HVAC Pipe Sizer - Liquid Online Help

The HVAC Pipe Sizer - Liquid (Android Edition) application allows you to quickly size a pipe run of many different types of liquids (or fluids [we use these terms interchangeably]), pipe material types and a wide variety of fittings.

Quick Start

The following is a list of hints and suggestions to quickly get started using the "Pipe Sizer - Liquid" application:
  1. Size pipe by fluid flow: When the application first opens, select the "Size By Fluid Flow" option to open the screen that allows you to specify the total fluid flow in gallons/minute (GPM) or liters/second (L/s) and one of either pipe head loss, velocity, or diameter to display the resulting exact and nominal pipe diameters and remaining properties.
  2. Hydronic pipe sizing:The "Pipe Sizer - Liquid" app can size pipe for a wide variety of liquids (fluids). However, most people will use it for hydronic (water) pipe sizing. When you first install it, the default selected liquid is "Water - Regular" at 72 degrees F. You can update either the temperature, density, or viscosity of the water to simulate hot or chilled water flowing through the pipes. These values can be updated in the "Additional Pipe Inputs" screen discussed below.
  3. Nominal Pipe Sizing: The Pipe Sizer application includes nominal pipe sizing tables for a subset of all the pipe material types included with this application. Therefore, results for some pipe material types that don't have nominal pipe sizes will display "N/A" under the "Nominal" results column.
  4. Pipe Fitting Equivalent Lengths: The Pipe Sizer application includes fitting equivalent length tables for 11 different fitting types and a limited number of pipe material and connection types. Please see the section titled "Explanation of the Pipe Sizer Formulas" at the end of this help for more details.
  5. Moving the slider control indicator: If you are having trouble moving the little circle (indicator) on any of the slider controls, lightly tap the indicator twice with your finger, and it will "catch" allowing you to slide it to the left or right.

Overview

When you first open the Pipe Sizer application, you will see two selections appear at the top of the device screen:
  1. Size By Fluid Flow: Select this row to open the input screen that allows you to specify total fluid flow and one of either head loss, velocity, or pipe diameter parameters. By specifying any two of these parameters, the app will calculate other relevant results including total pipe head loss. For example, if you specify a fluid flow amount in GPM and a head loss value in feet/100 feet, the total fluid velocity, pipe diameter, and total head loss will be calculated. See the section titled "Pipe Sizer - Liquid (By Fluid Flow) - Inputs" below for more details.
  2. Size By Diameter: Select this row to open the input form that allows you to specify the pipe diameter and one of either velocity or head loss parameters to calculate total fluid flow other relevant results. For example, if you specify an internal pipe diameter and a head loss value in feet/100 feet of pipe, the total fluid flow, velocity, and total head loss will be calculated. See the section titled "Size By Diameter - Inputs" below for more details.

