the option of locating an air-compressor inlet pipe either inside
the compressor building or outside the structure. The prevailing average indoor
temperature is 90⬚F (32.2⬚C) while the average outdoor temperature is 50⬚F (10⬚C).
Air requirements for this plant from the compressor are: 1000 ft3 / min (28.3 m3 /
min) of free air at 70⬚F (21.1⬚C) at 100 lb / in2 (gage) (689 kPa) for 7500 h / yr; the
200-hp (149.1 kW) compressor drive motor operates at full load throughout the
7500 hr load year. Determine which is the best location for the compressor intake
based on power savings with an electric power cost of $0.04 / kWh.

Calculation Procedure:
1. Determine the power savings possible with cooler intake air
Compute the intake volume, I, required to deliver 1000 ft3 / min of free air at each
of the possible intake temperatures from I ⫽ 1000(density of air at 70 ⬚F, lb / ft3 /

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AIR AND GAS COMPRESSORS AND VACUUM SYSTEMS 9.15

density of air at inlet temperature, lb / ft3), where I ⫽ intake volume, ft3 (m3), re-
quired at the air inlet temperature.
For inlet air at 50⬚F (21.1⬚C), the outside intake air temperature, using a table
of air properties, I ⫽ 1000(0.07493 / 0.7785) ⫽ 962.49 ft3 (27.2 m3). With an inlet
temperature of 90⬚F (32.2⬚C), using the inside-of-the-building air intake, I ⫽
1000(0.07493 / 0.07219) ⫽ 1037.95 ft3 (29.37 m3), say 1038 ft3 (29.37) cu m).
The power saving from using lower-temperature intake air is then hp saving ⫽
100(intake volume required at the higher intake temperature ⫺ intake volume re-
quired at the lower intake temperature) / intake volume required at the higher intake
temperature. Substituting, hp saving ⫽ 100(1038 ⫺ 962) / 1038 ⫽ 7.32 percent.

2. Find the annual power saving with the lower intake temperature
The annual power saving, P kWh, can be found from: P ⫽ (hp saving / 100)(motor
hp)(0.746 kW / hp)(annual operating hours). Since the compressor operates at full
load 7500 h / yr using 200 hp, the annual power saving is P ⫽ (7.32 / 100)(200
hp)(0.746)(7500) ⫽ 81,910.8 kWh.
The annual cost saving, A ⫽ (kWh / h per yr saved)(power cost, $ / kWh). With
a power cost of $0.04 / kWh, the annual cost saving, A ⫽ (81,910.8)(0.04) ⫽
$3276.43. If an outside inlet were more expensive than an indoor inlet, this saving
could be used to offset the increased cost.
Related Calculations. As a general rule, an outside air intake, Fig. 12, is more
economical than an inside air intake when the air in the building is at a higher
temperature than the outside air. The only time an outside air intake might be less
desirable than an indoor air intake is when the outside air is polluted with corrosive
vapors, excessive dust, abrasive sand, etc., which would be injurious to people or
machines. Under these circumstances the designer might elect an indoor air intake.
However, before choosing an indoor intake, review the efficacy of outdoor air filters
of various types, Fig. 13.
Air in industrial districts may contain from 1 to 4 grains of dirt per 1000 ft3
(28.3 m3). If the intake air for a compressor contains only 1 gram per 1000 ft3
(28.3 m3), 7200 grains of dirt will pass into the air compressor in 1 week’s oper-
ation. With the higher level of 4 grains per 1000 ft3 (28.3 m3), 28,800 grains, or
over 4 lb (1.8 kg) will be carried into the compressor during 1 week’s operation.
Frequently, much of the dirt carried in the air is abrasive. If this dirt is allowed to
get into the compressor cylinders it will mix with the lubricating oil and cause rapid
wear of piston rings, cylinder walls, valves, and other parts.
Intake-air filters, Fig. 13, can reduce much of the danger of abrasive particles
in the supply air. Each type has its favorable features. Viscous coated wire filters,
Fig. 13a, are often used for small- and medium-size compressors. Centrifugal air-
flow units, Fig. 13b, and traveling-curtain oil-bath filters, Fig. 13c, are popular for
larger air compressors. The final choice of an intake filter is a function of com-
pressor capacity, intake-air quality, annual operating hours, and expected life of the
compressor installation. Filter manufacturers can be most helpful to the plant de-
signer in evaluating these factors.
The general procedure given here is valid for air compressors of all types: cen-
trifugal, reciprocating, vane, rotary, etc., and the procedure can be used for air
compressors in plants of all types—chemical, petroleum, manufacturing, marine,
industrial, etc. This procedure has universal application because it is based on the
properties of air, the compressor power input, the annual operating hours, and the
cost of power. These values can be found in any application of air compressors in
industry today.

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9.16 PLANT AND FACILITIES ENGINEERING

10-ft (3-m)
(a)

(b)
FIGURE 12 (a) Outside intake-air filter for air compressor should have intake pipe as
short as possible and be fitted with long-radius elbows (Ingersoll-Rand Co.). (b) Glazed-
tile tunnel for outdoor-air intake.

Compressed-Air and -Gas System


Components and Layouts

POWER INPUT REQUIRED BY CENTRIFUGAL


COMPRESSOR
A centrifugal compressor handling air draws in 12,000 ft3 / min (339.6 m3 / min) of
air at a pressure of 14 lb / in2 (abs) (96.46 kPa) and a temperature of 60⬚F (15.6⬚C).

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AIR AND GAS COMPRESSORS AND VACUUM SYSTEMS 9.17

(a)

(b) (c)
FIGURE 13 (a) Viscous coated-wire intake-air filter (Air-Maze Corp.). (b) Centrifugal
air-flow oil-bath intake-air filter also acts as a silencer. (c) Traveling-curtain oil-bath intake-
air filter cleans itself in the oil (American Air Filter Co., Inc.).

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9.18 PLANT AND FACILITIES ENGINEERING

The air is delivered from the compressor at a pressure of 70 lb / in2 (abs) (482.4
kPa) and a temperature of 164⬚F (73.3⬚C). Suction-pipe flow area is 2.1 ft2 (0.195
m2); area of discharge pipe is 0.4 ft2 (0.037 m2) and the discharge pipe is located
20 ft (6.1 m) above the suction pipe. The weight of the jacket water, which enters
at 60⬚F (15.6⬚C) and leaves at 110⬚F (43.3⬚C), is 677 lb / min (307.4 kg / min). What
is the horsepower required to drive this compressor, assuming no loss from radia-
tion?

Calculation Procedure:
1. Determine the variables for the compressor horsepower equation
The equation for centrifugal compressor horsepower input is,

hp ⫽
w
0.707冋 V 2 ⫺ V12 Z2 ⫺ Z1
cp(t2 ⫺ t1) ⫹ 2
50,000

778
⫹ 册 冋
wj(t0 ⫺ ti) ⫹ Rc
0.707 册
In this equation we have the following variables: w ⫽ weight, lb (kg) of unit flow
rate, ft3 / s (m3 / s) through the compressor, lb (kg), where w ⫽ (P1)(V1) / R(T1), where
P1 ⫽ inlet pressure, lb / in2 (abs) (kPa); V1 ⫽ inlet volume flow rate, ft3 / s (m3 / s);
R ⫽ gas constant for air ⫽ 53.3; T1 ⫽ inlet air temperature, degree Rankine.
The inlet flow rate of 12,000 ft3 / min ⫽ 12,000 / 60 ⫽ 200 ft3 / s (5.66 m3 / s); P1
⫽ 14.0 lb / in2 (abs) (93.46 kPa); T1 ⫽ 60 ⫹ 460 ⫽ 520 ⬚R. Substituting, w ⫽
14.0(144)(200) / 53.3(520) ⫽ 14.55 lb (6.6 kg).
The other variables in the equation are: cp ⫽ specific heat of air at inlet tem-
perature ⫽ 0.24 Btu / lb ⬚F (1004.2 J / kg ⬚K); t2 ⫽ outlet temperature, R ⫽ 624 ⬚R;
t1 ⫽ inlet temperature, R ⫽ 520⬚R; V1 ⫽ air velocity at compressor entrance, ft /
min (m / min); V2 ⫽ velocity at discharge, fpm (kg / min); Z1 ⫽ elevation of inlet
pipe, ft (m); V2 ⫽ elevation of outlet pipe, ft (m); wj ⫽ weight of jacket water
flowing through the compressor, lb / min (kg / min); ti ⫽ jacket-water inlet temper-
ature, ⬚F (⬚C); t0 ⫽ jacket outlet water temperature, ⬚F (⬚C).
The air velocity at the compressor entrance ⫽ (flow rate, ft3 / s) / (inlet area, ft2)
⫽ 200 / 2.1 ⫽ 95.3 ft / s (29 m / s); outlet velocity at the discharge opening ⫽ 200 /
0.4 ⫽ 500 ft / s (152.4 m / s).
2. Compute the input horsepower for the centrifugal compressor
Substituting in the above equation, with radiation losses, Rc ⫽ 0,

hp ⫽
14.55
0.707 冋0.24(624 ⫺ 520) ⫹
5002 ⫺ 95.32
50,000

20
778 册
⫹ [677 / 60 ⫻ (110 ⫺ 60)] / 0.707
⫽ 20.6(24.95 ⫹ 4.8 ⫹ 0.0256) ⫹ 797 ⫽ 1,409 hp (1051 kW)
Related Calculations. This equation can be used for any centrifugal compres-
sor. Since the variables are numerous, it is a wise procedure to assemble them
before attempting to solve the equation, as was done here.

