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1 Elementary Fan Technology

Prof. Dr.-Ing. 4.5 Important custom and

Table of contents
Reinhard Grundmann, special designs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.23
Aachen 4.5.1 Centrifugal plug-in fans . . . . . . . . . . . 2.23
I. Introduction
4.5.2 Roof-mounting centrifugal fans . . . . . 2.24
1.1 What is a fan? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.2
4.6 Operation under dust 2
Friedrich Schönholtz †, and wear loads . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.26
1.2 Designs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.3
4.6.1 Conveying dust and fibrous media . . 2.26
Bad Hersfeld 4.6.2 Fan wear . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.27
II. Basic fluid dynamics

Revised by Dipl.-Ing. (FH) 2.1 Fluid flow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.4 V. Fans as system components
Herbert Eidam, Bad Hersfeld 2.2 Altitude formula . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.4
2.3 State variables for ideal fluid flow/
and Dipl.-Ing. 5.1 Characteristic system/fan curves,
Bernoulli’s law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.4
Bernd Rahn, Berlin 2.4 Continuity equation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.5
proportionality law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.28
5.2 Dimensionless variables . . . . . . . . . . 2.31
2.5 Pressure loss . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.5
5.3 Selection criteria . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.32
2.5.1 Pressure loss due to surface
5.4 Parallel operation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.34
friction drag . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.5
Elementary Fan 2.5.2 Pressure loss due to form drag . . . . . . 2.7
5.5 In-line/series operation . . . . . . . . . . . 2.34
5.6 Pressure measurement on fans . . . . 2.35
Impact loss . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.8 VI. Speed control
The present „Fan Primer“ is aimed Diffusion loss. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.8
2.6 Characteristic curve of a system . . . . . 2.8
at contractors and operators. 6.1 Throttle control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.38
2.7 Bernoulli’s law for real fluid flow . . . . . 2.9
6.2 Blade pitch control. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.39
2.8 Velocity distribution in the pipe or duct . 2.9
6.3 Blade pitch adjustment . . . . . . . . . . . 2.39
2.9 Pressure measurements . . . . . . . . . . 2.10
Process equipment today would 6.4 Inlet vane control. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.39
be inconceivable without fans and
III. Axial-flow fans
pumps. Fans are indispensable for VII. Drive unit dimensioning
conveying gas mass flows, and 3.1 Structure and operation. . . . . . . . . . . 2.11
they perform essential functions in 3.2 Velocity triangels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.11 7.1 Motors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.40
diverse process environments. A 3.3 Axial-flow fan designs . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.13 7.2 V-belt drive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.40
basic understanding of fan techno- 3.3.1 Axial-flow fans for air-handling 7.3 Couplings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.40
logy is therefore vital for contrac- applications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.13
tor and operator. It is the intention VIII. Explosion protection on fans
Guide vanes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.13
of this „Fan Primer“ to impart the
requisite fundamentals of fluid dy- Impeller blade configuration . . . . . . . 2.13 8.1 Standards situations . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.41
namics and technology as well as 3.3.2 Axial-flow fans for industrial uses/ 8.2 Product standard for fans . . . . . . . . . 2.42
of key fan functions, designs and axial blowers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.14 8.3 Marking example. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.42
performance characteristics in a 8.4 Design notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.43
Axial-flow fan with adjustable impeller 8.5 Explosion protection of fans,
practical application context. The
blades and fixed outlet guide vanes . 2.14 illustrated for a direct-driven
boundary conditions and perfor- centrifugal fan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.43
mance limits of the individual fan Axial-flow fan with adjustable inlet guide
types are also examined. vanes and fixed impeller blades . . . . 2.15 IX. Installation and dimensioning notes
Speed-controlled axial-flow fans . . . . 2.16
To the fan manufacturer or desi- 3.3.3 Airflow direction inside the fan . . . . . 2.17
9.1 Free inlet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.44
gner this publication will be of limi- 9.2 Free outlet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.44
3.3.4 Hub ratio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.17
9.3 In-duct fans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.46
ted use. It cannot, and is not inten- 3.3.5 Drive type . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.17
9.4 Parallel and in-series operation. . . . . 2.47
ded to, resolve any of the issues
addressed in this highly speciali- IV. Centrifugal fans
zed industry. Users from these
4.1 Structure and operation. . . . . . . . . . . 2.19
fields are therefore referred to the
4.2 Velocity triangels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.19
relevant academic and trade litera- 4.2.1 Backward curved blades . . . . . . . . . . 2.19
ture. 4.2.2 Backward inclined straight blades. . . 2.19
4.2.3 Radially ending blades . . . . . . . . . . . 2.19
4.2.4 Forward curved blades . . . . . . . . . . . 2.19
Over and beyond the issues tou- 4.3 Centrifugal fan configuration . . . . . . . 2.20
ched upon in this Fan Primer, TLT 4.3.1 Type designations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.20
Turbo-GmbH’s engineers will be 4.3.2 Inlet types . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.21
glad to provide assistance with 4.4 Types and drive arrangements . . . . . 2.22
any problems this book cannot 4.4.1 Casing orientation and direction
of rotation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.22
Elementary Fan Technology 2

I. Introduction of this medium, the fan must overco-

me this resistance by generating a
1.1 What is a fan? pressure head (total pressure diffe-
rence). It is usually the core machine
2 A fan is a turbomachine converting in the system it serves.
energy into the fluid flow of a gaseous
medium. The purpose of a fan is to
convey a volume of a gaseous medi-
um (usually air) through a system
(unit). As the system resists the flow

The following key variables play a role in fan specifications:

Symbol Formula Dim. Name

V cm*A m3/s Volume flow

cm V/A m/s Mean velocity

ring surface area in the

A /4 (Da2 - Di2) case of axial-flow fans! m3 Cross-sectional area

Da m Outside diameter

Di m Inside diameter

v Di/Da – Hub ratio

pt1 Pa Inlet pressure

pt pt2 – pt1 o. H ·  Pa Total pressure difference

kg/m3 Density

 cp/cv – Exponent *.)


· ( p p+p ) 

–1 – Compression factor *.)

H m Gas column head

V · pt · f
Pfluid p
W Fluid power

P Pfluid/ W Shaft power

 Pfluid/P – Efficiency

n rpm Rotational speed

u  · D · n/60 m/s Blade tip speed

 cm/ua – Capacity coefficient

2 · pt · f*
 – Pressure coefficient
Ua2 · 

1,2,a,i,m Indices

*) Neglected in ventilation and air-condition technics (pt < 2500 Pa)

3 Elementary Fan Technology

1.2 Designs
The first and foremost objective of
every fan manufacturer in dimensio-
ning his product for a given applicati- 2
on is to maximize its efficiency in or-
der to reduce energy costs. Basically,
there exist four fundamentally diffe-
rent fan designs named according to
the direction of the flow line through
the impeller.

a) Axial-flow fan c) Semi-axial flow fan (Bifurcated fan)

A straight flow line extends axially through the impeller. A hybrid between axial and centrifugal designs, this fan is characteri-
zed by a curved flow line through the impeller.

b) Centrifugal fan d) Centrifugal fans without spiral casing (centrifugal plug-in fan)
A straight flow line extends radially through the impeller (vertical to Its flow line extends in virtually the same direction as in a centrifugal
the fan axis. unit with spiral casing.
Elementary Fan Technology 4

II. Basic fluid dynamics The stated reference values where:

TO = 273 K (= 0°C) and 0 = 1,29 
2.1 Fluid flow kg/m3 give us an equation for calcu- = density in kg/m3
lating the air density at x°C :
2 The fluid conveyed by a fan is in its c = mean flow velocity in m/s
gaseous state. In ventilation and air-
273 ps = static pressure in Pa
conditioning systems, air is the con- x = 1,29 kg/m3
273 + x
veyed medium. Its characteristics are g = acceleration due to gravity
described by several state variables = 9,81 m/s2
and material properties. The most im- For example: What is the density of
portant state variables are given be- h = elevation in m
air at 20°C?
low. In the case of an airflow, the elevation
20 = 1,29 kg/m3 = 1,2 kg/m3 
Temperature T 273 + 20 term of the ·◊g◊· h equation (i.e. the
measured in K (degrees Kelvin) weight of the air column) can be
Pressure p measured in Pa neglected due to its marginal value.
This gives us the following expressi-
The most important material pro- Note: on:
perties are the following: 
Gas constant R The above values apply to dry air. c2 + ps = constant
The density of moist air is slightly lo- 2
measured in Nm/kg K
Viscosity v measured in m2/s wer. However, this influence is gene- 

measured in kg/m3 rally negligible. c2 is
referred to as the velocity head
or dynamic pressure pd, while the
The relationship between state varia- 2.2 Altitude formula
sum of the dynamic and static pres-
bles and material properties is sure is called total pressure pt.
expressed by the gas equation: If a fan is to be installed not at sea le-
vel but in the mountains at an altitude 
H, the density of air at that altitude pt = c2 + ps = pd + ps
 p 2
= ======= has to be determined. By internatio-
nal agreement, the pressure Pa at al-
The gas constant of air is titude H is calculated as
R = 287 Nm/kg · K
The absolute temperature T starts at pa = pao ·  287 – 0,0065
· H 5,255

-273°C = 0 K
Accordingly,+20°C is equal to 293 K where pao is the pressure at sea level
From the above, the density of air at and H is the altitude (in meters) abo-
0°C and p = 101325 Pa (= 760 torr) ve sea level.
can be calculated as
Density may then be determined for
the stated temperature according to
the gas equation.
= 101325 kg/m3 = 1,29 kg/m3
Pressure dependence of the air’s 2.3 State variables for ideal fluid
density is low enough to be neglec- flow / Bernoulli’s law
ted, at least at the pressure differenti-
Flow of a fluid is described in terms of
als encountered in a ventilation and
velocity, static pressure and elevati-
air-conditioning context. In other
on. These are the „state variables“
words, the air is deemed to be a „non-
which are interrelated according to
compressible“ medium.
Bernoulli’s law.
Temperature dependence of the air’s
density, on the other hand, needs to Under this law, the sum of velocity,
be taken into account. According to pressure and elevation energies are
the gas equation, the following holds equal at any point of the flow (assu-
true for different temperatures at the ming stationary flow*)), i.e.
same density:
 T0   T0 
1 c2 + ps +
 · g · h = constant *) A flow is deemed to be stationary if the state
= or 1 = 0
T1 T1 2 variables do not vary with time at a given point.
5 Elementary Fan Technology

Bernoulli’s law, in this form, states 2.5 Pressure loss

that total pressure is the same at any
point of the flow. This may be illustra- Unlike their ideal counterpart, real
ted by a simple example, viz. the flow fluid flows are subject to pressure los-
of a medium through a duct of varying ses. In a real-life system, these los- 2
cross-section. ses must be added to the load which
the fan is required to overcome. A di-
stinction is made between two types
of resistance, or drag:
a) surface friction drag
b) form drag (also referred to as
pressure drag)
2.5.1 Pressure loss due to surface
friction drag
As its name implies, this is a pressu-
re loss due to friction encountered by
the airflow. It is calculated as follows:
For circular tubes:

pv = · d · pd

p refers to a pressure difference - in

this case, it stands for the pressure
difference between two points of the
duct set apart by a distance l.

