All About the AMCA-ASHRAE Air Flow Tunnel

By Robert Mudry, P.E., and Dr. Kevin Linfield, P.E.

The AMCA-ASHRAE flow tunnel is a self contained, highly accurate calibrated measurement system that is used in a wide range of industries for flow and pressure drop performance tests.  It features 2% accuracy and is able to measure system air flow rates from 0.1 to 3000 CFM or higher (depending on the model configuration).

100 CFM Air Flow Tunnel

Air Flow Tunnel with 100 CFM capacity

In general, any time you need to measure flow, pressure drop, or velocity through a product, this type of tunnel is beneficial.  Common uses are in the HVAC industry to measure flow in a ductwork system, or pressure drop across products such as air filters, register vents or grilles, dampers, and other components.  Fan performance testing may be undertaken by measuring both the flow rate and the pressure created by a fan.  Fan manufacturers used this information to design their products, and engineers and fan purchasers need this information in order to specify the proper fan for their applications.  Data collection can be manual, writing down values from hand-held instrumentation, or it can be automatically collected by a computer or PLC data logger.

Testing Flow for Vehicle Climate Control System

Testing Flow for a Vehicle Climate Control System

The flow tunnel above shows a configuration for testing a car’s climate control system.  The flow from each of the air conditioning vents, defroster, and floor heating ducts is measured in order to optimize the car’s heating and cooling performance.

Additional example uses include air conditioning vent pressure drop measurements, pressure drop across a mixing device, or military and automobile exhaust systems to obtain pressure versus flow graphs which can be seen in the images below.

Pressure and Flow Testing

Pressure and Flow Testing

As indicated by the name, this measurement system adheres to established industry standards including AMCA Standard 210, ASHRAE Standard 51, and HVI Publication 916. Whatever the flow testing needs are, each custom built flow tunnel can be configured and optimized for each client’s requirements – from 0.1-10 CFM for leakage measurements of an engine cylinder or valve, to massive 60,000 CFM units that are big enough to walk into (Figure 4).

Large Scale Flow Chambers

Large Scale Flow Chambers

Interested in learning more about our flow tunnel offerings? Contact us today.