Size By Fluid Flow - Inputs

Select this row to open the form that allows you to select the fluid flow in GPM (L/s) and either the head loss in feet per 100 feet (meters/100 meters), the pipe internal diameter in inches (centimeters) or the velocity of fluid in feet/second (meters/second). This input mode is appropriate for sizing new piping systems. The following is an explanation of each of the input controls:
  1. Fluid Flow (GPM or L/s) Textbox: You can input the fluid flow value in GPM (L/s) directly into this textbox. When you tap within this textbox, a keyboard will pop up allowing you to type in a value. Press the 'Done' button on the keyboard to hide it and register the value (Note that this keyboard appears when you tap within any of the active input textbox controls.). The results will automatically update based upon your newly inputted fluid flow value. You can input a maximum value that appears on the slider control just below this textbox. If you input a value that is greater than the maximum value, then it will be substituted with this maximum value. Read the section titled "Additional Pipe Inputs" for ways to increase or decrease the maximum allowable fluid flow input.
  2. Fluid Flow Slider: This slider control allows you to easily change the fluid flow value by using your finger to slide the indicator to the left or right. As you slide the indicator along this control, the results will immediately update. Also, the value represented by the position of the indicator on the slider control will appear in the fluid flow textbox discussed above. The maximum allowable value for the slider control is displayed at the far right. You can change this value in the "Additional Pipe Inputs" form described below.
  3. Head Loss/Diameter/Velocity Selector: This selector allows you to specify which type of value to input into the textbox discussed in #4 below. If you select "Head Loss", you are able to input the head loss in feet of head per 100 feet of pipe (m/100 meters). If you select "Diameter", you are able to input the internal pipe diameter in inches (centimeters). If you select "Velocity", you are able to input the fluid velocity in feet/second (meters/second). The units are displayed to the right of the text box. In addition, the slider control described in #5 below will update.
  4. Head Loss/Diameter/Velocity Textbox: This textbox allows you to input a head loss, diameter, or velocity value depending upon the selection made in the control described in #3 above. The results will automatically update based upon your newly inputted value. You can input a maximum value that appears on the slider control just below this textbox. If you input a value that is greater than the maximum value, then it will be substituted with this maximum value. Read the section titled "Additional Pipe Inputs" for ways to increase or decrease the maximum allowable fluid flow input.
  5. Head Loss/Diameter/Velocity Slider: This slider control allows you to easily change the head loss, diameter, or velocity value by using your finger to slide the indicator to the left or right. As you slide the indicator along the control, the calculated results will immediately update. Also, the value represented by the position of the indicator on the slider control will appear in the head loss/diameter/velocity textbox discussed above. The maximum allowable value for the slider control is displayed at the far right. You can change this value in the "Additional Pipe Inputs" form described below.

Pipe Sizer - Liquid (By Fluid Flow) - Results

The calculated results are immediately updated as you change values in any of the controls discussed above. Two columns of results are displayed. The column labeled "Calculated" contain results that are precisely calculated without any nominal pipe dimensions involved. However, since most pipes are manufacturered to nominal sizes, the "Nominal" column of data is displayed. This column contains dimensions that are rounded to the nearest nominal pipe dimension. These nominal dimensions are derived from tables that take into account the pipe material type and internal pipe diameter. The resulting head loss and velocity values are also updated. The following is an explanation of all of the result values:
  1. Nominal Pipe Dia: This result displays the nominal pipe diameter for the particular pipe material type and internal pipe diameter. Only the "Nominal" column contains a value while the calculated column will always display "N/A".
  2. Internal Pipe Dia (in or cm): Under the "Calculated" column, this result displays the calculated (or selected) internal pipe diameter. Under the "Nominal" column, it displays the actual internal diameter of the nominal pipe.
  3. Velocity (ft/s or m/s): This result displays the selected or calculated fluid velocity for the calculated and nominal pipe sizes
  4. Head Loss (ft/100ft or m/100m): This result displays the selected or calculated unit pipe head loss for calculated and nominal pipe sizes.
  5. Total Head Loss (ft or m): This result displays the total feet (or meters) of head loss in the pipe taking into account the unit head loss, the total length of pipe (feet or meters), and the total pipe equivalent length of any fittings.