2.4 Continuity equation For ducts of any cross-section:

The second basic equation of interest l

in this context is the continuity equati- pv = · d · pd
on. It states that in a system with a
single inlet and a single outlet (i.e. an
with dh = 4 A
unbranched duct), volumetric flow ra- U
te will be identical at all points.
V̇ = c · A = constant = friction coefficient (dimensionless)
l = duct length in m
d = duct diameter
V̇ = volume flow in m3/s
dh = hydraulic diameter in m
c = flow velocity in m/s
A = cross-sectional area in m2
A = cross-sectional area
U = wetted circumference in m
Examples: a) Rectangular duct ha-
ving the sides a and b.
4ab 2ab
dh = =
2(a + b) a+b

pv = 2ab pd

V̇ = A1 · c1 = A2 · c2 und c2 = c1
Elementary Fan Technology 6

b) Circular duct having the diameters Pressure loss due to friction resistance (surface friction drag) in a straight and
d1 and d2: hydraulically smooth duct:


4 4 (d22 – d12)
dh = = d 2 – d1
 (d1 + d2)

Pressure loss  pvo [Pa] or Ro [Pa] over 1 m of duct

pv = d – d pd
2 1

Values of are taken from diagrams,

e.g. Moody diagrams. They depend
on the roughness of duct walls and on
the Reynolds number example
Re = of the flow.*

Special diagrams exist in which the

above relationships are already ana-
lyzed and expressed for a 1-meter-
long section of ducting. It is assumed
that the duct is circular. For rectangu-
lar ducts, the same diagrams are
used but the duct diameter d is repla-
ced with the relevant hydraulic dia- .
meter: Volume flow V [m3/h]

The above diagram of pressure los- For a duct with rough surfaces, it may
ses per 1 m of ducting applies to hy- thus be written:
draulically smooth ducts. For ducts
with a less smooth finish, the pvo va- pv = Ck · pvo [Pa] per 1m of duct
lue obtained from the diagram must
be adjusted by determining the duct
surface roughness k from the table of
duct types, then obtaining the correc-
Roughness k /m [mm ] tion factor Ck from the diagram below.
Duct type k

Plastic tubing 0,005

Asbestos cement tube 0,1
Steel pipe 0,1
Sheet metal duct 0,15
Flexible hose 0,7
Correction factor Ck

Wooden ducting 2,5

Concrete ducting 0,8
Masonry ducts 4,0

is the kinematic viscosity of the fluid. For air
at 20°C,
= 15 · 10-6 s Pressure loss Pvo [Pa/m]
7 Elementary Fan Technology

2.5.2 Pressure loss due to form Such pressure losses are calculated The appropriate values of must
drag by the equation usually be determined experimentally
Pressure losses resulting from form  and will be provided by the compo-
drag may be attributable to various pv = · 2 c2 = · pd nent manufacturer. 2
causes, e.g. duct elbows or tees, An overview of key values is given
changes in cross-section, valves, or wherein is referred to as the resi- below.
components such as air heaters, coo- stance (or drag) coefficient.
lers, filters, etc.

Source: Taschenbuch für Heizung und Klimatechnik [HVAC Technology Manual], Recknagel-Sprenger, 58th ed.
Elementary Fan Technology 8 Impact loss Diffusion loss 2.6 Characteristic curve of a

An important type of form drag which When the change in cross-section oc-
can be calculated with sufficient ac- curs gradually instead of abruptly, a The sum of all pressure losses occur-
2 curacy is the sudden deceleration of diffuser is said to exist in the duct. ring on a fan’s inlet and outlet side gi-
the flow which occurs where the duct The function of a diffuser is to decele- ves the total pressure difference pt
expands abruptly. rate the fluid flow, thus converting dy- for a given volume flow V. Total pres-
namic into static pressure („pressure sure difference is an important fan di-
recovery“). The efficiency of this con- mensioning and selection parameter.
version depends closely on the ope- The value pair pt and V also marks
ning angle . When it exceeds 10 a point on the system’s characteristic
deg., flow ceases to adhere to the curve, which is sometimes referred to
duct wall. Flow separation or ‘stalling’ as its parabolic drag curve. Since with
is said to occur. This effect causes turbulent flow*) the losses are propor-
very substantial losses. tional to the square of the velocity or
volume flow, a parabolic square curve
is obtained when pt is plotted over V.
When this parabolic curve is drawn
Pressure loss resulting from the dec- on log-log paper, it becomes a
line in flow velocity from c1 to c2 is re- straight line having the gradient 2. By
ferred to as impact loss. It may be de- now taking the logarithm of pt = kV2,
termined via the following equation: we get log pt = 2 log V + log k whe-
re k is a system-specific constant.
pv = · 2 (c2 –c2)2= · 2 c12 (1– A2 )2

The values for this impact loss are

shown in Diagram 1 below. The resi-
stance coefficient for a one-sided
duct expansion is given in Diagram 2.
Design point x

The following diagram shows values

for diffusers with various opening
angles .

Linear representation of a system’s characteri-

stic curve

Diagram 1 Design point x

Logarithmic representation of a system’s cha-

racteristic curve

*In some elements, such as filters, flow may be

non-turbulent (low-turbulence displacement
flow). Such elements must be considered se-
parately in the calculations.
Diagram 2
9 Elementary Fan Technology

The linear graph has the advantage 2.7 Bernoulli’s law for real fluid
of appearing more familiar and there- flow
fore easier to read. Intermediate va-
lues can be quickly interpolated. On By inserting the loss terms for surface
the other hand, changes in the sy- friction and form drag, Bernoulli’s law 2
stem’s characteristics are easier to can be extended to apply to real fluid
construe in the diagram on log-log pa- flow. The following will then hold true
per, since all characteristic curves for two points (1) and (2) of a flow if
form parallel straight lines having a the elevation term is neglected:
gradient of 2.

  n m li
2 c12 + p1 = 2 c22 + p2 + · pdi + i
i=1 i =1
· di · pdi


i · pdi
i=1 = sum of all (n) form drag influences between the points (1)
and (2),
The parabolic curve for a given sy- and
stem need not necessarily pass
through the zero point of the p -V m li
diagram, but may also show the pat-
· d · pdi
i = total of all (m) surface friction influences between the points
tern illustrated in the following graph. (1) and (2)
This will be the case, e.g. if a fan is
delivering its output into an overpres-
sure chamber or pressure vessel. Its
pressure difference against the at-
mosphere is p1. The system’s cha- 2.8 Velocity distribution in the pipe Downstream of the deflection point
racteristic curve will then intersect the or duct the medium becomes detached from
vertical pt axis at the point p1. the walls, which results in a highly ir-
Due to surface friction and flow adhe- regular velocity profile along the insi-
sion to the duct walls, the velocity dis- de of the duct. Moreover, static pres-
tribution across the duct diameter is sure is higher on the outside than to-
not constant. Instead, a so-called ve- ward the center, where negative pres-
locity profile can be observed. Only sures may actually occur. This effect
downstream of an inlet nozzle flow is can be greatly diminished by instal-
almost homogeneously distributed. ling baffles, which will also reduce the
Once it has passed a certain down- resistance (or drag) coefficient (refer
stream length of ducting, the profile to section 2.5.2).
has formed.

Velocity profile re-


turns to a balanced
state after approx.

Formation of this velocity profile must

be duly taken into account, particular- dh = hydraulic diameter
ly in measurements aimed to determi-
ne, e.g. volumetric flow rates.
Distorted velocity profiles and irregu-
lar pressure distributions across the
duct diameter will occur downstream
of in-duct baffles, obstacles or deflec-
tion points. Duct elbows or curves are
good examples of this phenomenon.
Elementary Fan Technology 10

2.9 Pressure measurements  Static pressure ps is measured by

The following sketches illustrate fun- means of a pressure gauge via a
damental options for measuring pres- carefully deburred orifice in the
2 sures ps, pd and pt. duct wall. Best results are obtained
by providing several such orifices
ps static pressure, i.e. pressure acting along the circumference inter-
on a wall parallel to the direction of connected via a ring line.
 Total pressure pt can be measured
pd dynamic pressure, or velocity head with a 90° angle probe held fron-
tally into the oncoming flow. Such
pt total pressure, i.e. sum of static and
probes are referred to as Pitot tu-
dynamic pressures
 Dynamic pressure is determined
as difference between pt and ps.
From pt = ps + pd, it follows that pd
= pt - ps
A device commonly used for dyna-
mic pressure measurements is the
Prandtl tube, which combines a Pi-
tot tube with the functions of a sta-
tic pressure probe.
Measurement on outlet side
To perform measurements within a
system, it is best to select a point
where a uniform velocity profile pre-
vails. Measuring locations immedia-
tely downstream of elbows (refer to
section 2.8), t-fittings or diameter ex-
pansions should be avoided since
static pressure will not be constant
across the duct diameter here and
measurements will necessarily be fla-
Today, standard pressure gauges will
normally show pressures in Pa. Older
ambient pressure    devices may still give readings in mm-
WC (millimeters water column). 1
mmWC = 1 kp/m2.
Conversion into the applicable sy-
stem (SI units) is made according to
Measurement on inlet side the following formula:
1 mm WS = 1 kp/m2 = 9,81 Pa  10 Pa

11 Elementary Fan Technology

III. Axial-flow fans Diffuser

(recommended option)
Impeller Casing
3.1 Structure and operation
An axial-flow fan consists of bell- 2
mouth built into the casing, impeller,
drive motor, and assembly of outlet
guide vanes (or, in the case of axial- Motor
flow fans without outlet guide vanes,
motor mounting bracket).
Large axial-flow fans are equipped
with a diffuser on the outlet side to
achieve a low-loss conversion of the
high dynamic head into static pressu-
re. Diffuser designs may vary, depen-
ding on whether or not the fan has an
outlet guide system.
The purpose of the bellmouth is to Motor bracket
produce a uniform velocity distributi- Bellmouth Outlet guide vanes
on in front of the impeller so that the
impeller vanes will be exposed to the
flow over their full surface area (refer
to section 2.8). The conversion of
energy takes place in the impeller bla- Motor bracket
de channels. Both static and dynamic
pressure is produced here. Down-
stream of the impeller the flow is in-
tensely turbulent and swirling, i.e. the
airflow exiting the impeller has a tan-
gential velocity component.
To convert this useless component of
dynamic pressure energy into its sta-
tic equivalent, guide vane systems
are employed. These vanes are ar-
ranged as a stationary ring in the
shaft, either downstream or upstream
of the impeller. Depending on their
position, they are referred to as inlet
or outlet guide vanes. They deflect
the flow so that it will exit in an axial
Impeller without outlet guide vanes
direction from the fan.