COMPRESSOR SELECTION FOR COMPRESSED-


AIR SYSTEMS

Determine the required capacity, discharge pressure, and type of compressor for an
industrial-plant compressed-air system fitted with the tools listed in Table 3. The
plant is located at sea level and operates 16 h / day.

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AIR AND GAS COMPRESSORS AND VACUUM SYSTEMS 9.19

TABLE 3 Typical Computation of Compressed-Air Requirements

Calculation Procedure:
1. Compute the required airflow rate
List all the tools and devices in the compressed-air system that will consume air,
Table 3. Then obtain from Table 4 the probable air consumption, ft3 / min, of each
tool. Enter this value in column 1, Table 3. Next list the number of each type of
tool that will be used in the system in column 2. Find the maximum probable air
consumption of each tool by taking the product, line by line, of columns 1 and 2.
Enter the result in column 3, Table 3, for each tool.
The air consumption values shown in column 3 represent the airflow rate re-
quired for continuous operation of each type and number of tools listed. However,
few air tools operate continually. To provide for this situation, a load factor is
generally used when an air compressor is selected.

2. Select the equipment load factor


The equipment load factor ⫽ (actual air consumption of the tool or device, ft3 /
min) / (full-load continuous air consumption of the tool or device, ft3 / min). Load
factors for compressed-air operated devices are usually less than 1.0.
Two variables are involved in the equipment load factor. The first is the time
factor, or the percentage of the total time the tool or device actually uses com-
pressed air. The second is the work factor, or percentage of maximum possible
work output done by the tool. The load factor is the product of these two variables.
Determine the load factor for a given tool or device by consulting the manufac-
turer’s engineering data, or by estimating the factor value by using previous ex-
perience as a guide. Enter the load factor in column 4, Table 3. The values shown
represent typical load factors encountered in industrial plants.

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9.20 PLANT AND FACILITIES ENGINEERING

TABLE 4 Approximate Air Needs of Pneumatic Tools

3. Compute the actual air consumption


Take the product, line by line, of columns 3 and 4, Table 3. Enter the result, i.e.,
the probable air demand, in column 5, Table 3. Find the sum of the values in column
5, or 601 ft3 / min. This is the probable air demand of the system.

4. Apply allowances for leakage and future needs


Most compressed-air system designs allow for 10 percent of the required air to be
lost through leaks in the piping, tools, hoses, etc. Whereas some designers claim
that allowing for leakage is a poor design procedure, observation of many instal-
lations indicates that air leakage is a fact of life and must be considered when an
actual system is designed.
With a 10 percent leakage factor, the required air capacity ⫽ 1.1(601) ⫽ 661
ft3 / min (18.7 m3 / min).
Future requirements are best estimated by predicting what types of tools and
devices will probably be used. Once this is known, prepare a tabulation similar to
Table 3, listing the predicted future tools and devices and their air needs. Assume
that the future air needs, column 5, are 240 ft3 / min (6.8 m3 / min). Then the total
required air capacity ⫽ 661 ⫹ 240 ⫽ 901 ft3 / min (25.5 m3 / min), say 900 ft3 / min
(25.47 m3 / min) ⫽ present requirements ⫹ leakage allowance ⫹ predicated future
needs, all expressed in ft3 / min.

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AIR AND GAS COMPRESSORS AND VACUUM SYSTEMS 9.21

5. Choose the compressor discharge pressure and capacity


In selecting the type of compressor to use, two factors are of key importance:
discharge pressure required and capacity required.
Most air tools and devices are designed to operate at a pressure of 90 lb / in2
(620 kPa) at the tool inlet. Hence, usual industrial compressors are rated for a
discharge pressure of 100 lb / in2 (689 kPa), the extra lb / in2 providing for pressure
loss in the piping between the compressor and the tools. Since none of the tools
used in this plant are specialty items requiring higher than the normal pressure, a
100-lb / in2 (689-kPa) discharge pressure will be chosen.
Where the future air demands are expected to occur fairly soon—within 2 to 3
years—the general practice is to choose a compressor having the capacity to satisfy
present and future needs. Hence, in this case, a 900-ft3 / min (25.5-m3 / min) com-
pressor would be chosen.

6. Compute the power required to compress the air


Table 5 shows the power required to compress air to various discharge pressures at
different altitudes above sea level. Study of this table shows that at sea level a
single-stage compressor requires 22.1 bhp / (100 ft3 / min) (5.8 kW / m3) when the
discharge pressure is 100 lb / in2 (689 kPa). A two-stage compressor requires 19.1
bhp (14.2 kW) under the same conditions. This is a saving of 3.0 bhp / (100 ft3 /
min) (0.79 kW / m3). Hence, a two-stage compressor would probably be a better
investment because this hp will be saved for the life of the compressor. The usual
life of an air compressor is 20 years. Hence, by using a two-stage compressor, the
approximate required bhp ⫽ (900 / 100)(19.1) ⫽ 171.9 bhp (128 kW), say 175 bhp
(13.1 kW).

7. Choose the type of compressor to use


Reciprocating compressors find the widest use for stationary plant air supply. They
may be single- or two-stage, air- or water-cooled. Here is a general guide to the
types of reciprocating compressors that are satisfactory for various loads and ser-
vice:
Single-stage air-cooled compressor up to 3 hp (2.2 kW), pressures to 150 lb / in2
(1034 kPa), for light and intermittent running up to 1 h / day.
Two-stage air-cooled compressor up to 3 hp (2.2 kW), pressures to 150 lb / in2
(1034 kPa), for 4 to 8 h / day running time.

TABLE 5 Air Compressor Brake Horsepower (kW) Input*

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9.22 PLANT AND FACILITIES ENGINEERING

Single-stage air-cooled compressor up to 15 hp (11.2 kW) for pressures to 80


lb / in2 (552 kPa); above 80 lb / in2 (552 kPa), use two-stage air-cooled compres-
sor.
Single-stage horizontal double-acting water-cooled compressor for pressures to
100 lb / in2 (689 kPa) hps of 10 to 100 (7.5 to 75 kW), for 24 h / day or less
operating time.
Two-stage, single-acting air-cooled compressor for 10 to 100 hp (7.5 to 75 kW),
5 to 10 h / day operation.
Two-stage double-acting water-cooled compressor for 100 hp (75 kW), or more,
24 h / day, or less operating time.

Using this general guide, choose a two-stage double-acting water-cooled recipro-


cating compressor, because more than 100-hp (75-kW) input is required and the
compressor will operate 16 h / day.
Rotary compressors are not as widely used for industrial compressed-air systems
as reciprocating compressors. The reason is that usual rotary compressors discharge
at pressures under 100 lb / in2 (68.9 kPa), unless they are multistage units.
Centrifugal compressors are generally used for large airflows—several thousand
ft3 / min or more. Hence, they usually find use for services requiring large air quan-
tities, such as steel-mill blowing, copper conversion, etc. As a general rule, ma-
chines discharging at pressures of 35 lb / in2 (241 kPa) or less are termed blowers;
machines discharging at pressures greater than 35 lb / in2 (241 kPa) are termed
compressors.
Using these facts as a guide enables the designer to choose, as before, a two-
stage double-acting water-cooled compressor for this application. Refer to the man-
ufacturer’s engineering data for the compressor dimensions and weight.