Size By Diameter - Inputs

Select this option to open the form that allows you to select the pipe diameter in inches (cm) and one of either head losss in feet/100 feet (m/100m) or fluid velocity in feet/s (m/s). This input mode is appropriate for analyzing existing piping systems. The following is an explanation of each of the input controls in this mode:
  1. Pipe Diameter (in or cm) Textbox: This textbox allows you to input the internal pipe diameter value in inches (centimeters). The calculated results will automatically update based upon your newly inputted value. You can input a maximum value that appears on the slider control just below this textbox. If you input a value that is greater than the maximum value, then it will be substituted with this maximum value.
  2. Pipe Diameter Slider: A slider control appears below the textbox described above. It allows you to easily change the diameter by using your finger to slide the indicator to the left or right. As you slide the indicator along the control, the results will immediately update. Also, the value represented by the position of the indicator on the slider control will appear in the diameter textbox just above it. The maximum allowable value for the slider control is displayed at the far right. You can change this value in the "Additional Pipe Inputs" form described below.
  3. Head Loss/Velocity Selector: This selector allows you to specify which type of value to input into the textbox discussed in #4 below. If you select "Head Loss", you are able to input the head loss in feet of head per 100 feet (m/100 meters). If you select "Velocity", you are able to input the fluid velocity in feet/second (meters/second). The units are displayed to the right of the text box. In addition, the slider control described in #5 below will update.
  4. Head Loss/Velocity Textbox: This textbox allows you to input a head loss or velocity value depending upon the selection made in the control described in #3 above. The results will automatically update based upon your newly inputted value. You can input a maximum value that appears on the slider control just below this textbox. If you input a value that is greater than the maximum value, then it will be substituted with this maximum value. Please read the section titled "Additional Pipe Inputs" for ways to increase or decrease the maximum allowable head loss/velocity input.
  5. Head Loss/Velocity Slider: This slider control allows you to easily change the head loss or velocity value by using your finger to slide the indicator to the left or right. As you slide the indicator along the control, the calculated results will immediately update. Also, the value represented by the position of the indicator on the slider control will appear in the head loss/velocity textbox discussed above. The maximum allowable value for the slider control is displayed at the far right. You can change this value in the "Additional Pipe Inputs" form described below.

Size By Dimensions - Results

The calculated results are immediately updated as you change values in any of the controls discussed above. Two columns of results are displayed. The column labeled "Calculated" contain results that are precisely calculated without any nominal pipe dimensions involved. However, since most piping is manufactured to nominal sizes, the "Nominal" column of data is displayed. This column contains dimensions that are rounded to the nearest nominal pipe diameter. These nominal diameters are derived from tables that are based upon the pipe material type an the internal pipe diameter. The resulting head loss and velocity values are also updated. The following is an explanation of all of the result values:
  1. Nominal Pipe Dia: This result displays the nominal pipe diameter for the particular pipe material type and internal pipe diameter. Only the "Nominal" column contains a value while the calculated column will always display "N/A".
  2. Fluid Flow (GPM or L/s):The same fluid flow value in GPM (L/s) is displayed under both the "Calculated" and "Nominal" columns as the user updates the internal diameter and other properties.
  3. Velocity (ft/s or m/s): This result displays the selected or calculated fluid velocity in ft/s (m/s).
  4. Head Loss (ft/100ft or m/100m): This result displays the selected (or calculated) unit pipe head loss.
  5. Total Head Loss (ft or m): This result displays the total feet (or meters) of head loss in the pipe taking into account the unit head loss, the total length of pipe (feet or meters), and the total pipe equivalent length of any fittings.

Additional Pipe Inputs

This screen is accessed by clicking the round button with the "i" inside it located at the top right-hand portion of the main pipe input screen. The form will flip around and a number of additional pipe inputs will appear. The following is an explanation of each input:
  1. Fluid Type: This input allows you to specify the type of fluid (liquid) that is flowing through the pipe. Each fluid type represents a set of fluid properties including temperature, density, and viscosity. Select the button inside this input cell to display a new screen that allows you to select from one of the following fluid types:
    1. Acetone
    2. Alcohol, Ethyl
    3. Alcohol, Methyl
    4. Ammonia
    5. Fuel Oil #1
    6. Fuel Oil #6
    7. Gasoline
    8. Oil, SAE-5W
    9. Oil, SAE-20W
    10. Oil, SAE-50
    11. Water - Salt (5%)
    12. Water - Salt (25%)
    13. Water - Regular