3.2 Velocity triangles c Absolute velocity c1R is the swirl-free absolute entry ve-
w Relative velocity locity into the impeller ( note the
Flow conditions inside the fan can be u Impeller blade tip speed (circum- ring cross-section).
graphically represented by means of ferential velocity)
velocity triangles. In these triangles,
the following symbols and indexes The absolute flow velocity c always is

are used: the vectorial sum of tip speed u and W1 Impeller

Index 0 Entry into inlet guide vanes relative flow velocity w:

Index 1R Entry into impeller or exit Blade
from inlet guide vanes profile
Index 2 Exit from impeller or entry
into outlet guide vanes    Impeller direction of rotation
Index 3 Exit from outlet guide vanes c=u+w
Elementary Fan Technology 12

a) Axial-flow fan without guide vanes u is the peripheral impeller velocity

(blade tip speed), which is related to
Motor bracket
the fan’s rotational speed (rpm) ac-

u2 = u
cording to the following function:

Impeller direction of

u= d ·= d · ·n
2 60

 = angular velocity tip speed of the
impeller in s–1

u1 = u
u = peripheral velocity in m/s


mouth Impeller Casing
c1R d = diameter of blade cross-
section in m
b) Axial-flow fan with outlet guide vanes n = impeller rotational speed in rpm

Outlet u2 = u
w1 = relative velocity of approach flow
on the blade. This variable is ob-
Impeller direction

guide c2u

vanes tained by vectorial addition of inlet

velocity c1 and peripheral velocity
of rotation

u, wherein the length of the vec-

tors is equivalent to the amount of
Inlet guide va- c3 = c1R
nes (stationary) the velocity.
bracket Change from w1 to w2 is a result of the
u1 = u

curvature and shape of the blade


mouth channels.
Impeller Casing c1R
c2 is the absolute velocity at the exit of
the blade cascade and hence, at the
c) Axial-flow fan with inlet guide vanes point of entry into the outlet guide va-
u2 = u

Inlet guide vanes Motor bracket

Impeller direc-
tion of rotation

Section AB
u1 = u


Inlet guide vanes
mouth (stationary)
Impeller Casing co

d) Counter-rotating axial flow fans

To boost pressure output, axial-flow fans can sometimes be used in pairs of
counter-rotating units. Such a configuration requires two complete fans,
each having its own motor, which are installed with their (counter-rotating)
impellers immediately facing each other.
A counter-rotating fan system does not differ significantly in aerodynamic
terms from a two-stage co-rotating fan configuration, although acoustic
emission levels are much higher in the case of the former.
13 Elementary Fan Technology

3.3 Axial-flow fan designs

Axial-flow fans can be classified ac- WITH DIRECT DRIVE AND OUTLET GUIDE VANES
cording to diverse application and TYPE AXN 12/56/800D*
operating criteria.
Am Weinberg 68 · D-36251 Bad Hersfeld/Germany
Tel.: +49.6621.950-0 · Fax: +49.6621.950-100
Volume flow or [m3/h] [m3/s] Blade tip velocity u2 = 60 m/s Moment of inertia l = 0.69 kg m2
Dyn. pressure [Pa] or x0.1 [kp/m2] Temperature t = 20°C Int.casing diameter 797 mm
Flow velocity [m/s] Density = 1,2kg/m3 Outlet cross-section A2 = 0.5 m2

3.3.1 Axial-flow fans for air-hand-

ling applications Guide vanes
 Axial-flow fan without guide vanes
 Axial-flow fan with inlet guide va- →
Total pressure increase  pt [Pa]

 Axial-flow fan with outlet guide va-

nes Blade angle Impeller blade
Axial-flow fans with fixed, non-adju-
stable impeller blades have only one
constant characteristic curve for each
rotational speed.
Shaft power input
Axial-flow fans with pitch-adjustable requirement
impeller blades have multiple charac- V · pt
Pw = =[kW]
teristic curves plotted as a function of  · 1000 · 3600

the blade angle. They offer the ad-

vantage of being particularly adapta-
ble to diverse operating conditions.
with 2.5 D duct
In a standard design with outlet guide
vanes impeller blades are pitch-adju-
stable when the fan is stationary. For free outlet
straightforward air-handling applicati-

Total acoustic power level

ons (i.e. low pressures), units without
outlet guide vanes but with stationary
impeller blade adjustment are also
used. Max. available
motor sizes:
Example: refer to dimen-
sional sheets
Axial flow fan (blade pitch adjustable
Airflow direction D (outlet over motor) - airflow direction S (inlet over motor) available upon request - values rounded to standard figures.
on stationary fan)
Manufacturer & type:
TLT-Turbo GmbH Type M-D
Type AXN 12/56/800/M-D
Elementary Fan Technology 14

3.3.2 Axial-flow fans for industrial

Axial-flow fan with hydraulic blade pitch adjustment under load
uses / axial blowers
For practical purposes, this fan cate-
2 gory is subdivided into the following 9000

Discharge head m gas column Axial-flow fan with adjusta-
ble impeller blades and fixed outlet 
guide vanes
7000 86
Such axial-flow fans are available 6000
 with individually adjustable impel- 5000
ler blades, adjusted on the statio-
nary fan 4000
 with centrally adjustable impeller 3000 40
blades, adjusted on the stationary
fan 2000

 with jointly controlled impeller bla- 1000

des, adjusted under load (i.e. while
the fan is running). This design of- 0
fers certain advantages in control- 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 1100 1200
ling volume flows and provides a
very broad operating range with Volume flow V m3/s
good part-load characteristics.
Hydraulic blade pitch adjustment un-
der load is now state-of-the-art tech-
nology. Fan casing - top part

Hydraulic adjustment mechanism

Dual-stage rotor
Example: Deflector
Axial-flow fan with impeller blade
pitch adjustment Coupling halves

Manufacturer: Intermediate shaft

TLT-Turbo GmbH Diffuser

Fan casing - bottom part

Blade pitch adjustment
Inlet chamber
Oil supply system
Anti-vibration mounts

Bearing temperature indicator

15 Elementary Fan Technology Axial-flow fan with adjusta-

Axial-flow fan with inlet guide vanes
ble inlet guide vanes and fixed im-
peller blades 10000

The part-load performance of this fan 9000 2

type is usually inferior to that of axial- 8000  87,5
flow units with adjustable impeller bla- 87

Discharge head m gas column

des. 7000 85
82 9
6000 74
However, given their rugged design,
these fans are preferred for use under 5000
severe operating conditions, e.g. in 4000 53
high-temperature or high-dust envi-
3000 42
Typical applications 20
1000 10
Power stations, mining
0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 1100 1200

Volume flow V m3/s

Axial-flow fan with adjustable inlet
guide vanes
TLT-Turbo GmbH
Elementary Fan Technology 16 Speed-controlled axial-flow

TYPE AXN 12/56/1400/R Frequency converters have evolved
2 Am Weinberg 68 · D-36251 Bad Hersfeld/Germany
Tel.: +49.6621.950-0 · Fax: +49.6621.950-100 into a powerful means of controlling
the rotational speed of electric mo-

Approx. shaft power input

Characteristic curves shown below apply to a 23°

Blade tip velocity u [m/s]

blade angle. tors. This makes them ideal for use

Total acoustic power

requirement Pw [kW]
Temperature t = 20°C, density  = 1.2 kg/m3
Number of blades: 12 with fans.
Moment of inertia l = 10,05 kg/m2

level Lw [dB]
Int. shaft diameter: 1415 mm
Outlet cross-section A2 = 1,57 m2 Especially axial-flow fans with indivi-

Fan rpm
These characteristic curves were measured with 2,5
D ducting on fan outlet. Efficiencies apply to max.
Type R1 not Type R2 dual impeller blade adjustment on the
available max. 90 kW
rpm stationary unit benefit from the use of
advanced frequency converter tech-
nology for motor rpm control. Advan-
tages are manifold:
 favourable placement of the axial-
flow fan’s operating point on the
characteristic curve
 very good part-load performance
giving a square-law characteristic
curve for the system
 favourable acoustic properties in
part-load operation

 simple mechanical structure ensu-

res trouble-free operation
 pt [Pa]
Total pressure increase

Axial-flow fan
Speed controlled (impeller blades
adjustable on stationary fan)
Max. available motor sizes:
refer to dimensional sheets

Volume flow V [m3/h] TLT-Turbo GmbH
Type AXN 12/56/1400/R2
Volume flow V [m3/h]

Flow velocity c1 = c2 [m/s]

Dynamic pressure pd [Pa]

values rounded to standard figures.

Type M-D
17 Elementary Fan Technology

3.3.3 Airflow direction inside the fan ries between 0,25 and 0,63. By com-
parison, axial-flow compressors may
Airflow in a fan commonly passes have larger hub ratios.
from the impeller and guide vanes
over the motor and bearing assemb- The smaller the hub ratio, the lower 2
ly. All characteristic curves are based the pressure of an axial-flow fan.
on this layout.
3.3.5 Drive type
However, process reasons may re-
quire an arrangement of the motor on
the fan inlet side. For these applicati-
ons TLT-Turbo GmbH provides „inlet
over motor“ (S) type units.
Nevertheless, the „D“ airflow direction
should be preferred since „S“ type
fans require a devaluation of the cha-
racteristic curve and achieve inferior
efficiency levels.

Axial-flow fan - standard direct-drive type Type M - Impeller on motor output shaft

Standard design
Model AXN, type M-D
(outlet over motor)

Axial-flow fan - V-belt driven type (motor mo- Type R1 - Impeller driven via V-belt
unted on fan casing) for light air-handling duty

Special design
Model AXN, type M-S
(inlet over motor)

3.3.4 Hub ratio

The hub ratio denotes the ratio of the
impeller hub diameter to the external
Axial-flow fan - V-belt driven type Type R2 - Impeller driven via V-belt
impeller diameter. In the case of axi- (motor mounted sepertely on base-frame)
al-flow fans, this ratio commonly va-
Elementary Fan Technology 18

Large axial-flow fan (blower) - dual

stage design with a common double
bearing, driven directly via a coupling
and intermediate shaft. The electric Inlet nozzle
2 motor is arranged outside the gas
flow. Diffuser
Horizontal installation! motor

Large axial-flow fan (blower) - single

stage with double bearing, driven di-
rectly via a coupling and intermediate
shaft. The electric motor is mounted
vertically outside the gas flow.
Vertical installation!
e.g. in a stack

Maintenance space

Large axial-flow fan (blower) - single

stage, impeller mounted on the motor
shaft, electric motor arranged in the
gas flow.
Vertical installation!

