It is common to rate the compressed air consumption in Standard Cubic Feet per Minute - SCFM.
The SCFM - Standard Cubic Feet per Minute - determines the weight of air to fixed or "Standard" conditions. There are several definitions of SCFM. The most common used in the United States is with "sea-level" properties:
Europeans normally use one ata and 0 oC as SCFM.
Unfortunately, real life "actual conditions" are seldom "standard conditions". When
Actual air volume flow is often termed ACFM - Actual Cubic Feet per Minute.
Actual Cubic Feet per Minute - ACFM, depends on the
of the actual air.
The conversion from SCFM to ACFM can be expressed as
ACFM = SCFM [Pstd / (Pact - Psat Φ)](Tact / Tstd) (1)
ACFM = Actual Cubic Feet per Minute
SCFM = Standard Cubic Feet per Minute
Pstd = Standard absolute air pressure (psia)
Pact = absolute pressure at the actual level (psia)
Psat = Saturation pressure at the actual temperature (psi)
Φ = Actual relative humidity
Tact = Actual ambient air temperature (oR)
Tstd = Standard temperature (oR)
- free apps for offline use on mobile devices.
The calculator below can used to calculate ACFM:
The actual CFM of a compressor operating at "non-standard" conditions like
can be calculated as
ACFM = (100 SCFM) [(14.7 psia) / ((12.23 psia) - (0.5069 psia) (80 / 100))]((540 oR) / (520 oR))
Inlet Cubic Feet per Minute - ICFM - is used by compressor vendors to establish conditions in front of additional equipment like inlet filter, blower or booster.
When air passes through the filter there will be a pressure drop. The conversion from ICFM to ACFM can be expressed as
ACFM = ICFM (Pact / Pf) (Tf / Tact) (2)
ICFM = Inlet Cubic Feet per Minute
Pf = Pressure after filter or inlet equipment (psia)
Tf = Temperature after filter or inlet equipment (oR)
The Ideal Gas Law is accurate only at relatively low pressures and high temperatures. To account for the deviation from the ideal situation, another factor is included. It is called the Gas Compressibility Factor, or Z-factor. This correction factor is dependent on pressure and temperature for each gas considered.
The True Gas Law, or the Non-Ideal Gas Law, becomes:
P V = Z n R T (3)
Z = Gas Compressibility Factor
n = number of moles of gas present