8. Select the compressor drive


Air compressors can be driven by electric motors, gasoline engines, diesel engines,
gas turbines, or steam turbines. The most popular drive for reciprocating air com-
pressors is the electric motor—either direct-connected or belt-connected. Where
either dc or ac power supply is available, the usual choice is an electric-motor drive.
However, special circumstances, such as the availability of low-cost fuel, may dic-
tate another choice of drive for economic reasons. Assuming that there are no
special economic reasons for choosing another type of drive, an electric motor
would be chosen for this installation.
With an ac power supply, the squirrel-cage induction motor is generally chosen
for belt-driven compressors. Synchronous motors are also used, particularly when
power-factor correction is desired. Motor-driven air compressors generally operate
at constant speed and are fitted with cylinder unloaders to vary the quantity of air
delivered to the air receiver. A typical power input to a large reciprocating com-
pressor is 22 hp (16.4 kW) per 100 ft3 / min (2.8 m3 / min) of free air compressed.
Air compressors are almost always rated in terms of free air capacity, i.e., air
at the compressor intake location. Since the altitude, barometric pressure, and air
temperature may vary at any locality, the term free air does not mean air under
standard or uniform conditions. The displacement of an air compressor is the vol-
ume of air displaced per unit of time, usually stated in ft3 / min. In a multistage
compressor, the displacement is that of the low-pressure cylinder only.

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AIR AND GAS COMPRESSORS AND VACUUM SYSTEMS 9.23

9. Choose the type of air distribution system


Two types of air distribution systems are in use in industrial plants: central and
unit. In a central system, Fig. 14, one or more large compressors centrally located
in the plant supply compressed air to the areas needing it. The supply piping often
runs in the form of a loop around the areas needing air.
A unit system, Fig. 15, has smaller compressors located in the areas where air
is used. In the usual plant, each compressor serves only the area in which it is
located. Emergency connections between the various areas may or may not be
installed.
Central systems have been used for many years in large industrial plants and
give excellent service. Unit systems are used in both small and large plants but
probably find more use in smaller plants today. With the large quantity of air
required by this plant, a central system would probably be chosen, unless the air
was needed at widely scattered locations in the plant, leading to excessive pressure
losses in the distribution piping of a central system. In such a situation, a unit
system with the capacity divided between compressors as necessary would be
chosen.
Related Calculations. Where possible, choose a larger compressor than the
calculations indicate is needed, because air use in industrial plants tends to increase.
Avoid choosing a compressor having a free-air capacity less than one-third the
required free-air capacity.
When choosing a water-cooled compressor instead of an air-cooled unit, remem-
ber that water cooling is more expensive than air cooling. However, the power input
to water-cooled compressors is usually less than to air-cooled compressors of the
same capacity. For either type of cooling, a two-stage compressor, with intercooling,
is more economical when the compressor must operate 4 h or more in a 24-h period.
Table 6 shows the typical cooling-water requirements of various types of water-
cooled compressors.
When the inlet air temperature is above or below 60⬚F (15.6⬚C), the compressor
delivery will vary. Table 7 shows the relative delivery of compressors handling air
at various inlet temperatures.

FIGURE 14 Central system for compressed- FIGURE 15 Unit system for compressed-air
air supply. supply.

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AIR AND GAS COMPRESSORS AND VACUUM SYSTEMS

9.24 PLANT AND FACILITIES ENGINEERING

TABLE 6 Cooling Water Recommended for Intercoolers, Cylinder Jackets, Aftercoolers

TABLE 7 Effect of Initial Temperature on


Delivery of Air Compressors [Based on a
nominal intake temperature of 60⬚F TABLE 8 Air-Consumption Altitude
(15.6⬚C)] Factors (100-lb / in2 or 689.5-kPa air supply)

SIZING COMPRESSED-AIR-SYSTEM
COMPONENTS

What is the minimum capacity air receiver that should be used in a compressed-
air system having a compressor displacing 800 ft3 / min (0.38 m3 / s) when the intake
pressure is 14.7 lb / in2 (abs) (101.4 kPa) and the discharge pressure is 120 lb / in2
(abs) (827.4 kPa)? How long will it take for this compressor to pump up a 300-ft3
(8.5-m3) receiver from 80 to 120-lb / in2 (551.6 to 827.4 kPa) if the average volu-
metric efficiency of the compressor is 68 percent? For how long can an 80-lb / in2
(abs) (551.6-kPa) tool be operated from a 120-lb / in2 (abs) (827.4-kPa), 300-ft3 (8.5-
m3) receiver if the tool uses 10 ft3 / min (0.005 m3 / s) of free air and the receiver
pressure is allowed to fall to 85 lb / in2 (abs) (586.1 kPa) when the atmospheric
pressure is 14.7 lb / in2 (abs) (101.4 kPa)? What diameter air piston is required to
produce a 1000-lb (4448.2-N) force if the pressure of the air is 150 lb / in2 (abs)
(1034.3 kPa)?

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AIR AND GAS COMPRESSORS AND VACUUM SYSTEMS 9.25

Calculation Procedure:
1. Compute the required volume of the air receiver
Use the relation Vm ⫽ dp1 / p2, where Vm ⫽ minimum receiver volume needed, ft3;
d ⫽ compressor displacement, ft3 / min (use only the first-stage displacement for
two-stage compressors); p1 ⫽ compressor intake pressure, lb / in2 (abs); p2 ⫽ com-
pressor discharge pressure, lb / in2 (abs). Thus, for this compressor, Vm ⫽ 800(14.7
/ 120) ⫽ 97 ft3 (2.7 m3). To provide a reserve capacity, a receiver having a volume
of 150 or 200 ft3 (4.2 or 5.7 m3) would probably be chosen.

2. Compute the receiver pump-up time


Use the relation t ⫽ V( pf ⫺ pi) / (14.7de), where t ⫽ receiver pump-up time, min;
pf ⫽ final pressure, lb / in2 (abs); pi ⫽ initial receiver pressure, lb / in2 (abs); d ⫽
compressor piston displacement, ft3 / min; e ⫽ compressor volumetric efficiency,
percent. Thus, t ⫽ 300(120 ⫺ 80) / [14.7(800)(0.68)] ⫽ 1.5 min. When the com-
pressor discharge capacity is given in ft3 / min of free air instead of in terms of
piston displacement, drop the volumetric efficiency term from the above relation
before computing the pump-up time.

3. Compute the air supply time


Use the relation, ts ⫽ V(pmax ⫺ pmin) / (cpam), where ts ⫽ time in minutes during
which the receiver of volume V ft3 will supply air from the receiver maximum
pressure pmax lb / in2 (abs) to the minimum pressure pmin lb / in2 (abs); c ⫽ ft3 / min
of free air required to operate the tool; pa ⫽ atmospheric pressure, lb / in2 (abs). Or,
ts ⫽ 300(120 ⫺ 85) / [(10)(1.47)] ⫽ 7.15 min.
Note that in this relation pmin is the minimum air pressure to operate the air tool.
A higher minimum tank pressure was chosen here because this provides a safer
estimate of the time duration for the supply of air. Had the tool operating pressure
been chosen instead, the time available, by the same relation, would be ts ⫽ 81.5
min.
This calculation shows that it is often wise to install an auxiliary receiver at a
distance from the compressor but near the tools drawing large amounts of air. Use
of such an auxiliary receiver, particularly near the end of a long distribution line,
can often eliminate the need for purchasing another air compressor.

4. Compute the required piston diameter


Use the relation Ap ⫽ F / pm, where Ap ⫽ required piston area to produce the desired
force, in2; F ⫽ force produced, lb; pm ⫽ maximum air pressure available for the
piston, lb / in2 (abs). Or, Ap ⫽ 1000 / 150 ⫽ 6.66 in2 (43.0 cm2). The piston diameter
d is d ⫽ 2(Ap / ␲)0.5 ⫽ 2.91 in (7.4 cm).
Related Calculations. The air consumption of power tools is normally ex-
pressed in ft3 / min of free air at sea level; the actual capacity of any type of air
compressor is expressed in the same units. At locations above sea level, the quantity
of free air required to operate an air tool increases because the atmospheric pressure
is lower. To find the air consumption of an air tool at an altitude above sea level
in terms of ft3 / min of free air at the elevation location, multiply the sea-level
consumption by the appropriate factor from Table 6. Thus, a tool that consumes 10
ft3 / min (0.005 m3 / s) of free air at sea level will use 10 (1.310) ⫽ 13.1 ft3 / min
(0.006 m3 / s) of 100 lb / in2 (689.5-kPa) free air at an 8000-ft (2438.4-m) altitude.