    As you select each fluid type, the fluid temperature, density, and viscosity values will update in the text boxes below the picker control. Please note that for all fluids except for "Water - Regular", there are no corresponding temperatures (they are not required in the pipe sizing calculations). The text "N/A" will be displayed instead of a temperature value. Press the "Back" button to return to the previous form, and the newly selected fluid type will appear along with the corresponding fluid properties.
  2. Fluid Temperature (F or C): This value is automatically updated according to the fluid type that you selected above You can also override this value. Please note that this input is only enabled if the fluid type is "Water - Regular". All other fluids do not require a temperature for the sizing calculations. As you upate this value, the density and viscosity values will also update since these values are dependent upon the water temperature.
  3. Fluid Density (lb/ft^3 or kg/m^3): The fluid density is automatically updated according to the fluid type that you selected above. It represents the weight of the fluid per unit volume. You can override this value for any type of fluid, but if the fluid type is "Water - Regular", the temperature and viscosity values will also update since these values are dependent upon the water density.
  4. Fluid Viscosity (ft^2/s or m^2/s): The fluid viscosity is automatically updated according to the fluid type that you selected above. It represents the fluid resistance to shear or flow. You can override this value for any type of fluid, but if the fluid type is "Water - Regular", the temperature and density values will also update since these values are dependent upon the water viscosity.
  5. Pipe Material: This input allows you to specify the type of pipe material. Each pipe material type represents a pipe roughness value. Select the button inside this input cell to display a new screen that allows you to select from one of the following pipe material types:
    1. Steel, Schedule 10
    2. Steel, Schedule 40 Galv.
    3. Steel, Schedule 80 Galv.
    4. Copper, Type L
    5. Copper, Type K
    6. Brass Tubing, Regular
    7. Brass Tubing, Extra Strong
    8. Other
    9. Cast Iron, Plain
    10. Cast Iron, Tar Coated
    11. Cast Iron, Cement Lined
    12. Cast Iron, Bituminous Lined
    13. Galvanized Iron, Plain
    14. Wrought Iron, Plain
    15. Concrete
    16. Cement - Asbestos
    17. Vitrified Clay
    18. Brick Sewer
    19. Plastic
    20. Fiberglass
    21. PVC (Schedule 40)
    22. PVC (Schedule 80)
    23. Copper, Type M

    As you select each pipe material type, the pipe roughness value will update in the text box below the picker control. Press the "Back" button to return to the previous form, and the newly selected pipe material type will appear along with the pipe roughness value.
    Please note that the pipe material is also important for determining the nominal pipe sizes and the fitting equivalent length values. See the "Explanation of the Pipe Sizer Formulas" section below for more information about the pipe sizing calculations.
  6. Pipe Roughness (ft or m): This input allows you to specify the pipe roughness value in feet or meters. This value is automatically updated according to the pipe material you selected above. However, you can also override this value.
  7. Total Length of Pipe (ft or m): This input allows you to specify the total length of pipe (not including equivalent length of fittings).
  8. Total Fitting Quantities: This input is a read-only value representing the total quantity of fittings that is inputted in the next screen that is accessed by clicking the button within this input cell. This next screen displays a list of 11 common pipe fittings, including:
    1. Regular 90 deg. ell
    2. Long Radius 90 deg. ell
    3. Regular 45 deg. ell
    4. Tee-line flow
    5. Tee-branch flow
    6. 180 deg. return bend
    7. Globe valve
    8. Gate valve
    9. Angle valve
    10. Swing check valve
    11. Coupling/Union

    Each of these fittings represents a pipe equivalent length value for certain types of pipe material types (discussed more below). These pipe equivalent lengths are added to the total pipe length to derive the total head loss in feet or meters.
    You can input quantities up to 1000 for each of the listed fittings. In addition, you can specify the fitting connection type by clicking the button within each input cell to display a picker control that allows you to select either "Screwed" or "Flanged" fitting connection type. As an added feature, you can shake your device (if this functionality is activated in the "Global Settings" form) to reset all of the quantities to 0 and all the fitting connection types to "Screwed". You will be asked for confirmation prior to reset. After you have completed inputting the quantities and selecting the fitting connection types, press the "Back" button at the top of the screen to return to the previous screen. The total quantity of fittings will now display.
  9. Max Fluid Flow (GPM or L/s): This input allows you to specify the maximum allowable fluid flow input. After returning to the main piping input screen, the slider control will update according to the new value. You will not be allowed to specify a value greater than the maximum fluid flow.
  10. Max Head Loss (ft/100 ft or m/100m): This input allows you to specify the maximum allowable unit pipe head loss input. After returning to the main piping input screen, the slider control will update according to the new value. You will not be allowed to specify a value greater than the maximum head loss.
  11. Max. Pipe Diameter (in or cm): This input allows you to specify the maximum allowable pipe diameter input. After returning to the main piping input screen, the slider control will update according to the new value. You will not be allowed to specify a value greater than the maximum pipe diameter.
  12. Max Velocity (f/s or m/s): This input allows you to specify the maximum allowable fluid velocity input. After returning to the main piping input screen, the slider control will update according to the new value. You will not be allowed to specify a value greater than the maximum fluid velocity.
As an added feature, you can shake the device and the values in this form will reset to the initial settings that existed when you first installed the Pipe Sizer application. You will be asked for confirmation prior to reset. This feature can be disabled in the "Global Settings" form discussed below.