Maintenance space
19 Elementary Fan Technology

IV. Centrifugal fans

4.1 Structure and operation Spiral casing

A centrifugal fan has a spiral casing 2

with bellmouth and an outlet connec-
tion, impeller, and discharge cut-off.
The airflow enters the impeller
through the bellmouth and is deflec-
ted centrifugally. A conversion of
energy takes place within the impeller Cut-off
(blade channel), i.e. the mechanical
energy imparted to the impeller via Motor
the shaft from the motor is transfor-
med into pressure and velocity ener- Bellmouth
gy. Functions of the spiral casing are
twofold. On the one hand, it gathers
the air exiting the impeller and guides in the direction of flow (diffuser ef- Centrifugal fans can deliver higher
it to a common outlet. On the other, it fect). pressures than their axial-flow coun-
converts part of the velocity energy terparts since their radial blade chan-
The narrowest point between casing nels promote the build-up of static
(dynamic pressure) into pressure wall and impeller is formed by the cut-
energy (static pressure) through the pressure through the different peri-
off. pheral speeds at the impeller inlet
steady expansion of its cross-section
and outlet.

4.2 Velocity triangles 4.2.2 Backward inclined straight Such impellers are rarely employed in
blades a ventilation and air conditioning con-
Centrifugal fans are classified into text. Since the blade geometry reliab-
c2 w2
four different impeller types according ly prevents accretions, centrifugal
to the shape of their blades. fans of this type are used to convey
4.2.1 Backward curved blades gases containing high loads of dust
u1 and suspended particulates (pneu-
matic conveyance applications). Ho-
u2 wever, depending on dust type, back-
ward curved blades may also serve
w1 c2 this purpose.
Blade outlet angle w2 = 75 to 90°
w2 4.2.4 Forward curved blades
Such impellers are suitable for gases
containing coarse dry particulate matter. c2

Their efficiency is still very high, warran-

ting classification in the high-performan- u2 w1
ce category. Centrifugal fans with this u1
blade configuration may be used to
handle dirty media or to convey materials
(„high-performance dust fans“).
Centrifugal fans with backward cur- Blade outlet angle w2 = 40 to 60°
ved blades are also referred to as
„high-performance“ fans due to their 4.2.3 Radially ending blades
outstanding efficiency. These impel- c2
lers are particularly suitable for plug-
in fans. u2
Centrifugal fans with many forward
c1 w1 curved blades are also referred to as
Blade outlet angle w2  30° drum rotor fans. The proportion of ve-
locity energy obtained with this de-
sign is very high. Due to the low effi-
ciency achieved, use of such impel-
lers is now limited to small centrifugal
fans for air-handling applications.
Elementary Fan Technology 20

4.3 Centrifugal fan configuration application properties. Apart from the Type designation of TLT-
fan series (reflecting the diameter ra- Turbo GmbH’s standard
Centrifugal fans are habitually classi- tio), this identification need is fulfilled
fied according to the following criteria: range of industrial
by the blade outlet angle w2. As a re-
2  Blade shape sult, each fan series comprises va- centrifugal fans
rious impeller blade configurations
a) Centrifugal fans with backward defined by the blade outlet angle w2.
curved blades („high-performance 14 / 45
The fan can thus be adapted individu-
fans“) ally to specific application require-
Series Blade outlet
b) Centrifugal fans with backward inc- ments.
(Diameter angle w2
lined straight blades („dust fans“)  Steep or flat characteristic curve ratio x10)
c) Centrifugal fans with radially en-  Control range requirements
ding blades for dirty industrial gas
 High-dust service TLT-Turbo GmbH’s standard range is
divided into seven centrifugal fan se-
 Wear or accretions
d) Centrifugal fans with forward cur- ries, each comprising various blade
ved blades for ventilation and air-  Direct motor drive for individual shapes and blade outlet angles.
conditioning (refer also to section operating point selection
 Impeller characteristics
One important parameter is the ratio In addition, each type can be made of
between the outside diameter and the different materials to resist chemical
inlet diameter (= nominal diameter) of attack and elevated temperatures.
the centrifugal impeller. This ratio
characterizes the centrifugal fans in a
given range. Typical diameter ratios
vary between 1,1 and 7,1. In ventilati-
on and air-handling applications, se-
ries 11 and 14 fans are common. The
larger the diameter ratio, the higher
the pressure delivered by the fan.
The centrifugal fan range of TLT-Tur-
bo (formerly Babcock BSH) is structu-
red into seven series delivering the
following pressures:
4.3.1 Type designations
Type designation of a centrifugal fan
should indicate not only its pressure
output capability but also its specific

Series Pressure range at = 1,20 kg/m3
(guide values)

11 100 – 2800 Pa
14 1800 – 4500 Pa
18 2800 – 7100 Pa
22 5500 – 11200 Pa
28 8100 – 16000 Pa
35 12500 – 20000 Pa
45 16000 – 25000 Pa

Diameter ratio 1,4 = Series 14

21 Elementary Fan Technology

The illustration across shows all types

in our standard range, together with
Fan types
their key properties. This product di- preferred in 11/20 
11/25  11/45 
versity allows us to address each ap- ventilation
plication requirement in an ideal man- and air 11/30  11/60  2
ner. 11.1/30 
handling 11/40 
14/20  14/60 
 = Steep characteristic curve, ma- 14/30  14/80 
ximum efficiencies for industrial 14/45 
environments, particularly fa-
vourable control response
 = For dust service, dust repellent, 18/30 
for coarse and dry suspended 18/50 
particulates 18/80 
 = For extremly high dust loads,
featuring self-cleaning impeller
blades except for deposits due
to chemical reactions or elec-
trostatic charge 22/40 

4.3.2 Inlet type

Centrifugal fans may be of the single-
inlet or double-inlet type. A double-in-
let centrifugal fan delivers approxima-
tely twice the volume per unit time 28/40 
when compared to a single-inlet unit 28/60 
of the same nominal size and total 28/75 
pressure increase. The configuration
corresponds to a parallel arrange-
ment of two fans (refer to section 5.4).


Single-inlet centrifugal fan impeller


Double-inlet centrifugal fan impeller

Elementary Fan Technology 22

4.4 Types and drive arrangements Type examples

(shown with options)

2 Type Connection Drive

Direct duct Impeller on
connection motor shaft
Type RUM: single-inlet, impeller on motor shaft

Double-inlet With via

bellmouth coupling


With inlet
via belt

* Design types according to VDMA 24164 Type RUR: single-inlet, belt-driven impeller

4.4.1 Casing orientation and direc-

tion of rotation

Type ZER: double-inlet, belt-driven impeller

Type RUK IV: single-inlet, direct driven via an

elastic coupling

Type RUK V: single-inlet, direct driven via an

elastic coupling

Housing orientation and direction of

rotation are always specified as vie-
wed from the drive side.
For designations used, refer to the
above table.
Type ZSKI: double-inlet, with inlet box, direct
motor driven
23 Elementary Fan Technology

4.5 Important custom and special veyed against total pressures

designs ≤ 2000 Pa.
Typical applications therefore inclu-
de 2
Dryers (all types)
4.5.1 Centrifugal plug-in fans Spray-painting lines
Configured preferably as a single-in- Cooling installations
let unit, this fan type is preferred whe- Cleanroom systems
re large volumes of air must be con- Central air-handling units

Centrifugal plug-in fan for installa-

tion in a dryer
Driven by a standard motor
Max. temperature: 250°C

Centrifugal plug-in fan for horizon-

tal installation in central AHU
Driven by a standard motor mounted
in the airflow

Centrifugal plug-in fan for vertical

Driven by a standard motor mounted
in the airflow
Elementary Fan Technology 24

4.5.2 Roof-mounting centrifugal

Centrifugal fans for rooftop installati-
2 on are special free-inlet units suitable
for use as central air exhaust fans
due to their pressure capacity.
These fans are available in diverse ty-

centrifugal roof fan

DRH type
with horizontal air outlet,
driven by a special motor
(external rotor)

centrifugal roof fan

DRV type
with vertical air outlet,
driven by a special motor
(external rotor)

centrifugal roof fan

DRVF type
with vertical air outlet, driven by a
standard motor
25 Elementary Fan Technology

centrifugal roof fan

BVD type
vertical air outlet, designed as a
smoke exhaust fan to extract fumes
and smoke, rated for 400°C/620°C -
120 minutes

centrifugal roof fan

DR-SDH type
with horizontal air outlet, noise-insu-
lated on inlet and outlet side

centrifugal roof fan

DR-SDV type
with noise-insulated vertical outlet
Elementary Fan Technology 26

4.6 Operation under dust and wear Every dust particle that does not The tendency of suspended solids
loads adhere to a surface is a potential to adhere on the blade inlet sides of
For exhaust air fans and some indu- cause of wear. While a lack of in- centrifugal fan impellers with back-
2 strial process fans, dust and wear are formation about the wear process ward curved blades and on the bla-
factors which require special conside- will primarily affect the question of de outlet surfaces of forward cur-
ration at the design and dimensioning spare part availability for the selec- ved blades can only be avoided
stage. The dust load encountered ted fan types, uncertainties concer- with any degree of certainty if the
and its consistency and moisture are ning dust adhesion characteristics applicable angles of slip are accu-
important criteria. will often determine whether or not rately known for the given dust par-
a given fan is employed at all. ticle size distribution [1].
4.6.1 Conveying dust and fibrous
Explanation of terms
Backward curved blade
FN = Force in normal direction
Dust sticks to FZ = Centrifugal force
T = Force in tangential direction
R = Friction force = FN ·µ
T µ = Friction coefficient

suitable for dry

Radially ending bla-

Dust is flung
away from blade



For dirty indu-

strial media

Impeller without cover For further information on how to

plate select suitable centrifugal fans re-
(Stationary cover plate fer to chapters 4.2 and 4.3
attached to housing)
Fibrous media -
High dust loads in the conveyed
over blade sur- medium require an additional po-
face wer input which must be taken in-

R<T to account!
With gas flows containing high
Specifically for pneumatic dust loads, the resulting extra
conveyance of fibrous mat- power requirement and pressure
loss must be taken into account.
27 Elementary Fan Technology
4.6.2 Fan wear Wear processes 3 If the hardness of the attacking par-
ticles and of the exposed compo-
Fans conveying media which contain The influence of particle hardness on nent are approximately equal, mi-
suspended particles are subject to the rate of abrasion from a soft surfa- nor shifts will suffice to produce a
wear. This effect can be reduced, al- ce (e.g. non-armoured blade) or a substantial change in wear beha- 2
beit not avoided altogether, through hard surface (e.g. hardfaced blade) is viour. The process lies in the range
suitable design strategies. illustrated by the following diagram: of the steep rise.
Abrasive wear changes the surfaces 1 If the attacking particles are softer Important
exposed to the gas flow. Symptoms than the exposed component, little
include denting, corrugation effects, abrasion occurs. The process re- To minimize wear, the hardness of
scratches and score marks on the ex- mains in the low wear range. the exposed component must be
posed metal. A micro-level „machi- selected such that it exceeds that of
ning“ process is taking place, resul- 2 If the attacking particles are harder the abrasive particles.
ting in a loss of material. than the exposed component, signi-
ficant abrasion will take place. The
Abrasion is caused by particulate process lies in the high wear ran-
matter in the gas flow which slides ge.
along the relevant surfaces or collides
with them from various angles.
Measures Description

The general principle whereby a b 1. Blade material s Ste 70


centrifugal fan blade extending at a

tangent to the dust flow at every 2. Blade thickness „s“ increased by
point of the blade's radial extension 2-3 mm
will always be subject to the least a2 3. Weld beads extending in a direc-
amount of wear (i.e., sliding wear) a3
can be considered proven. Where a4
tion transverse to the direction of
a problem cannot be addressed by a5 flow, placed with the aid of hardfa-
selecting appropriately adapted cing electrodes. Bead distance „a“
a6 decrease toward the outside dia-
blading, the engineer is left with the
option of maximizing economic effi- b = lateral protection meter.
ciency via the selection of suitable
materials and material thicknesses.