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AIR AND GAS COMPRESSORS AND VACUUM SYSTEMS

9.26 PLANT AND FACILITIES ENGINEERING

COMPRESSED-AIR RECEIVER SIZE AND


PUMP-UP TIME

What is the minimum size receiver that can be used in a compressed-air system
having a compressor rated at 800 ft3 / min (0.4 m3 / s) of free air if the intake pressure
is 14.7 lb / in2 (abs) (101.4 kPa) and the discharge pressure is 120 lb / in2 (abs) (827.4
kPa)? How long will it take the compressor to pump up the receiver from 60 lb /
in2 (abs) (413.7 kPa) to 120 lb / in2 (abs) (827.4 kPa)? The compressor is a two-
stage water-cooled unit. How much cooling water is required for the intercooler
and jacket if they are piped in series and for the aftercooler?

Calculation Procedure:
1. Compute the required minimum receiver volume
For any air compressor, the minimum receiver volume vm ft3 ⫽ Dpi / pd, where
D ⫽ compressor displacement, ft3 / min free air (use only the first-stage displacement
for multistage compressors); pi ⫽ compressor inlet pressure, lb / in2 (abs); pd ⫽
compressor discharge pressure, lb / in2 (abs). For this compressor, vm ⫽
(800)(14.7) / (120) ⫽ 98 ft3 (2.8 m3). To provide a reserve supply of air, a receiver
having a volume of 150 or 200 ft3 (4.2 or 5.7 m3) would probably be chosen. Be
certain that the receiver chosen is a standard unit; otherwise, its cost may be ex-
cessive.

2. Compute the pump-up time required


Assume that a 150-ft3 (4.2-m3) receiver is chosen. Then, for any receiver, the pump-
up time t min ⫽ vr( pe ⫽ ps) / De, where vr ⫽ receiver volume, ft3; pe ⫽ pressure at
end of pump-up, lb / in2 (abs); ps ⫽ pressure at start of pump-up, lb / in2 (abs); e ⫽
compressor volumetric efficiency, expressed as a decimal (0.50 to 0.75 for single-
stage and 0.80 to 0.90 for multistage compressors). For this compressor, with a
volumetric efficiency of 0.85, t ⫽ (150)(120 ⫺ 60) / [(800)(0.85)] ⫽ 13.22 min.

3. Determine the quantity of cooling water required Use the Compressed Air
and Gas Institute (CAGI) cooling-water recommendations given in the Compressed
Air and Gas Handbook, or Baumeister and Marks—Standard Handbook for Me-
chanical Engineers. For 80 to 125 lb / in2 (gage) (551.6 to 861.9 kPa) discharge
pressure with the intercooler and jacket in series, CAGI recommends a flow of 2.5
to 2.8 gal / min per 100 ft3 / min (334.2 to 374.3 L / s per 100 m3 / s) of free air. Using
2.5 gal / min (334.2 L / s), we see that the cooling water required for the intercooler
and jackets ⫽ (2.5)(800 / 100) ⫽ 20.0 gal / min (2673.9 L / s). CAGI recommends
1.25 gal / min per 100 ft3 / min (167.1 L / s per 100 m3 / s) of free air for an aftercooler
serving a two-stage 80 to 125 lb / in2 (gage) (551.6- to 861.9-kPa) compressor, or
(1.25)(800 / 100) ⫽ 10.0 gal / min (1377.3 L / s) for this compressor. Thus, the total
quantity of cooling water required for this compressor is 20 ⫹ 10 ⫽ 30 gal / min
(4010.9 L / s).
Related Calculations. Use this procedure for any type of air compressor serv-
ing an industrial, commercial, utility, or residential load of any capacity. Follow
CAGI or the manufacturer’s recommendations for cooling-water flow rate. When a
compressor is located above or below sea level, multiply its rated free-air capacity
by the appropriate altitude correction factor obtained from the CAGI—Compressed

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AIR AND GAS COMPRESSORS AND VACUUM SYSTEMS 9.27

Air and Gas Handbook or Baumeister and Marks—Standard Handbook for Me-
chanical Engineers.

VACUUM-SYSTEM PUMP-DOWN TIME

An industrial vacuum system with a 200-ft3 (5.7-m3) receiver serving cleaning out-
lets is to operate to within 2.5 inHg (9.7 kPa) absolute of the barometer when the
barometer is 29.8 inHg (115.1 kPa). How long will it take to evacuate the receiver
to this pressure when a single-stage vacuum pump with a displacement of 60 ft3 /
min (0.03 m3 / s) is used? The pump is rated to dead end at a 29.0-inHg (112.1-
kPa) vacuum when the barometer is 30.0 inHg (115.9 kPa). The pump volumetric
efficiency is shown in Fig. 16.

Calculation Procedure:
1. Compute the pump operating vacuum
The pump must operate to within 2.5 inHg (9.7 kPa) of the barometer, or a vacuum
of 29.8 ⫺ 2.5 ⫽ 27.3 inHg (105.5 kPa).

2. Compute the quantity of free air removed from the receiver


Select a number of absolute pressures between 29.8 inHg (115.1 kPa), the actual
barometric pressure, and the final receiver pressure, 2.5 inHg (9.7 kPa); and list
them in the first column of a table such as Table 9. Assume equal pressure
reductions—say 3 inHg (11.6 kPa)—for each step except the last few, where smaller
reductions have been assumed to ensure greater accuracy.

FIGURE 16 Capacity, power-input, and efficiency curves for a typ-


ical reciprocating vacuum pump.

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9.28 PLANT AND FACILITIES ENGINEERING

TABLE 9 Evacuation Time Calculations

Enter in the second column of Table 9 the ratio of the absolute pressure in the
receiver to the atmospheric pressure, or P / r / Pa, both expressed in inHg. Thus, for
the second step, Pr / Pa ⫽ 26.8 / 29.8 ⫽ 0.899.
The amount of air remaining in the receiver, measured at atmospheric conditions,
is then the product of the receiver volume, 200 ft3 (5.7 m3), and the ratio of the
pressures. Or, for the second pressure reduction, 200(0.899) ⫽ 179.8 ft3 (5.1 m3).
Enter the result in the third column of Table 9. This computation is a simple ap-
plication of the gas laws with the receiver temperature assumed constant. Assump-
tion of a constant air temperature is valid because, although the air temperature
varies during pumping down, the overall effect is that of a constant temperature.
Find the quantity of air removed from the receiver by successive subtraction of
the values in the third column. Thus, for the second pressure step, the air removed
from the receiver ⫽ 200.0 ⫺ 179.8 ⫽ 20.2 ft3 (0.6 m3) and so on for the remaining
steps. Enter the result of each subtraction in the fourth column of Table 9.

3. Compute the actual quantity of air handled by the pump


The volumetric efficiency of a vacuum pump varies during each pressure reduction.
To simplify the pump-down time calculation, an average value for the volumetric
efficiency can be used for each step in the receiver pressure reduction. Find the
average volumetric efficiency for this vacuum pump from Fig. 16. Thus, for the
pressure reduction from 29.8 to 26.8 inHg (115.1 to 103.5 kPa), the volumetric
efficiency is found at (29.8 ⫹ 26.8) / 2 ⫽ 28.3 inHg (109.3 kPa) to be 91 percent.
Enter this value in the fifth column of Table 9. Follow the same procedure to find
the remaining values, and enter them as shown.
The actual quantity of free air this vacuum pump can handle is numerically
equal to the product of the volumetric efficiency, column 5, Table 9, and the pump
piston displacement. Or, for the above pressure reduction, free-air capacity ⫽
0.91(60) ⫽ 54.6 ft3 / min (0.026 m3 / s). Enter this result in column 6, Table 9.

4. Compute the pump-down time for each pressure reduction


The second line of Table 9 shows, in column 4, that at an absolute pressure of 26.8
inHg (103.5 kPa), 20.2 ft3 (0.6 m3) of free air is removed from the receiver. How-
ever, the vacuum pump can handle 54.6 ft3 / min (0.03 m3 / s), column 6. Since the

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AIR AND GAS COMPRESSORS AND VACUUM SYSTEMS 9.29

time required to remove air from the receiver is (ft3 removed) / (cylinder capacity,
ft3 / min), the time required to remove 20.2 ft3 (0.6 m3) is 20.2 / 54.6 ft3 ⫽ 0.370
min.
Compute the required time for each pressure step in the same manner. The total
pump-down time is then the sum of the individual times, or 9.019 min, column 7,
Table 9. This result is suitable for all usual design purposes because it closely
approximates the actual time required, and the errors involved are so slight as to
be negligible. Leakage into industrial-plant vacuum systems often equals the vol-
ume handled by the vacuum pump.