To return to the main piping input screen, click the button at the top right of the screen, and the form will "flip" over revealing the main piping inputs.

Global Settings Tab

This screen can be accessed by selecting the "Global Settings" tab on the home-page screen that first appears when you start the Pipe Sizer application. The following is an explanation of each of the inputs:
  1. Display Units: This selector allows you to specify whether to display all values in English (Imperial - IP) or Metric (SI) units. When you return to the main piping input screen, all values will reflect the new units.
  2. Where to Display Results on Screen: This selector allows you to specify where to display the calculated results on the device screen. You can display them at the top or the bottom. When you run the program for the first time, the inputs will appear at the botom of the screen and the results will appear at the top.
  3. Shake Device to Reset Values: This selector allows you to specify whether to activate the device "shake" (or accelerometer) functionality in two of the input screens of the Pipe Sizer application:
    1. By shaking the device in the "Additional Pipe Inputs" screen, you can reset the values to the initial settings that existing when you first installed the Pipe Sizer application. You will be asked for confirmation prior to reset.
    2. By shaking the device in the "Total Fitting Quantities" screen, you can reset the quantities to 0 and fitting connection types to "Screwed". You will be asked for confirmation prior to reset.
  4. Copy Values Between Calc. Modes: This selector allows you to specify whether the input/output values are copied between the 2 different input modes (By Fluid Flow or By Diameter). If you specify "Yes", the outputs from one mode will be copied to the inputs of the other mode and vice versa. This is useful for doing simple "what-if" analysis. Specify "No", if you want each input mode to maintain separate values.

Explanation of the Pipe Sizer Formulas

The formulas used to calculate the piping results are derived from the ASHRAE Handbook of Fundamentals. We use iterative techniques to provide the most accurate results as possible. These iterative equations work best for fluids with high Reynold's numbers (or very low viscosity values). For fluids with Reynold's numbers less than 2000, the equations are not as accurate. For example, Fuel Oil #6 will produce just approximate results.

Pipe Fitting Equivalent Lengths

The pipe fitting equivalent length tables that come with the Pipe Sizer app are only for steel and cast-iron piping. In addition, they only accomodate sizes up to a maximum of 24" diameter for flanged connections (less for screwed). For pipe material types other than steel and cast-iron, no equivalent lengths will be calculated.

Nominal Pipe Sizes

The nominal pipe sizing tables that come with the Pipe Sizer app are for the following pipe material types, only:
  1. Steel, Schedule 10
  2. Steel, Schedule 40 Galv.
  3. Steel, Schedule 80 Galv.
  4. Copper, Type L
  5. Copper, Type K
  6. Brass Tubing, Regular
  7. Brass Tubing, Extra Strong
  8. Cast Iron, Plain
  9. Cast Iron, Cement Lined
  10. PVC (Schedule 40)
  11. PVC (Schedule 80)
  12. Copper, Type M

In addition, the maximum nominal sizes vary for each pipe material type with the maximum being 24" for several types. For pipe material types other than those listed above, no values will be displayed in nominal diameter results text boxes.

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