Development of a Laboratory Verified Single-Duct VAV System Model with Fan Powered Terminal Units Optimized Using Computational Fluid Dynamics
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Single Duct Variable Air Volume (SDVAV) systems use series and parallel Fan Powered Terminal Units to control the air flow in conditioned spaces. This research developed a laboratory verified model of SDVAV systems that used series and parallel fan terminal units where the fan speeds were controlled by either Silicon Controlled Rectifiers (SCR) or Electronically Commutated Motors (ECM) motors. As part of the research, the model was used to compare the performance of the systems and to predict the harmonics generated by ECM systems. All research objectives were achieved. The CFD model, which was verified with laboratory measurements, showed the potential to identify opportunities for improvement in the design of the FPTU and accurately predicted the static pressure drop as air passed through the unit over the full operating range of the FPTU. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models of typical a FPTU were developed and used to investigate opportunities for optimizing the design of FPTUs. The CFD model identified key parameters required to conduct numerical simulations of FPTU and some of the internal components used to manufacture the units. One key internal component was a porous baffle used to enhance mixing when primary air and induced air entered the mixing chamber. The CFD analysis showed that a pressure-drop based on face velocity model could be used to accurately predict the performance of the FPTU. The SDVAV simulation results showed that parallel FPTUs used less energy overall than series systems that used SCR motors as long as primary air leakage was not considered. Simulation results also showed that series ECM FPTUs used about the same amount of energy, within 3 percent, of parallel FPTU even when leakage was not considered. A leakage rate of 10 percent was enough to reduce the performance of the parallel FPTU to the level of the series SCR system and the series ECM FPTUs outperformed the parallel FPTUs at all weather locations used in the study.
single-duct variable air volume
series fan powered terminal unit
parallel fan powered terminal unit
Davis, Michael A. (2010). Development of a Laboratory Verified Single-Duct VAV System Model with Fan Powered Terminal Units Optimized Using Computational Fluid Dynamics. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from