Abrasive processes and their termi- 1. Blade base material s

nology are addressed in DIN 50320.
2. Surface hardfaced to s1 = approx.
The most important wear parameters 0,8 – 1,0 mm by tungsten carbide
can be summarized thus: flame spraying
A. Impeller Flat blade
– Hardness and material thickness of (no curvature)

the impeller body

– Blade tip velocity

– Blade shape

B. Dust load 1. Blade base material s

– Hardness of the impinging particles
2. Surface hardfaced to s1 = approx.
– Grain size and geometric particle
0,5 mm by continuous weld clad-
ding with a material containing
– Particle density
chromium carbide
High wear Flat blade

Abrasion rate

(no curvature)


Low wear Note:

Anti-wear measures on impellers will give rise to increased weights and imbalance
forces. Consequences such as
Hardness of attacking particles – need for reinforced driveshafts and bearings
 Soft component – need for stronger fan supporting structures
– efficiency deterioration
 Hard component
need to be taken into account!
Elementary Fan Technology 28

V. Fans as system System characteristic curves with

components different operating points

2 5.1 Characteristic system/fan cur-

ves, proportionality law
Theory of establishing a system’s
characteristic curve was examined
Linear log-log
earlier in section 2.5. Below we shall
take a look at the underlying laws by
examining linear and log-log graphs
for the example of a RA 11.1 centrifu-
gal fan, nominal size 800, made by
TLT-Turbo GmbH.
If two operating points are compared,
pressure ratio is equal to volume ratio
squared, i.e.
pt1 V 2 ·

( ) V
= V· 1 or pt2 = pt1 · · 2
2 V1 ( )

In our example, the operating point

B1 lies at V̇1 = 10 m3/s and
pt1 = 1750 Pa. Which value is obtai-
ned with
pt2 at V· 2 = 5 m3/s
pt2 = 1750 Pa · (105 ) = 438 Pa.
A = System characteristic curve B = Operating point

The total pressure increase produced Dynamic pressure in the fan inlet
by a fan consists of a static and dyna- connection
mic component. The dynamic pressu-
re increase is expressed with referen- (C = line of dynamic pressure)
ce to the fan inlet connection. It is cal-
culated according to the known for-

mula pd = c2
where c is the mean flow velocity in
the fan inlet connection, i.e.

c= ,where A is the cross-sectional
A area of the inlet connection.

In our example, we obtain the follo-

wing for V = 10 m3/s and the selected
NG 800 centrifugal fan:

A = d  = 0,8 m  = 0,502 m2
2 2 2
4 4

c = V̇ = 10 m3 = 19,9 m/s
A 0,502 m2 · s

 kg m2
pd = · c2 = · 19,92 = 238 Pa
2 2 m3 s2
29 Elementary Fan Technology

The performance behaviour of a fan P = pt · V̇ P pt · V̇
is described by its characteristic cur- = P =
ve. This graph is determined by rig- Pw = MW · 
MW · 
testing under specific conditions defi-
ned in DIN 24163. To establish the 2
pt · V̇
curve, various operating points are si- Hence, Pw = P =
mulated by throttling the volume flow,
and the measured value pairs for pt if  is known.
- V are plotted in a diagram from
which the characteristic curve is then
drawn. During rig testing, shaft power P = power in W (or kW if p1 is ex-
input requirement is measured at the pressed in kPa)
same time to determine the fan’s effi-
pt = total pressure increase in Pa
ciency. The power input requirement
(or kPa, respectively)
is obtained from the input torque MW
and the angular velocity ω. The effi- V̇ = volume flow in m3/h
ciency h is the quotient of input and
output power. The output P is referred Mw = input torque in Nm
to as the useful or effective power; the  = angular velocity in 1/s
power input is the shaft power requi-
rement Pw.

 =  · n · s–1 for n in rpm


Characteristic curve of fan and system

The fan’s operating point within the

overall system always lies at the in-
tersection of the characteristic curves
of the system and the fan.
The point of intersection between the
fan’s characteristic curve and the dy-
namic pressure line marks the maxi-
mum capacity, i.e., the air volume
which this fan would deliver against
„zero“ system resistance.

Elementary Fan Technology 30

Proportionaltiy laws for fan series 

A n  const., = const. C n = const., d2  const.
of geometrical and kinematicalls
V· 1 n1 V· 1 d1
Index 2 = Reference Size
V· 2
n2 V· 2
= (d ) 2

pt1 · pt1 d1
= ( nn ) = (VV )



= (d ) 2

Pw1 d1
= ( ) ( )
V· 1
V· 2
= (d ) 2

Formular Symbols: B n = const.,  const. bzw. D n  const., d  const.,  const.
V = Volume flow [m3/h or m3/s resp.] T  const. V· 1 n1 d1
n = Rotational Speed [rpm]
V1 = V2 = const.
n2 (d ) 2

pt = Total pressure differences [Pa] 

Pw = Power requirement at shaft [kW] pt1 T pt1 n1 d1
T = Temperature [°C]

=  1

= 1
T2 pt2
= ( )


(d ) 2

= Density [kg/m3] 
d = Outer dia. of impeller Ø [m]  Pw1 n1 d1
= 1
= 1
T2 Pw1
= ( )


(d ) 2

Proportionality laws
1) Rotational speed change (from n1
to n2, in our case from 1400 to
1800 rpm)
In our example, the fan speed was
changed from 1400 to 1600 rpm
Given the known square law of the
characteristic curve, this results in the
following changes: Change in rpm (from n1 to n2, i.e., from 1400 to 1600 rpm in this example):

a) Volume flow V changes in proporti-

on to the speed (rpm), i.e.

V· 1 n1 n2
= or V· 2 = V· 1 ·
V· 2 n2 n1

b) Total pressure increase pt chan-

ges with the square of the rotatio-
nal speed, i.e.
n1 2
( )
= n or pt2 = pt1 ·
( nn )2 2

c) Shaft power input requirement PW

changes with the third power of the
rotational speed, i.e.
Pw1 n1 n2
n2 ( ) or Pw
2 = Pw1 · (n ) 1

linear log-log
31 Elementary Fan Technology

2) Density and temperature changes

Change in density (from 1 to 2, i.e. from +20°C to +15°C in this example)
In ventilation and air-conditioning en-
gineering, characteristic fan curves
are shown for a temperature of 20°C 2
= 293 K. Density  is 1,20 kg/m3 at
this temperature. Where different
temperatures apply (e.g. an outdoor
fan to be rated for -15°C = 258 K) the
fan’s characteristic curves for that
temperature can be obtained by con-
a) Volume flow always remains con-
stant, i.e. a fan delivers the same
volume per unit time regardless of
whether the air is „light“ (e.g.,
+40°C) or „heavy“ (e.g., -15°C).
This is because of the density (un-
like the mass flow, which does
change with temperature) not
being a factor in the volumetric flow linear log-log
5.2 Dimensionless variables d) Power coefficient
b) Values depending on density  and
hence, on the temperature, will To facilitate the assessment and ·
change with it (refer to section 2.1). comparison of fans with regard to =

their suitability for individual applicati-
ons, dimensionless variables have λ is a measure of the shaft power re-
Total pressure increase pt, dyna- been defined for key properties: quirement.
mic pressure pd, system resi-
a) Efficiency e) Diameter coefficient
stance pt and power input requi- pt · V̇
rement pW are all affected by the (Refer to Fig. 5.1) =
change. The magnitude of their 4

change is proportional to the chan- with pt in Pa, V in m /s, and Pw in W.

= 1
 Efficiency  denotes the ratio of the  2
ge in density .
fan’s power output to the required
Summing up, we can write shaft power input. It thus measures This variable indicates by how many
the quality of the energy conversion times the outside impeller diameter
· =V· process performed by the fan. exceeds that of a reference fan with ψ
V 1 2
b) Pressure coefficient = 1 and ϕ = 1.
pt2 = pt1 · = pt1 · f) Tip speed ratio
 = pt · f*2
· u2 2
=  3
This relationship applies to total pres- 4
with pt in Pa,  in kg/m3 and u2 in
sure increase generated by the fan as
m/s. Coefficient ψ measures the total This parameter indicates by how
well as to system resistance.
pressure difference delivered by a fan much the impeller runs faster or slo-
at a given blade tip velocity. wer than the reference fan having ψ =
ϕ = 1.

2 T1 c) Flow coefficient
pd2 = pd1 ·  = pd1 · T
1 2
V̇ g) Throttle coefficient

= u ··d 2
2 2 2
Pw2 = Pw1 ·  = Pw1 · 4 2
with V in m3/s, u2 in m/s and d2 in m.
Flow coefficient j reflects the volume τ is the parameter for the parabolic
flow discharged by a fan at a given system graph in the dimensionless
outer impeller diameter and blade tip field of characteristic curves.
*)Neglected in ventilation and air-condition technics (pt < 2500 Pa)
Elementary Fan Technology 32

5.3 Selection criteria Centrifugal fan with backward curved blades „RA“
Using the above dimensionless para- 0,20 1,2
meters, it is now possible to compare
 = 0,62
2 the main fan designs:
0,18 1,0
I. Backward curved blades refer to 0,82 A2
section 4.2.1. (high-performance B2
fan, abbreviated to „RA“) 0,16 0,8 0,84

Pressure coefficient  →
II. Backward inclined straight blades B

Power coefficient →
refer to section 4.2.2. (high-per- 0,14 0,6
formance dust fan, abbreviated to
„RA St“)  0,72
0,12 0,4
III. Radial ending blades refer to sec- 0,68
tion 4.2.3. (also referred to as
conveyor fan, abbreviated to „RA 0,10 0,2