5. Use the pump-down time for compressor selection


To choose an industrial vacuum pump using the pump-down procedure described
in steps 1 to 4, (a) obtain the characteristics curves for several makes and capacities
of vacuum pumps; (b) compute the pump-down time for each pump, using the
procedure in steps 1 to 4; (c) compute the air inflow to the system, based on the
free-air capacity of each outlet and the number of outlets in the system; (d) compute
how long the pump must run to handle the air inflow; and (e) choose the pump
having the shortest running time and smallest required power input.
Thus, with 10 vacuum outlets each having a free-air flow of 50 ft3 / h (1.4 m3 /
s), the total air inflow is 10(50) ⫽ 500 ft3 / h (14.2 m3 / s). This means that a 200-
ft3 (5.7-m3) receiver would be filled 500 / 200 ⫽ 2.5 times per hour. Since the pump
discussed in steps 1 to 4 requires approximately 9 min to reduce the receiver pres-
sure from atmospheric to 2.5 inHg absolute (9.7 kPa), its running time to serve
these outlets would be 9(2.5) ⫽ 22.5 min, approximately. The power input to this
vacuum pump, Fig. 3, ranges from a minimum of about 1 hp (0.7 kW) to a max-
imum of about 3 hp (2.2 kW).
If another pump could evacuate this receiver in 6 min and needed only 2.5 hp
(1.9 kW) as the maximum power input, it might be a better choice, provided that
its first cost were not several times that of the other pump. Use the methods of
engineering economics to compare the economic merits of the two pumps.
Related Calculations. Note carefully that the procedure given here applies to
industrial vacuum systems used for cleaning, maintenance, and similar purposes.
The procedure should not be used for high-vacuum systems applied to production
processes, experimental laboratories, etc. Use instead the method given in the next
calculation procedure in this section.
To be certain that the correct pump-down time is obtained, many engineers
include the volume of the system piping in the computation. This is done by com-
puting the volume of all pipes in the system and adding the result to the receiver
volume. This, in effect, increases the receiver volume that must be pumped down
and gives a more accurate estimate of the probable pump-down time. Some engi-
neers also add a leakage allowance of up to 100 percent of the sum of the receiver
and piping volume. Thus, if the piping volume in the above system were 50 ft3
(1.4 m3), the total volume to be evacuated would be 2(200 ⫹ 50) ⫽ 500 ft3 (14.2
m3). The factor 2 in this expression was inserted to reflect the 100 percent leakage;
i.e., the pump must handle the receiver and piping volume plus the leakage, or
twice the sum of the receiver and piping volume.
Some industrial vacuum pumps are standard reciprocating air compressors run
in the reverse of their normal direction after slight modification. The vacuum lines
are connected to the receiver, from which the compressor takes it suction. After
removing air from the receiver, the compressor discharges to the atmosphere.

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9.30 PLANT AND FACILITIES ENGINEERING

VACUUM-PUMP SELECTION FOR HIGH-VACUUM


SYSTEMS

Choose a mechanical vacuum pump for use in a laboratory fitted with a vacuum
system having a total volume, including the piping, of 12,000 ft3 (339.8 m3). The
operating pressure of the system is 0.10 torr (0.02 kPa), and the optimum pump-
down time is 150 min. (Note: 1 torr ⫽ 1 mmHg ⫽ 0.2 kPa).

Calculation Procedure:
1. Make a tentative choice of pump type
Mechanical vacuum pumps of the reciprocating type are well suited for system
pressures in the 0.0001- to 760-torr (2 ⫻ 10⫺5 to 115.6-kPa) range. Hence, this
type of pump will be considered first to see whether it meets the desired pump-
down time.

2. Obtain the pump characteristic curves


Many manufacturers publish pump-down factor curves such as those in Fig. 17a
and b. These curves are usually published as part of the engineering data for a
given line of pumps. Obtain the curves from the manufacturers whose pumps are
being considered.

3. Compute the pump-down time for the pumps being considered


Three reciprocating pumps can serve this system: a single-stage pump, a compound
or two-stage pump, or a combination of a mechanical booster and a single-stage
backing or roughing-down pump. Figure 17 gives the pump-down factor for each
type of pump.
To use the pump-down factor, apply this relation: t ⫽ VF / d, where t ⫽ pump-
down time, min; V ⫽ system volume, ft3; F ⫽ pump-down factor for the pump;
d ⫽ pump displacement, ft3 / min.
Thus, for a single-stage pump, Fig. 17a shows that F ⫽ 10.8 for a pressure of
0.10 torr (1.5 kPa). Assuming a pump displacement of 1000 ft3 / min (0.5 m3 / s),
t ⫽ 12,000(10.8) / 1000 ⫽ 129.6 min, say 130 min.
For a compound pump, F ⫽ 9.5 from Fig. 17a. Hence, a compound pump having
the same displacement, or 1000 ft3 / min (0.5 m3 / s), will require t ⫽ 12,000(9.5) /
1000 ⫽ 114.0 min.
With a combination arrangement, the backing or roughing pump, a 130-ft3 / min
(0.06-m3 / s) unit, reduces the system pressure from atmospheric, 760 torr (115.6
kPa), to the economical transition pressure, 15 torr (2.3 kPa), Fig. 17b. Then the
single-stage mechanical booster pump, a 1200-ft3 / min (0.6-m3 / s) unit, takes over
and in combination with the backing pump reduces the pressure to the desired level,
or 0.10 torr (1.5 Pa). During this part of the cycle, the unit operates as a two-stage
pump. Hence, the total pump-down time consists of the sum of the backing-pump
and booster-pump times. The pump-down factors are, respectively, 4.2 for the back-
ing pump at 15 torr (2.3 kPa) and 6.9 for the booster pump at 0.10 torr (1.5 Pa).
Hence, the respective pump-down times are t1 ⫽ 12,000(4.2) / 130 ⫽ 388 min; t2 ⫽
12,000(6.9) / 1200 ⫽ 69 min. The total time is thus 388 ⫹ 69 ⫽ 457 min.
The pump-down time with the combination arrangement is greater than the op-
timum 150 min. Where a future lower operating pressure is anticipated, making the
combination arrangement desirable, an additional large-capacity single-stage rough-

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AIR AND GAS COMPRESSORS AND VACUUM SYSTEMS 9.31

FIGURE 17 (a) Pump-down factor for single-stage and compound vacuum pumps; (b) pump-
down factor for mechanical booster and backing pump. (After Kinney Vacuum Division, The New
York Air Brake Company, and Van Atta.)

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AIR AND GAS COMPRESSORS AND VACUUM SYSTEMS

9.32 PLANT AND FACILITIES ENGINEERING

ing pump can be used to assist the 130-ft3 / min (0.06-m3 / s) unit. This large-capacity
unit is operated until the transition pressure is reached and roughing down is fin-
ished. The pump is then shut off, and the balance of the pumping down is carried
on by the combination unit. This keeps the power consumption at a minimum.
Thus, if a 1200-ft3 / min (0.06-m3 / s) single-stage roughing pump were used to
reduce the pressure to 15 torr (2.3 kPa), its pump-down time would be t ⫽
12,000(4.0) / 1200 ⫽ 40 min. The total pump-down time for the combination would
then be 40 ⫹ 69 ⫽ 109 min, using the time computed above for the two pumps in
combination.

4. Apply the respective system factors


Studies and experience show that the calculated pump-down time for a vacuum
system must be corrected by an appropriate system factor. This factor makes allow-
ance for the normal outgassing of surfaces exposed to atmospheric air. It also pro-
vides a basis for judging whether a system is pumping down normally or whether
some problem exists that must be corrected. Table 10 lists typical system factors
that have proved reliable in many tests. To use the system factor for any pump,
apply it this way: ta ⫽ tS, where ta ⫽ actual pump-down time, min; t ⫽ computed
pump-down time from step 3, min; S ⫽ system factor for the type of pump being
considered.
Thus, by using the appropriate system factor for each pump, the actual pump-
down time for the single-stage mechanical pump is ta ⫽ 130(1.5) ⫽ 195 min. For
the compound mechanical pump, ta ⫽ 114(1.25) ⫽ 142.5 min. For the combination
mechanical booster pump, ta ⫽ 190(1.35) ⫽ 147 min.

5. Choose the pump to use


Based on the actual pump-down time, either the compound mechanical pump or
the combination mechanical booster pump can be used. In the final choice of the
pump, other factors should be taken into consideration—first cost, operating cost,
maintenance cost, reliability, and probable future pressure requirements in the sys-
tem. Where future lower pressure requirements are not expected, the compound
mechanical pump would be a good choice. However, if lower operating pressures
are anticipated in the future, the combination mechanical booster pump would prob-
ably be a better choice.