IV.Forward curved blades refer to

section 4.2.4. (also referred to as 0 0,05 0,1 0,15 0,2 0,25 0,3 0,35 0,4
drum rotor-fan, abbreviated to Flow coefficient  →
Centrifugal fan with backward inclined straight blades „RAST“
All centrifugal fans are assumed to
possess a spiral casing. Plug-in
fans are not taken into account in
0,50 1,4
the present selection criteria. A
= 0,59 0,70 0,75
V. Axial flow fan with outlet guide 0,45 1,2
0,80 A1
vanes refer to 3.2 and 3.3. (abbre- B2 0,79
0,40 1,0
Pressure coefficient  →

viated to „AXN“) B 0,78

Power coefficient →

0,35 0,8
Comparison between RV/RA and B1 0,64
AXN fans: 0,30 0,6

Flow coefficient: 0,25 0,4
The RV fan has by far the highest
flow coefficient (max. 1,2) when 0,20 0,2
compared to AXN (0,38) and RATR
Pressure coefficient: 0 0,05 0,10 0,15 0,20 0,25 0,30 0,35 0,40 0,45 0,50 0,55
RA fans have a steeper characteri- Flow coefficient  →
stic curve. This becomes evident if
we compare deviations of the sy-
stem characteristic curve A which Centrifugal fan with radially ending blades „RATR“
intersects the fan’s characteristic A2
curve at B. If the system characteri- A A1
stic curve A is lower than calculated 0,80 1,6
(A1, point of intersection B1) or hig- 0,75 0,76 0,77
her than calculated (A1, B1) in prac- 0,70 1,4 0,58
 = 0,42 0,67 0,76
tical system operation, changes in B2 B 0,74 0,72
0,60 1,2
pressure coefficient and hence, vo- B1 0,71
0,69 0,68
lume flow rates, remain small.
Pressure coefficient  →

0,50 1,0
Power coefficient →

The situation is similar with the AXN 

fan, but it should be noted here that 0,40 0,8
stalling will occur from a certain flow
0,30 0,6
coefficient threshold onwards (in
this case, 0,23), i.e. an appropriate 0,20 0,4
airflow over the blade profile is no
longer ensured. 0,10 0,2
Axial-flow fans must never be ope-
rated in the stall range. They must 0 0,05 0,10 0,15 0,20 0,25 0,30 0,35 0,40 0,45 0,50 0,55 0,60
always be dimensioned with an ap-
Flow coefficient  →
33 Elementary Fan Technology

Centrifugal fan with forward curved blades „RV“

propriate safety margin separating
them from the critical point. 6 3
RV fans have a flat characteristic A1
curve, i.e. slight pressure variations 0,69 B2
will result in major volume flow
5 2,5
0,62 2
changes. 0,67
B B1
 = 0,55 0,5
4 2

Pressure coefficient  →
3 1,5

Power coefficient →

2 1

0 0,2 0,4 0,6 0,8 1,0 1,2 1,4

Flow coefficient  →

The RA fan has the highest efficien- Axial-flow fan with outlet guide vanes „AXN“
cy (0,84), followed by the AXN unit
(0,82). With a view to safety, only
0,78 of this should be utilized on an
AXN fan. RV fans, on the other
hand, achieve modest efficiencies 0,16 0,5  = 0,81 A2
at best (max. 0,69). A
Power coefficient B2
0,15 0,4
The RA fan draws maximum power
at approximately its highest effi- 0,73 A1
ciency and should be dimensioned
with this characteristic in mind. It
Pressure coefficient  →
Power coefficient →

0,14 0,3
makes the fan safe against overloa- B1
ding, given that the power demand 0,56
will decrease both when it is thrott-
led and when volume flow increa- 0,13 0,2

ses. Shaft power requirement of AX
fans tends to be quite constant over
the rating range. RV units, on the
other hand, exhibit a rapid increase
in power demand when the volume
flow rises; an overload risk would
therefore exist if, e.g. the system re- 0,2 0,25 0,3 0,35 0,4
sistance should turn out to be less
than projected in theory.
Flow coefficient  →
Diameter coefficient
This is lowest in the case of the
AXN fan (1,6 at ηmax), attesting to
this fan’s main advantage, viz. com-
pact build. RV comes next at 1,8,
followed by RA fans at 2,0.
Tip speed ratio
The highest ϕ and ψ values at mini-
mum blade tip velocities are achie-
ved by the RV fan (σ = 0,36), com-
pared with 0,6 on RA and 0,95 on
AXN units.
Elementary Fan Technology 34

5.4 Parallel operation

Where a very high volume flow is spe-
cified, it is possible to operate two or
2 more fans in parallel. Double-inlet
centrifugal fans are an example of
parallel operation, although here the
two fans are rigidly interconnected. In
a classic parallel fan arrangement the
individual units are run independently
of each other. From a flow control
point of view, such set-ups are useful
for increasing or decreasing through-
put by bringing the fans selectively on
To determine the characteristic curve
of parallel fans it is necessary to add
their volume flows at identical pt va-
lues (as in the example of the RA
11.1, NG 800 centrifugal fan).
V1 = Characteristic curve of one fan
V2 = Joint characteristic curve of
both fans
B1 with V1 and pt1 =
operating point when one fan is run-
B2 with V2 and pt2 =
operating point when both fans are
5.5 In-line/series operation
To overcome exceptionally high resi-
stances, two or more fans may be ar-
ranged in series. In this configuration
total pressures pt would theoretical-
ly have to be added, while V would re-
main constant. However, this is not
achievable in practice. A real-life sy-
stem of this type encounters losses,
chiefly due to inferior inflow conditi-
ons prevailing at the second stage.
V1 = Characteristic curve of one fan
V2 = Joint characteristic curve of
both fans
B1 with V1 and pt1 =
operating point when one fan is run-
B2 with V2 and pt2 =
operating point when both fans are
35 Elementary Fan Technology

5.6 Pressure measurement on fans Examples of measuring arrangements on centrifugal fans

In aerodynamic engineering it is stan- a) Outlet side resistances, free fan inlet
dard practice to treat pressures abo-
ve the atmospheric pressure po (baro- 2
meter reading) as absolute values.
This is acceptable if the ambient air
pressure is taken as the „zero“ refe-
rence level. As a result, one may ob-
tain negative static pressures, for in-
stance on the inlet side of fans.
The total pressure difference across a
fan is the difference between total
pressures on its inlet and outlet side
pt = pt2 - pt1 = ps2 + pd2 - (ps1 + pd1)
= ps2 - ps1 + pd2 - pd1
= ps + pd
In other words, the total pressure dif-
ference is the sum of the static pres- pt = ps2 + pd2 = pt2
sure difference ps and the dynamic 
pressure difference pd between the = ps2 + 2 c22, da pt1 = 0!
fan inlet and outlet side (with ps and
pd being measured as mean values
across the fan’s inlet or outlet cross-
section, respectively).

b) Inlet side resistances, free fan outlet

1. without diffuser

pt = ps1 - pd1 + pd2

For the particular case that A1 = A2 we obtain
pd1 = pd2
Hence pt = ps1
Elementary Fan Technology 36

2. with diffuser

pt = ps1 + pd3 - pd1

c) Outlet and inlet side resistances

pt = ps2 + ps1 + pd2 - pd1

For the particular case that A1 = A2 we obtain
pd1 = pd2
Hence pt = ps2 + ps1.
37 Elementary Fan Technology

d) Measuring arrangement for a cen-

trifugal fan
While the mean dynamic pressure
can be obtained from the measured 2
volume flow, static pressure is more
difficult to determine, particularly on
the fan outlet side, and there exist se-
veral options for doing so. Characteri-
stic curve data should therefore be
p Adjustable ps1 fan with outlet
accompanied by a description of the
Calibrated screen restric- guide vanes
measuring set-up employed. Thus, it measuring tor
is important to know in the case of a nozzle
centrifugal fan whether the static without outlet
pressure was determined on its inlet guide vanes
or outlet side, and in the latter case,
one should indicate at which point
downstream of the fan the measure-
ment was taken (i.e. directly behind
the guide vanes or at some distance
from them).
without outlet guide vanes, with diffuser
In the present example pressure
measurement is taken on the inlet si-
de, with a screen restrictor simulating
the upstream system resistance. In
preparing the characteristic curves,
the dynamic pressure over the entire
cross-section is then added arithmeti-
cally to the static pressure reading.
Measurements with and without out-
let side ducting give the same results.
On the other hand, static pressure va-
lues determined on the outlet side will
vary according to whether the probe
is mounted directly downstream of
the guide vanes or at some distance
into the ducting. This is due to the ring
current exiting the guide vane assem-
bly; a certain flow path is necessary
for the medium to become homoge-
neously distributed again. As it does
so, part of the dynamic pressure is
converted into static pressure (pres-
sure recovery), while the remainder is
lost as so-called hub impact loss. Velocity profiles: (1) upstream of the axial-flow fan
Example: (2) directly downstream of guide vanes
On an axial-flow fan with a hub ratio (3) 2-4D downstream of fan
of 0,56, the mean dynamic pressure
in the ring flow is equal to:

V̇ = c1 · A1 = cR · AR

4 4   =C
c1 · d12 ·  = cR ·  · d12 - (0,56 d1)2 R ·  ·d12 · (1- 0,56)2
= CR ·  ·d1 · 0,6864

cR = 1,457 · c1 bzw.
pdR = 1,4572 · pd1 = 2,12 · pd1
Elementary Fan Technology 38

From the above it is evident that the If the measurements are taken on the tic pressure can only be assumed to
dynamic pressure in the ring flow is inlet side on a fan without downstre- be near-constant over the cross-sec-
more than twice as high as the pres- am ducting and the dynamic pressure tional area if the flow lines at the mea-
sure measured across the entire duct of the ring flow is included in the total suring point are straight. This will not
2 area. pressure difference, then the hub loss be the case downstream of elbows
is not reflected in the characteristic (refer to section 2.7), fittings and baf-
The hub loss, according to, curve. This fact would need to be ta- fles. If conditions are not right for a
can be written as ken into account at the fan dimensio- pressure measurement via wall orifi-
ning process. ces, the cross-sectional area must be
 scanned with a pressure probe, and
p = 2 (cR - c3)2 = 0,21 pd3 = 0,21 pd1 e) General notes
the mean value must be determined
If it is intended to take static pressure from the grid point readings.
measurements via orifices in the duct
This must be viewed as the „inherent wall, several orifices should be
loss“ of each fan. It is already ac- spread evenly over the duct circumfe- Acceptance and performance mea-
counted for in the characteristic curve rence. These should then be inter- surements are governed by VDI Gui-
if the measurements are taken a suf- connected via a ring line. This is the deline 2004, which describes all de-
ficient distance downstream of the im- best way to compensate for variations tails concerning test set-up and exe-
peller. and to obtain a mean value. The sta- cution.

VI. Speed control 6.1 Throttle control It is evident from this example that
due to throttling of the flow, the cha-
In the following paragraphs, the The most straightforward but least ef- racteristic curve of the fan is intersec-
term „fan control“ is deemed to re- ficient control method is that of thrott- ted further to the left, i.e. at a higher
fer to the control of the volume ling the flow. An adjustable restricting pressure, which requires additional
flow. device is fitted into the system to vary throttling. Moreover, efficiency of the
the system’s characteristic curve. fan is reduced as the degree of thrott-
The position of the points of intersec- ling increases.
tion with the fan curve will thus be
changed, i.e. shifted to the left (smal- Throttling the volume flow V by about
ler volume flow). 25% from its level at intersection point
B will bring down shaft power input
As an example, let us again consider demand from PW = 21,1 kW to PW’ =
TLT Turbo GmbH’s RA 11.1 / NG 800 20,2 kW. This is equivalent to a 4%
fan. decrease.

V̇ in m3/s

Efficiencies at the points of intersec-

B : 83 % B1: 84 % B2: 82 %
B3: 77 % B4: 70 % B5: 63 %
39 Elementary Fan Technology

6.2 Blade pitch control 6.3 Blade pitch adjustment 6.4 Inlet vane control
A more efficient, but also more com- On axial-flow fans with blade pitch ad- Flow control vanes can be fitted on
plex method is that of controlling the justment, volume flow can be control- the inlet side of both centrifugal and
fan speed (rpm) via appropriate varia- led by changing the blade angle. axial-flow fans. Acting as adjustable 2
ble-speed electric motors. One ad- guide vanes, they modify the direction
vantage of this control approach is Example: of the inlet velocity c1 into the impel-
that the fan can always be operated in ler. By imparting an angular momen-
a favourable efficiency range. The tum (swirl) at the impeller inlet, they
characteristic curve of the system re- produce a change in volume flow.
mains the same, while that of the fan
will change according to the propor- Example: (TLT-Turbo GmbH centrifu-
tionality laws. On the downside, this gal fan, RA 11.1, NG 800, with adju-
control method involves higher capi- stable inlet vanes)
tal outlay due to the cost of the elec-
tric frequency converter, as well as in-
ferior efficiencies in part-load operati-

Efficiencies at the points of intersec-

B : 77 % Bo: 78 % B1: 70 %
B2: 59 % B3: 50 % B4: 40 %
B5: 30 % Efficiencies at the points of intersec-
Reducing the volume flow V by about tion:
25% from its level at intersection point B : 83 % B1: 80 % B2: 60 %
B (i.e. to a value corresponding ap-
proximately to intersection point B2) B3: 40 % B4: 30 %
will bring down shaft power input de- Reducing the volume flow V by about
Efficiency is 83% at all points of in- mand from PW = 10,4 kW to PW’ =
tersection! 25% from its level at intersection point
5,7 kW. This corresponds to a 45% B (i.e. to a value corresponding ap-
Reducing the volume flow V by about decrease. proximately to intersection point B2)
25% from its level at intersection point Controlling the volume flow of axial will bring down shaft power input de-
B (i.e. to a value corresponding ap- fans via the blade pitch setting will not mand from PW = 21,1 kW to PW’ =
proximately to intersection point B3) quite yield the efficiencies achieved 12,5 kW. This corresponds to a 41%
will bring down shaft power input de- by rpm control. On the other hand, the decrease.
mand from PW = 21,1 kW to PW’ = 8,8 associated electrical losses are elimi-
kW. For large volume flow changes, inlet
nated. vane control makes sense - due to the
This is equivalent to a 58% decrease. The investment cost of an axial-flow steep efficiency decline - only when
The gain achieved over mere thrott- fan with „blade pitch adjustment un- combined with a pole-changing motor.
ling is obvious. der load“ (i.e. on the moving fan) is For instance, a pole-changing motor
significantly higher than that of an with three speeds (100, 75 and 50% of
equivalent unit whose blades can on- nominal rpm) offers a broad control
ly be adjusted when stationary. The range at an optimum efficiency.
additional expense will generally pay Benefits of flow control based on ad-
off only if, in the specific operating en- justable inlet vanes include low in-
vironment, blades must be adjusted vestment cost and the fact that squir-
very often. rel cage motors may be used.
Elementary Fan Technology 40

VII. Drive unit dimensioning Jred ·nM The couplings used in ventilation
tA = and air-conditioning applications are
9,55 · Mb
7.1 Motors typically of the resilient, direct-acting
type. In special cases - e.g., if the
2 Power demand P W on the fan shaft

can be calculated (refer to section Jred. = JM + ( )J

nM V motor does not attain its nominal
r.p.m. within the maximum accelera-
5.1). It is common practice to add cer- JV = Impeller moment of inertia
tain power reserve to the calculated tion time - it is possible to use centri-
requirement PW. The amount of this JM = Motor moment of inertia fugal clutches. They allow the motor
margin is typically 5-10% for direct- to run up to its nominal speed first,
Jred. = Sum of the moments of inertia while the fan is then accelerated to
drive fans and 10-20% on belt-driven (JV + JM)
units, depending on the size. its operating r.p.m. via friction forces
The torque MW can be calculated with an appropriate time lag.
An important motor selection para- from shaft power PW and the fan
meter is its accelerating torque. This speed nv. The accelerating torque Mb
must be in a certain proportion to the can be obtained from the motor ma-
fan’s moment of inertia, the fan thus nufacturer.
starting up properly.
7.2 V-belt drive
The mass moment of inertia J refers
only to rotary fan components, i.e. V-belt drives are widespread in venti-
impeller, hub and shaft. It is the pro- lation and air-conditioning equipment.
duct of multiplying the mass of these A V-belt has a very good adhesion,
rotating parts with the square of the being ‘wedged’ into the groove of the
so-called „inertia radius“. Typically, pulley. It should be dimensioned so
this parameter is determined experi- as to ensure that the belt speed will
mentally and stated by the fan manu- not exceed 20 m/s. Belts are selec-
facturer. Motor manufacturers usually ted in accordance with DIN 2218 on
accept an acceleration time of 10 se- the basis of manufacturers’ catalogue
conds. The selection of the motor can data, which allow the engineer to de-
thus be validated using the following termine a given V-belt’s power trans-
expression: mission capability as a function of belt
profile, pulley diameter and rpm
tA = J ·  7.3. Couplings

J ·nM
Couplings serve to connect rotary
where:  =  · n ; tA = machine components - in the present
30 9,55 · Mb
case, they link the motor to the fan.
They are required to transmit a torque
tA = acceleration time in seconds M at a given rotational speed.
J = mass moment of inertia of the As a result, the main coupling dimen-
fan wheel and motor in kgm2 sioning parameters are fan speed nv
nM = motor rpm and fan shaft torque MW, or shaft po-
wer PW, respectively. The correlation
Mb = mean acceleration torque in can be written thus:
Nm, calculated as the differen-
ce between motor torque Mm
and fan torque Mw Pw
Mw = bzw. mit  = ·n
The above equation applies to direct-
driven fans. In the case of V-belt drive
systems, the so-called reduced mo- Mw = 9549 · where
ment of inertia must be used:

Mw = fan torque in Nm
Pw = shaft power in kW
nv = fan speed in rpm
41 Elementary Fan Technology

VIII. Explosion protection atmospheres: Protection by inherent DIN 22419-3, Nov. 1995: Electrical
on fans (current status Jan. 2005) safety apparatus for potentially explosive at-
mospheres for mining - Cable entries
EN 13463-5, March 2004: Non-elec- - Part 3: Gland flanges for entries; sa-
8.1 Standards situation
trical equipment for use in potentially fety requirements and testing 2
Since the enactment of ATEX 100, explosive atmospheres - Protection
previous national regulations such as by constructional safety
DIN EN 50016 (VDE 0170/0171, Part
VDMA standard sheet 24169, Parts 1 pr EN 13463-6: Non-electrical equip- 3), May 1996: Electrical apparatus for
and 2, are no longer applicable. ment for use in potentially explosive potentially explosive atmospheres -
atmospheres - Protection by control Pressurized apparatus "p", German
Although the relevant European pro- version, EN 50016:1995
duct standard for fans is still in the of ignition source
draft phase, Parts 1-7 of DIN EN pr EN 13463-7: Non-electrical equip-
13463 already exist. DIN EN 50039, April 1982: Electrical
ment for use in potentially explosive apparatus for potentially explosive at-
EU Directive 94/9/EC (ATEX 95) re- atmospheres - Protection by pressu- mospheres - Intrinsically safe electri-
gulates the approximation of the laws rization cal systems "i" - (VDI specification for
of European Union member states electrical apparatus for potentially ex-
pr EN 13463-8: January 2004: Non-
concerning equipment and protective plosive atmospheres for mining)
electrical equipment for potentially
systems intended for use in potential- explosive atmospheres - Protection
ly explosive atmospheres. by liquid immersion DIN EN 50050, June 2002: Electrical
apparatus for potentially explosive at-
ATEX 137, or Directive 1999/92/EC, EN 50303, Group 1, category M1 mospheres - Electrostatic hand-held
stipulates minimum regulations for equipment intended to remain func- spraying equipment; German version
the safety and health protection of tional in atmospheres endangered by EN 50050:2001
workers at risk from potentially explo- firedamp and/or coal dust
sive atmospheres.
DIN EN 60079-10 (VDE 1065 Part
DIN EN 1127-1, Oct. 1997: Explosive 101), Sept. 1996: Electrical appara-
While ATEX 95 addresses manufac- atmospheres - Explosion prevention
turers of equipment, components and tus for explosive gas atmospheres -
and protection - Part 1: Basic con- Part 10: Classification of hazardous
protective apparatus, ATEX 137 co- cepts and methodology
vers the installation of equipment and areas (IEC 60079-10:1995) German
adaptations of existing systems. DIN EN 1127-2, July 2002: Explosive version EN 60079-10:1996
atmospheres - Explosion prevention
The above directives have been ap- and protection - Part 2: Basic con- DIN EN 60079-14 (VDE 0165 Part 1),
plicable in Germany since July 1, cepts and methodology for mining Aug. 1998: Electrical apparatus for
2003. explosive gas atmospheres - Part 14:
Other German standards include the Electrical installations in hazardous
Basic requirements on the design, following: areas (other than mines) (IEC 60079-
construction, testing and marking of 14:1996); German version EN 60079-
non-electrical equipment are defined DIN 14428, Sept. 1988: Firefighting 14:1997)
in the European standards series equipment - Explosion-proof portable
prEN 13463, Parts 1 - 8. transfer pump with electric motor -
Requirements, type and acceptance DIN EN ISO10807, Jan. 1997: Pipe-
Fans in a general sense are treated test work - Corrugated flexible metallic ho-
as non-electrical equipment in this se- se assemblies for the protection of el-
ries, which contains the following spe- DIN 14427, March 1995: Firefighting ectrical cables in explosive atmos-
cific standards: equipment - Explosion-proof portable pheres (ISO 10807:1994); German
transfer pump for dangerous fluids, version EN ISO 10807:1996
DIN EN 13463-1, April 2002: Non-el- with electric motor - Requirements,
ectrical equipment for potentially ex- testing DIN VDE 0170/0171-9, July 1988 El-
plosive atmospheres - Basic method ectrical apparatus for explosive gas
and requirements, with amendments DIN 14642, Oct. 1995: Portable sear- atmospheres; protective encapsulati-
of July 2003 chlight with mounting equipment for on "m" German version EN
vehicles, explosion-proof 50028:1987
pr EN 13463-2: Non-electrical equip-
ment for use in potentially explosive DIN 22419-1, Nov. 1995: Electrical
atmospheres - Protection by flow re- apparatus for potentially explosive at- DIN VDE 0170/171-13, Nov. 1986:
stricting enclosure mospheres for mining - Cable entries Electrical apparatus for potentially ex-
- Part 1: Safety requirements and plosive atmospheres; requirements
pr EN 13463-3: Non-electrical equip- testing for apparatus in zone 10
ment for use in potentially explosive
atmospheres - Protection by flame- DIN 22419-2, Nov. 1995: Electrical
apparatus for potentially explosive at- DIN VDE 0848-5, January 01: Safety
proof enclosure
mospheres for mining - Cable entries in electric, magnetic and electroma-
pr EN 13463-4: Non-electrical equip- - Part 2: Gland adaptors for entries; gnetic fields - Part 5: Protection
ment for use in potentially explosive safety requirements and testing against explosion
Elementary Fan Technology 42