TABLE 10 Recommended System Factors*

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AIR AND GAS COMPRESSORS AND VACUUM SYSTEMS 9.33

Van Atta1 gives the following typical examples of pumps chosen for vacuum
systems:

VACUUM-SYSTEM PUMPING SPEED AND PIPE


SIZE

A laboratory vacuum system has a volume of 500 ft3 (14.2 m3). Leakage into the
system is expected at the rate of 0.00035 ft3 / min (0.00001 m3 / min). What backing
pump speed, i.e., displacement, should an oil-sealed vacuum pump serving this
system have if the pump blocking pressure is 0.150 mmHg and the desired oper-
ating pressure is 0.0002 mmHg? What should the speed of the diffusion pump be?
What pipe size is needed for the connecting pipe of the backing pump if it has a
displacement or pumping speed of 380 ft3 / min (10.8 m3 / min) at 0.150 mmHg and
a length of 15 ft (4.6 m)?

Calculation Procedure:
1. Compute the required backing pump speed
Use the relation db ⫽ G / Pb, where db ⫽ backing pump speed or pump displacement,
ft3 / min; G ⫽ gas leakage or flow rate, mm 䡠 min / ft3, multiply the ft3 / min by 760
mm, the standard atmospheric pressure, mmHg. Thus, db ⫽ 760(0.00035) / 0.150 ⫽
1.775 ft3 / min (0.05 m3 / min).

2. Select the actual backing pump speed


For practical purposes, since gas leakage and outgassing are impossible to calculate
accurately, a backing pump speed or displacement of at least twice the computed

1
C. M. Van Atta—Vacuum Science and Engineering, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1965.

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AIR AND GAS COMPRESSORS AND VACUUM SYSTEMS

9.34 PLANT AND FACILITIES ENGINEERING

value, or 2(1.775) ⫽ 3.550 ft3 / min (0.1 m3 / min), say 4 ft3 / min (0.11 m3 / min),
would probably be used.
If this backing pump is to be used for pumping down the system, compute the
pump-down time as shown in the previous calculation procedure. Should the pump-
down time be excessive, increase the pump displacement until a suitable pump-
down time is obtained.

3. Compute the diffusion pump speed


The diffusion pump reduces the system pressure from the blocking point, 0.150
mmHg, to the system operating pressure of 0.0002 mmHg. (Note: 1 torr ⫽ 1
mmHg.) Compute the diffusion pump speed from dd ⫽ G / Pd, where dd ⫽ diffusion
pump speed, ft3 / min; Pd ⫽ diffusion-pump operating pressure, mmHg. Or, dd ⫽
760(0.00035) / 0.0002 ⫽ 1330 ft3 / min (37.7 m3 / min). To allow for excessive leaks,
outgassing, and manifold pressure loss, a 3000- or 4000-ft3 / min (84.9- or 113.2-
m3 / min) diffusion pump would be chosen. To ensure reliability of service, two
diffusion pumps would be chosen so that one could operate while the other was
being overhauled.

4. Compute the size of the connecting pipe


In usual vacuum-pump practice, the pressure drop in pipes serving mechanical
pump is not allowed to exceed 20 percent of the inlet pressure prevailing under
steady operating conditions. A correctly designed vacuum system, where this pres-
sure loss is not exceeded, will have a pump-down time which closely approximates
that obtained under ideal conditions.
Compute the pressure drop in the high-pressure region of vacuum pumps from
pd ⫽ 1.9db L / d4, where pd ⫽ pipe pressure drop, ␮m; db ⫽ backing pump displace-
ment or speed, ft3 / min; L ⫽ pipe length, ft; d ⫽ inside diameter of pipe, in. Since
the pressure drop should not exceed 20 percent of the inlet or system operating
pressure, the drop for a backing pump is based on its blocking pressure, or 0.150
mmHg, or 150 ␮m. Hence, pd ⫽ 0.20(150) ⫽ 30 ␮m. Then 30 ⫽ 1.9(380)(15) / d4,
and d ⫽ 4.35 in (110.5 mm). Use a 5-in (127.0-mm) diameter pipe.
In the low-pressure region, the diameter of the converting pipe should equal, or
be larger than, the pump inlet connection. Whenever the size of a pump is increased,
the diameter of the pipe should also be increased to conform with the above guide.
Related Calculations. Use the general procedures given here for laboratory-
and production-type high-vacuum systems.

DETERMINING AIR LEAKAGE IN VACUUM


SYSTEMS BY CALCULATION

A 10,000-ft3 (283 m3) vacuum system is to be exhausted (drawn down) to an


operating pressure of 90 mmHg absolute. Determine what the maximum air leakage
into this vacuum system might be in both lb / h and kg / h.

Calculation Procedure:
1. Determine how the actual air leakage might be found
Methods to determine the amount of air leakage into a vacuum system can be
categorized as operational or empirical. In operational methods, an actual field test

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AIR AND GAS COMPRESSORS AND VACUUM SYSTEMS 9.35

is performed to estimate the volume of air entering the vacuum system. One of the
most accurate methods in this category is termed the ‘‘rate of rise’’ [1] method.
However, performing this test is not always feasible for an existing plant, because
it requires a departure from normal production and operations.
In cases where operational methods cannot be used, empirical calculations may
be convenient. Although not as rigorous, empirical methods yield reasonable values
for a first approach in engineering calculations. The Heat Exchange Institute (Cleve-
land OH) publishes a set of air leakage curves for empirical calculations, as a
function of the volume of the system and the operational pressure. Such curves
give maximum air leakage values for commercially tight systems.
To speed up calculation of air leakage and avoid graphical interpretation of these
curves, an equation has been developed. This equation reproduces air-leakage val-
ues given by the Heat Exchange Institute’s curves and it will be used here to
compute the actual air leakage.

2. Compute the air leakage in the system


The air leakage is given by MAL ⫽ AV BS for V. Coefficients A and B are given
below for different ranges of operating pressure, P, in the system. Should ordinary
shaft seals be used in the equipment, Myerson [2] recommends adding up to 5
lb / h (2.27 kg / h) to the calculated leakage as a correction for additional air inflow.
Coefficients for Air Leakage Calculation

MAL (lb / h) V (ft3) MAL (kg / h) V (m3)


P, mmHg (abs) A B A
90–760 0.1955 0.6630 0.9430
21–89 0.1451 0.6617 0.6966
3.1–20 0.1010 0.6579 0.4784
1–3 0.05119 0.6568 0.2415
Less than 1 0.02521 0.6639 0.1220

For this system, MAL ⫽ 0.1995 ⫻ 10,0000.6630 ⫽ 87.7 lb / h (39.86 kg / h). Using
the same data, the maximum air leakage read from the Heat Exchange Institute’s
curves is approximately 88 lb / h (40 kg / h).
Related Calculations. This approach can be used when designing a new vac-
uum system or evaluating an existing system. In such design or evaluation work, a
key factor to be determined is the load of noncondensable gas. In most cases the
noncondensable gas load can be taken as the mass flow of external air leaking into
the system. This gas eventually passes through and is exhausted. But while in the
system the gas displaces a certain volume, and alters the level of vacuum being
maintained.
It is always true that if no carrier gas is being introduced into the system, and
that no chemical reaction in the system is generating additional noncondensable
gas, then leakage is the sole source of these noncondensables [2].
The method given here is valid for a variety of vacuum systems used in industry,
including those for distillation columns, metallurgical applications: extraction, re-
fining, degassing, melting, brazing, diffusion bonding, deposition, metallic coatings,
etc. It is also applicable in other manufacturing and processing operations for phar-
maceuticals, foods, mineral oils, cosmetics, epoxy resins, natural flavor extracts,
etc. Likewise, the method can be used for wind tunnels and space simulation cham-
bers, and power-plant steam condensing systems of various types.

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9.36 PLANT AND FACILITIES ENGINEERING

While the pressures given here are expressed in mmHg, some designers and
engineers use the torr. One torr ⫽ 1 mmHg; hence the terms are used interchange-
ably.
This procedure is the work of Jose Vicente Gomez, formerly Process Engineer
for Maraven S.A., an affiliate of Petroleos de Venezuela, as reported in Chemical
Engineering magazine.

CHECKING THE VACUUM RATING OF A


STORAGE VESSEL

Check the vacuum rating of a cylindrical flat-ended process tank which is 12.75 ft
(3.9 m) tall and 4 ft (1.22 m) in diameter. It contains fresh water at 190⬚F (87.8⬚C)
and is located where g ⫽ 32.0 ft / s2 (9.8 m / s2) and the atmospheric pressure is 14.7
lb / in2 (101.3 kPa). What is its maximum vacuum when the tank is gravity-drained?
Find both the final tank vacuum and final height of liquid above the tank bottom
when the tank is initially 75 percent full, first with gravity drain and then using a
pumped drain, each discharging to the atmosphere. The pumped-down piping sys-
tem consists of double extra-strong 2-in (5.1-cm) pipe with an equivalent length of
75 ft (22.9 m) and a pump which can discharge 40 gal / min (151 L / min) with its
suction centerline 2 ft (0.61 m) below the tank bottom and has a net positive suction
head of 4.5 ft (1.4 m).

Calculation Procedure:
1. Find the density of the fresh water
From a suitable source such as Baumeister, Mark’s Standard Handbook for Me-
chanical Engineers, freshwater density p ⫽ 60.33 lb / ft3 (966.7 kg / m3) at the given
conditions.

2. Compute the maximum vacuum rating with gravity drain


A shortcut method gives the maximum vacuum rating by use of the equation for
Ps in Fig. 18 where H ⫽ overall vertical dimension of the tank; ␳ ⫽ density of the
fresh water; g ⫽ acceleration due to gravity at the tank’s location; and gs ⫽ 32.174
lb 䡠 ft / lb 䡠 s2, a conversion factor. Substituting appropriate values gives Ps ⫽
2.036(12.75)(60.33)(32.0 / [144 ⫻ 32.174]) ⫽ 10.82 in Hg (36.64 kPa).

3. Compute the head space volume when the tank is 75 percent full
Airspace volume Vo ⫽ (1.00 ⫺ 0.75)(H ⫻ 0.7854 D2) ⫽ 0.25(12.75 ⫻ 0.7854 ⫻
42) ⫽ 40.1 ft3 (1.14 m3).

4. Compute the final height of liquid above the tank bottom created by gravity
drain
By trial and error, the final height of liquid can be computed by solving the equation
for hfg shown in Fig. 18 where the ambient atmospheric pressure Po ⫽ 14.7 lb / in2
(101.3 kPa); tank radius R ⫽ 2 ft (0.61 m); initial fluid height above tank bottom
ho ⫽ 0.75H ⫽ 0.75(12.75) ⫽ 9.56 ft (2.91 m); ratio of molar specific heats, Cp /
Cr, is ␥ ⫽ 1.4 for diatomic gases. Assuming a reasonable initial value of hfg on the
right-hand side of the equation and substituting appropriate other values, too, gives
hfg ⫽ 144(14.7)(1 ⫺ {40.1 / [40.1 ⫹ ␲(22)(9.56 ⫺ hfg)]}1.4) / (60.33 ⫻ 32.0 / 32.174)

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AIR AND GAS COMPRESSORS AND VACUUM SYSTEMS 9.37

FIGURE 18 Vacuum rating of tanks.

⫽ 7.18 ft (2.19 m), where the left-hand side value is used to repeat the interaction
process until the hfg values on either side of the equal sign are in close agreement.

5. Compute the final tank vacuum under gravity drain


Use the equation for Pg shown in Fig. 18 to find the final tank vacuum. Thus, Pg
⫽ 29.92 ⫻ 7.18 ⫻ 60.33 ⫻ 32.0 / (144 ⫻ 14.7 ⫻ 32.174) ⫽ 6.09 in Hg (20.62
kPa).

6. Compute the water velocity in the pumped-drain system piping


Pump’s flow rate q ⫽ (40 gal / min) / )[7.48 gal / ft3][60 s / min]) ⫽ 0.0891 ft3 / s
(0.0025 m3 / s). The sectional area of the 2 in (5.1 cm) double extra-strong pipe is

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9.38 PLANT AND FACILITIES ENGINEERING

a ⫽ 0.7854d2 ⫽ 0.7854(1.503 / 12)2 ⫽ 0.0123 ft2 (0.00114 m2). Thus, water mean
velocity v ⫽ q / a ⫽ 0.0891 / 0.0123 ⫽ 7.24 ft / s (2.2 m / s).

7. Determine the fluid’s viscosity


From Baumeister, Mark’s Standard Handbook for Mechanical Engineers, fresh wa-
ter at 190⬚F (87.8⬚C) has a dynamic viscosity of ␮ ⫽ 6.75 ⫻ 10⫺6 lb 䡠 s / ft2 (323.2
⫻ 10⫺6 Pa 䡠 s).

8. Compute the Reynold’s number for the drain system piping


Using pertinent values found previously, Reynold’s number ⫽ Re ⫽ pvd / ␮ ⫽
(60.33 ⫻ 7.24)(1.1503 / 12) / (6.75 ⫻ 10⫺6) ⫽ 8,088,690.

9. Find the friction factor for the drain system piping


Baumeister, Mark’s Standard Handbook for Mechanical Engineers, indicates that
the relative roughness factor for the drain piping is ⑀ / d ⫽ 150 ⫻ 10⫺6 / 0.12 ⫽
0.0012, hence the Moody friction factor is f ⫽ 0.02 for the above value of NR.

10. Compute the friction loss of the pumped-drain piping system


Friction loss F1 ⫽ ( fL / d)(v2 / 2g) where F1 is in feet (m) of fresh water and L is
the equivalent length of the piping system in ft (m). Substituting, F1 ⫽ (0.02 ⫻
75 / 0.125)(7.242 / [2 ⫻ 32.174]) ⫽ 9.77 ft (1.98 m).

11. Compute the final height of liquid above the tank bottom created by the
pumped drain
In the equation for hfp shown in Fig. 18, the net positive suction head (NPSH) ⫽
4.5 ft (1.37 m); freshwater vapor pressure Vp ⫽ 22.29 ft (6.79 m) of water (Bau-
meister, Mark’s Standard Handbook for Mechanical Engineers); height between
tank bottom and centerline of pump suction hi ⫽ 2 ft (0.61 m). Substituting appro-
priate values gives hfp ⫽ 4 ⫹ 9.77 ⫹ 22.29 ⫺ 2 ⫺ 144(14.7){40.1 / [40.1 ⫹
␲(22)(9.56 ⫺ hfp)]}1.4 / (60.33 ⫻ 32.0 / 32.174) ⫽ 6.94 ft (2.12 m), by trial and
error, as was done for the gravity drain. From 4 to 10 trials should do it.

12. Compute the final tank vacuum for the pumped drain
Final tank vacuum is found by solving the equation for Pp shown in Fig. 32, thus
Pp ⫽ 2.036(14.7){1 ⫺ (40.1 / [40.1 ⫹ (␲ ⫻ 22)(9.56)])1.4} ⫽ 19.44 inHg (65.83
kPa).
Related Calculations. Specifying an appropriate vacuum rating could prevent
the collapse of a storage vessel as the contents are being drained while the vent is
inadvertently blocked. Vacuum ratings range from full vacuum to no vacuum. A
full vacuum rating is advisable for tanks such as those for steam-sterilized sanitary
service and those with pumped discharge. Tanks with vents that cannot be blocked
require no vacuum rating.
That the maximum gravity-drain vacuum rating occurs at 100 percent full ca-
pacity was borne out by the above calculations for Ps and Pg. However, the pumped-
drain vacuum rating Pp, under more favorable conditions, still turned out to be 3.19
times greater than Ps, the maximum for gravity drain. This varies with pump ca-
pacity and the drain system piping size. These calculations assume ideal gas be-
havior in the head space above the fluid surface and the process is considered
isothermal for drain times longer than 5 min. If the initial fluid height is set too
low, it is possible for the tank to be emptied by pump drain before maximum
vacuum occurs. The calculations presume a centrifugal pump will not deliver if the
NPSH requirements are not met and then backflow into the tank starts. Use the

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AIR AND GAS COMPRESSORS AND VACUUM SYSTEMS

AIR AND GAS COMPRESSORS AND VACUUM SYSTEMS 9.39

equation for Pp to find the final tank vacuum if it is expected that the tank will be
emptied before backflow occurs.
The procedure presented here allows the designer to choose a vacuum rating
appropriate to the tank. However, it is suggested that the designer perform appli-
cable code calculations before making a final decision of the vacuum rating for a
tank. This presentation is based upon an article by Barry Wintner of Life Sciences
International, and which appeared in Chemical Engineering magazine.

SIZING RUPTURE DISKS FOR GASES AND


LIQUIDS

What diameter rupture disk is required to relieve 50,000 lb / h (6.3 kg / s) of hydrogen


to the atmosphere from a pressure of 80 lb / in2 (gage) (551.5 kPa)? Determine the
diameter of a rupture disk required to relieve 100 gal / min (6.3 L / s) of a liquid
having a specific gravity of 0.9 from 200 lb / in2 (gage) (1378.8 kPa) to atmosphere.