It is recommended to track the har- 8.2 Product standard for fans of equipment safety to be met by the
monization of standards and their manufacturer through appropriate de-
transposition into the national sy- The European product standard for sign
stems in the EU's Official Journal and fans is available in draft form as pr-
2 in the German Federal Gazette (Bun- DIN EN 14986, June 2004. Conveyed medium: G = gas, D =
desanzeiger), e.g., at dust, or GD = gas/dust mixtures
The title of this draft standard is De- sign of fans working in potentially ex- Ignition protection type: Indicates
se/nando-is/cpd plosive atmospheres. the design safety of apparatus and
equipment, with requirements on ma-
and Compared to the national code (VD- terial combinations, gap dimensions,
MA standard sheet 24169, Parts 1 V-belt, anti-friction bearings, etc. and 2), this document imposes a
number of changes. Explosion group: Defines the type
of potentially explosive gas atmos-
Thus, the following information must phere in which the equipment is to be
appear on the nameplate: used
Apparatus group: I or II; a distinction Temperature class: Defines the ac-
is made according to whether the ceptable maximum surface tempera-
equipment is intended for use in mi- ture on the apparatus
ning or other applications.
Apparatus category: Categories 1
through 3 express the requisite level

8.3 Marking example:

Apparatus Apparatus Conveyed Ignition Explosion Temperature

group category medium protection group class
for II: for II:
Marking of I: Mining Material II A T1: max. 450° C
apparatus 1: even in case G: Gases, combinations II B T2: max. 300° C
for use in II: All other of rate vapours, II C T3: max. 200° C
potentially applications equipment fumes Gap T4: max. 135° C
exploxive malfunctions dimensions T5: max. 100° C
atmospheres D: Air/dust T6: max. 85° C
2: even in case mixture V-belts
of frequent
equipment GD: Gas and dust Anti-friction
malfunctions bearings

3: in normal etc.
43 Elementary Fan Technology

8.4 Design notes Category 2 : Gas and dust • Fan drive and coupling per DIN EN
Some design recommendations ex- • All category 3 requirements must be
tracted from the product standard are met. • Shaft seal, anti-friction bearings,
given below. brakes and brake systems must
• Units with power inputs exceeding
conform to DIN EN 13463-5
Category 1 : Gas 5.5 kW must not have taperlock
hubs. • Units with power inputs exceeding
• All category 2 requirements must be
15 kW must not have taperlock hubs
met. • Fan housings must be continuously
welded As regards impeller-housing material
• Taper-lock hubs and V-belt drives
combinations, it is recommended to
are not permitted • Anti-friction bearings to be rated for
wait for the final vote of the prEN
a minimum service life of 40,000
• Tests for gas-tightness must be 14968 product standard.
Category 3 : Gas and dust
• Flame inhibitors must be fitted on
the inlet and outlet connection • Protection against ingress of foreign
• Category 1 units for outdoor use
must conform to prEN 13463-3 • Accretion

8.5 Explosion protection of fans, il-

lustrated for a direct-driven centri-
fugal fan
Impeller with reverse blades
The design of fans for use in potenti-
ally explosive atmospheres typically  
involves the following steps:
 An increased gap between the
impeller and the inlet nozzle, plus

the selection of appropriately

matched impeller/nozzle materi-


 Use of non-contacting (labyrinth-

type) shaft seals to prevent heat
build-up, with prevention of air le-
aks via an additional bypass line
to the inlet. The impeller can be
provided with reverse flow blades
for pressure relief.

 Installation of long-life antifriction

bearings, special hub-to-shaft
attachments to prevent shifting,
and fitted pins for securing the
bearing housing.
On the process side, the custo-
Drive Copper
mer should ensure that the fans
 Use of driveshafts of appropriate shaft
cannot suck in any foreign matter
flexural strength, separation of which might deform components
critical and operating rpm by an or generate sparks.
appropriately wide margin. Grounding electrode
Hazardous-duty fans should al-
Electrostatic discharge devices ways be directly driven via a cou-
(refer to the grounding sketch pling.

5. Two carbon brushes are spring-

biased against the fan input shaft.
Any electrostatic charge will thus
be neutralized via the carbon brus-
hes, their brass holder, and a cu- Foundation
stomer-supplied grounding electro-
Elementary Fan Technology 44

IX. Installation and In dimensioning a fan that is selected vourable flow conditions deviating
dimensioning notes on the basis of measured characteri- greatly from the rating situation, re-
stic curves, care should be taken to sulting in them being unable to attain
compare the envisaged field installa- their operating point on the characte-
2 tion scenario with the measuring set- ristic curve. The following notes are
up used in determining the curves. intended to address this circum-
Fans are quite often fitted under unfa- stance.

9.1 Free-inlet fans without inlet 9.2 Free-outlet axial fan

Let us return to the example from sec-
tion 5.6, paragraph d), where it was cal-
culated that a hub ratio of 0.56 would gi-
ve the outlet velocity CR = 1.46 c1 and
the dynamic pressure pdR = 2.12 pd1.
With this mounting configuration the
pressure recovery will be lost. Accor-
ding to section 5.6, it is equal to 2.12
pd1 - 1.12 pd1 = 1.0 pd1, given that the
hub impact loss amounts to 1.12 pd1
(here it must be checked if this impact
loss is accounted for by the characteri-
stic curve, given the measuring method

The characteristic curves of a fan are

The loss of the pressure recovery of 1 x
always measured with an inlet nozzle
pd (related to the full cross-sectional
on the manufacturer’s test rig. If the
area of the duct) must be added to the
nozzle is eliminated, as shown above,
remaining system resistances when
the flow lines will show the illustrated
computing flow resistance.
pattern due to the sharp flange edges.
Restriction of the flow occurs, resulting It should also be noted when calcula-
in unfavourable impeller inlet conditi- ting system resistances that any equip-
ons. These in turn give rise to perfor- ment fitted directly downstream of the
mance losses, i.e. the fan fails to attain fan (e.g. air heaters) will be exposed to
the rig-testing characteristic curve sta- higher flow velocities in the blade ring
ted in the performance data. area, which in turn will result in higher
drag levels.
45 Elementary Fan Technology

The situation can be improved by in-

stalling such equipment on the inlet
side, or by providing an appropriate
In this case, all other factors being
equal, the outer diffuser diameter
should be 1.25 times the diameter of
the axial-flow fan.
The cross-section of the ring thus be-

AR3 = (1,25D)  – (0,56D) 

2 2
4 4

The above gives CR3 = 0,8 c1 and pdR3

= 0,64 pd1. The outlet impact loss can
thus be reduced significantly.
Diffusers are very sensitive in terms
of their fluid dynamics since fan outlet
flow will never be quite regular. As a
result, the fluid flow may become
detached from the diffusor wall. Such
stall effects increase the resistance
coefficient ζ.
Also, the diffusor and its losses must
actually be deemed part of the duct
system, which makes it difficult to mo-
del its behaviour. Preferably, fan and
diffuser should be measured as an in-
tegral unit, as described in the mea-
suring arrangements in section 5.6.
Another option for reducing outlet los-
ses and improving the flow in down-
stream elements lies in installing a
baffle-plate diffuser, or radial diffuser.
Optimum values for

b D’
 0,15 und  1,5
have been determined through expe-
Elementary Fan Technology 46

9.3 In-duct fans

When installing a fan into a duct sy-
stem, care should be taken to minimi-
2 ze interference and ensure maximum
flow uniformity on the inlet and outlet
side. Arrangements in which the fan
inlet is located directly downstream of
sudden duct expansion or restriction
points, elbows, etc., should be avoi-
ded. In particular, the inlet flow should
not come at an angle or with angular
momentum (swirl), since this may
cause stalling in the impeller or other
severe forms of performance loss.
47 Elementary Fan Technology

9.4 Parallel and in-series operation Since the loop in the resulting charac- the stall point in the case of axial-flow
teristic curve lies close to the apex, a fans).
With parallel fan configurations, a configuration of this type may have
problem may arise if the characteri- three operating points (1, 2, 3) bet- If centrifugal fans are arranged in se-
stic curves of the individual units have ween which the fan alternates (unsta- ries for pressure boosting purposes, 2
a peak or turning point (as is very ble operation). When dimensioning a their inherent design will usually re-
much the case with axial-flow fans). fan for such a system, care must be quire an extended length of ducting
The resulting characteristic will then taken to ensure that one operating between the outlet connection of the
show the following pattern: point will be located sufficiently far to first fan and the inlet of the second
the right of the peak (which would be one. This interconnecting duct can
usually be provided with features
which ensure a proper inlet flow sup-
pt ply to the second stage. In this case,
or ψ the in-series configuration can be ex-
pected to have a y value equal to the
sum of its individual counterparts.
With axial-flow fans, the two stages
are typically mounted one directly be-
hind the other. The disturbed outlet
flow from stage 1 will thus have an im-
mediate effect on the inlet of stage 2.
As a result, the pressure coefficient
should not be expected to exceed a
value of about 1,6.
Individual Resulting
characteristic characteristic

V or ψ

B1: Operating point with one fan run- A1: System curve too high, instable
ning range
B2: Operating point with both fans A2: Properly dimensioned system

10. Overview of old and new units of measurement

Old technical
SI unit unit
Length m m Conversion / Relationships
Time s s kgm
a) Force: 1 kp  9,81 N = 9,81 2 ;
kps2 s
Mass kg m 1 N  0,102 kp
Force N= s2
kp b) Pressure: 1 mm WS  1 kp/m2 
Torque Nm kpm 9,81 Pa  0,0981 mbar

Energy Nm = J kpm 1 Pa  0,102 mm WS 

N kp
0,102 kp/m2  0,01 mbar
Specific gravity ( )m3 m3
kg kps2
Density m3 m4 1mbar  100 Pa  10,2 mm WS
m m
Velocity s s  10,2 kp/m2
m m
Acceleration s2 s2 1 torr = 1 mm Hg = 1,33322 mbar
N kp
Pressure = Pa m2 = 133,32 Pa

Frequency s-1 = Hz s-1 = Hz * Flywheel effect GD2 and mass mo-

Flywheel effect* Nm2 kpm2 ment of inertia J are related by
Moment of inertia* kgm2 GD2 = 4 g · J with g = 9,81s2 J in kgm2
Nm kpm G in N
Power =W , PS
s s D in m