Calculation Procedure:
1. Determine the rupture disk diameter for the gas
For a gas, use the relation d ⫽ (W / 146P)0.5 (1 / Mw)0.25, where d ⫽ minimum
rupture-disk diameter, in; W ⫽ relieving capacity, lb / h; P ⫽ relieving pressure,
lb / in2 (abs); Mw ⫽ molecular weight of gas being relieved. By substituting,
d ⫽ [50,000 / 146(94.7)]0.5 (1 / 2)0.25 ⫽ 1.60 in (4.1 cm).
2. Find the rupture-disk diameter for the liquid
Use the relation d ⫽ 0.236(Q)0.5 (Sp)0.25 / P0.25, where the symbols are the same as
in step 1 except that Q ⫽ relieving capacity, gal / min; Sp ⫽ liquid specific gravity.
So d ⫽ 0.236(100)0.5(0.0)0.25 / (214.7)0.25 ⫽ 0.60 in (1.52 cm).
Related Calculations. Rupture disks are used in a variety of applications—
process, chemical, power, petrochemical, and marine plants. These disks protect
pressure vessels from pressure surges and are used to separate safety and relief
valves from process fluids of various types.
Pressure-vessel codes give precise rules for installing rupture disks. Most man-
ufacturers will guarantee rupture disks they size according to the capacities and
operating conditions set forth in a purchase requisition or specification.
Designers, however, often must know the needed size of a rupture disk long
before bids are received from a manufacturer so the designer can specify vessel
nozzles, plan piping, etc.
The equations given in this procedure are based on standard disk sizing com-
putations. They provide a quick way of making a preliminary estimate of rupture-
disk diameter for any gas or liquid whose properties are known. The procedure is
the work of V. Ganapathy, Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd., as reported in Chemical
Engineering magazine.

DETERMINING AIRFLOW IN PIPES, VALVES, AND


FITTINGS

Show suitable equations for computing airflow in compressed-air and vacuum sys-
tems, using data published by manufacturers.

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9.40 PLANT AND FACILITIES ENGINEERING

Calculation Procedure:
1. List the equations
Manufacturers use, and publish, a variety of airflow equations for computing flow,
pressure drop, and other factors in system design. Given in this procedure, Table
13, are several such equations and their defining data and conversion factors. Any
of these equations, used consistently in engineering design, will give satisfactory
results.

2. Give data for piping system components


Table 11 presents information for four different piping components.

3. Show the conversion equations


Table 12 shows the conversion equations for airflow variables.

4. Give the airflow equations


Table 13 shows the airflow design equations that are highly useful in system en-
gineering calculations.
Related Calculations. Use these equations in compressed-air and vacuum-
system design.

Nomenclature
Q ⫽ airflow in standard units, scfm (14.7 psi, 68⬚F)
q ⫽ airflow at actual conditions, cfm. Q ⫽ q(P / 14.7)(528 / T)
V ⫽ velocity, ft / s (average through valve)
P ⫽ pressure in absolute units, psia (subscript D ⫽ downstream, U ⫽ upstream)
p ⫽ gauge pressure, psi
⌬P ⫽ pressure drop, psi
r ⫽ pressure ratio PD / PU
␳ ⫽ density, lb / ft3
G ⫽ specific gravity, ␳gas / ␳air
T ⫽ absolute temperature, ⬚R ⫽ ⬚F ⫹ 460
A ⫽ inlet pipe area, in2

TABLE 11 Component Flow Coefficients

Component Flow coefficient Defining equation

冪⌬P ⫻ P
Hand valve CV ⫽ 1.26 Q ⫻ 60 GTU
CV ⫽
1360 U

冪33P
Do ⫽ 0.25 Q 1
Pressure reducer Do ⫽ ⫻
U 兹r(r 0.43 ⫺ r 0.71)

冪r(1 ⫺ r)(3 ⫺ r)
F ⫽ unknown Q 1
Control valve F⫽
PU 兹8 / 5
Air motor Q ⫽ 250 scfm; P ⫽ 600 psia (given)

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TABLE 12 Conversion Equations for Airflow Variables

K
Do CV F r ⫽ 1.0 r ⫽ 0.75 r ⫽ 0.5
兹A 兹A 兹A
Do ⫽ 0.236 兹CV ⫽ 0.316 兹F ⫽ 1.456 ⫽ 1.521 ⫽ 1.641
K1/4 K1/4 K1/4

A A A
CV ⫽ 18.0D2o ⫽ 1.8F ⫽ 38.2 ⫽ 41.5 ⫽ 48.3
兹K 兹K 兹K

A A A
F ⫽ 10D2o ⫽ 0.556CV ⫽ 21.2 ⫽ 23.1 ⫽ 26.9
兹K 兹K 兹K

9.41
A2 A2 A2
r ⫽ 1.0 ⫽ 4.5 ⫽ 1460 ⫽ 450
D4o C 2V F2

A2 A2 A2
K, r ⫽ 0.75 ⫽ 5.36 ⫽ 1725 ⫽ 534
D4o C 2V F2

A2 A2 A2
r ⫽ 0.5 ⫽ 7.29 ⫽ 2330 ⫽ 724
D4o C 2V F2
Note: The K factor varies with r and A and you must know which values the manufacturer used to derive its
AIR AND GAS COMPRESSORS AND VACUUM SYSTEMS

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published K. For example, if K was derived at r ⫽ 0.75 and valve inlet pipe area A ⫽ 0.2, then F ⫽ 23.1 ⫻ 0.2 / 兹K

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⫽ 4.62 / 兹K.

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TABLE 13 Typical Airflow Equations

Formula for flow (subcritical)


(Q ⫽ scfm, standard ft3 / min) Flow coefficient defined

Q ⫽ 33D2oPt 兹r(r 0.43 ⫺ r 0.71)


Do ⫽ Equivalent sharp-edged orifice (coeff. Q 1
of discharge CD ⫽ 0.6) ⫽ ⫻
U 兹r(r 0.43 ⫺ r 0.71)
冪33 P
963 ⌬P(PU ⫹ PD) CV ⫽ valve coefficient W ⫻ 60 GTU
Q⫽ C ⫽
60 V 冪 GTU 963 冪⌬P(P U ⫹ PD)

1360 ⌬P ⫻ PU CV ⫽ flow coefficient Q ⫻ 60 GTU


Q⫽ C ⫽
60 V 冪 GTU 1360 冪⌬P ⫻ P U

1390 ⌬P ⫻ PD CV ⫽ capacity factor Q ⫻ 60 GTU


Q⫽ C ⫽
60 V 冪 GTU 1390 冪⌬P ⫻ P D

5180 P 2U ⫺ P 2D CV ⫽ valve flow coefficient Q ⫻ 60 MTU


Q⫽ C ⫽ 2

9.42
60 V 冪 MTU 5180 冪P U⫺ P 2D

963 P 2V ⫺ P 2D CV ⫽ flow coefficient Q ⫻ 60 GTU


Q⫽ C ⫽ 2
60 V 冪 GTU 963 冪P U⫺ P 2D
0.6
2.320.443 ⌬P 0.443 ⫻ P U Q ⫻ 60 兹GTU / 520
Q⫽ Ca Co ⫽ gas flow coefficient ⫽ ⫻
60 兹GTU / 520 (2.32)0.443 ⌬P 0.443 ⫻ P U0.6

4 2 F ⫽ NBS flow factor (#1) Q 1


Q ⫽ FPU ⫽ 2
冪3 兹1 ⫺ r PU 兹4 / 3 冪1 ⫺ r
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8 Q 1

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Q ⫽ FPU F ⫽ NBS flow factor (#2—better) ⫽
冪5 兹r(1 ⫺ r)(3 ⫺ r) PU 兹8 / 5 冪r(1 ⫺ r)(3 ⫺ r)
1⫺r 2g
K ⫽ K factor ⫽ ⌬P
Q ⫽ 38.1 PU A ␳V 2
冪 K

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Taken from catalogs.
AIR AND GAS COMPRESSORS AND VACUUM SYSTEMS

AIR AND GAS COMPRESSORS AND VACUUM SYSTEMS 9.43

De ⫽ diameter of equivalent sharp-edge orifice, in (coefficient of discharge CD ⫽


0.6)
M ⫽ molecular weight, lb (M ⫽ 29 lb for air)

REFERENCES

1. Standards for Jet Vacuum Systems, 4th Ed., Heat Exchange Institute, Cleveland OH 1988).
2. Myerson, E.B., ‘‘Calculate Saturated-gas Loads for Vacuum Systems,’’ Chemical Engi-
neering Progress, March 1991.

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