Fundamentals, Design & Control of Air-conditioning Systems

By Francis W. H. Yik, BSc, MSc, PhD, DEng, MHKIE, MIMechE, FCIBSE

© Francis W. H. Yik 2020

Whilst the author reserves the copyright of this book, readers are free to read and share this book with students and practitioners of air-conditioning engineering. Use of materials in this book in other publications is permitted provided citation is made to this book.

This book is dedicated to students and practitioners in the field of building services engineering in Hong Kong and elsewhere.

Francis Yik graduated from the University of Hong Kong in 1980 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. He practiced as a building services consulting engineer and was awarded an MSc degree in mechanical engineering, also by the University of Hong Kong, before joining the Department of Building Services Engineering of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (then called Hong Kong Polytechnic) in 1987 as a lecturer. Francis became a Professor in 1999 and was awarded a higher doctorate in engineering (DEng) in 2009 by his alma mater, the University of Northumbria at Newcastle, UK where he acquired his PhD degree in 1993. He re-joined the industry in 2013 and worked for ATAL Engineering Group. He retired from full time employment as Technical Director of the group in 2017, and part-time employment as a Technical Consultant in 2020.

The following was said about Francis during the ceremony in which he was awarded the higher doctorate in 2009:

Professor Wai Hung Francis Yik is a professor in the Department of Building Services Engineering at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and we are delighted to be awarding him the Higher Doctorate today in recognition of the significant contribution he has made to the field of Building Services Engineering.

His extensive record of published academic research has made a real contribution to his profession and is likely to have a lasting impact on the lives of others.

Professor Yik, 52, qualified with a PhD in Building Services Engineering at Northumbria in 1993. A recognised expert in this field, he has made a significant contribution to the science and engineering practice of air conditioning design and operation through his teaching, research and consultancy.

 A recipient of the Dufton Silver Medal from the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers, Professor Yik has acted as a visiting professor at Northumbria and collaborated with academics from the School of Built Environment in a number of published works, including a joint project to raise the professional profile of building services engineers in Hong Kong.

Professor Yik’s Higher Doctorate marks his vital contribution to our understanding of air conditioning design and operation in humid sub-tropical climates and complements his most recent work, which has focused on construction, economics and research in support of the various professions that contribute to the wider built environment.

This book on air-conditioning systems is dedicated to students and practising engineers in the field of building services engineering or, as is more widely known in North America, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) in buildings. It focuses on the range of central air-conditioning systems that are common or emerging in modern buildings. Nevertheless, adequate coverage is given to the fundamentals underpinning air-conditioning engineering, especially on psychrometric principles, heat transfer in buildings related to cooling load calculation and thermal comfort of building occupants, and on air and water flows in air-conditioning systems and equipment.

Selection of topics to be covered in the book was based on the knowledge that one would need to carry out design and operation & maintenance of air-conditioning systems in modern buildings, especially on designs and measures for enhancing energy efficiency. The breadth and depth of coverage of the topics were tuned in the light of the author’s experience in system design, teaching on under- and post-graduate courses, and delivering technical training for practising engineers. The objectives are to enable the targeted readers to understand the working principles and, on that basis, to carry out design for new systems as well as performance evaluation and analysis for existing systems.

Although the book may be used as a textbook for under- and post-graduate courses on air-conditioning engineering, its coverage on individual topics has not been adjusted to suit the limits on teaching hours of standard modules offered in universities. The instructor will need to be selective in using the materials in classes, but students are encouraged to read the complete chapters on the relevant topics. Practising building services engineers, especially air-conditioning system design engineers, will find the book a useful reference to their work, including for refreshment and supplement of their knowledge, and for new knowledge that had not been covered in the courses they attended previously.

In Chapter 1 of this book, a brief review is given of the impact of air-conditioning on the form and shape of buildings and the efficiency of land use, with Hong Kong taken as an example. A brief introduction is given on the types of air-conditioning systems that are employed in various types of buildings. An overview is then given of the dominance of air-conditioning in the energy consumption of buildings and, in turn, of buildings in the overall energy use of a modern city in a subtropical climate region, followed by a world energy scene and concerns about climate change.

Chapter 2 is dedicated to psychrometry, with emphasis on the definitions of psychrometric properties and their evaluation from two known properties, and on the heat and mass transfers in air-conditioning processes and cycles. These serve as the basis for measurement of moist air state, evaluation of human thermal comfort, and for air-conditioning system design. Appendix A covers the calculations involved in the development of a computing tool for plotting a digital psychrometric chart and for psychrometric properties evaluation.

Cooling load estimation, another topic on basics, is covered in Chapter 3, which includes techniques employed to model heat transfer in buildings and an outline of the current standard cooling load calculation method, the radiant time series (RTS) method, with the key steps illustrated by numerical examples. The methods for generating the required data for design cooling load calculation for buildings in a particular location are covered in this chapter. The design cooling load calculation data for Hong Kong are summarized in Appendix B.

Chapter 4 is on the functions, features, working principles, and performance of various air-side air-conditioning systems commonly used and emerging in modern buildings. Details of the steps and calculations involved in the design process will be explained and illustrated by numerical examples. Besides conventional systems, chilled ceiling/beam systems are covered in detail. Space air diffusion design, duct sizing, fan-duct systems, mechanical ventilation analyses and duct leakage test are covered in Chapter 5. Air balancing is deferred to Chapter 7 where air and water balancing are covered in one go. Likewise, estimation of variable speed fan power demand is deferred to Chapter 9 where the method for estimation of variable speed pump/fan power demand is discussed.

Water side air-conditioning systems are covered in Chapters 6 to 8. The major kinds of equipment in typical water-side air-conditioning systems are covered in Chapter 6, which includes chillers, pumps, cooling towers and heat exchangers. Substantial coverage is given on the theory and application of cooling towers for condenser heat rejection, which is widely used as a much more energy efficient alternative to air-cooled chillers. The cause and treatment of white plumes from cooling towers are also discussed in detail.

The configuration, operating principle and performance of various chilled water pumping systems, including the variable primary flow systems that are increasingly used nowadays, are discussed in Chapter 7. As mentioned above, air and water system balancing are covered in this chapter. Chapter 8 covers pipe sizing and selection of control valves, including in depth discussions on control characteristics of systems and various problems that may arise with improper selection of control valve.

Chapter 9 is dedicated to operational control and control optimization for minimizing the energy use of central chiller plants and air-side systems, and their integration into a method for whole system control optimization. Its coverage includes methods for modelling chillers and cooling towers that can cope with a much wider range of system parameters that may be varied in control optimization. For completeness, Chapter 10 is included to cover heating load estimation and heating system designs and equipment, including boilers, radiators, floor heating panels, hot water piping systems, heat recovery chillers and heat pumps, and absorption and adsorption chillers. Some materials in this chapter were adapted from teaching materials of Prof. Chris Underwood, my PhD supervisor and good friend, and ex-colleague, Dr. T. Y. Chen.

F W H Yik
Hong Kong, 2020

To download, please follow the links below and then click on the PDF download button in the toolbar at the top or bottom of each page:

  1. Full version
  2. Title page, about the author and preface
  3. Table of contents

Individual chapters and appendices for reading, leaving comments and download


FDCACS Chapter 1

Fundamentals, Design & Control of Air-conditioning Systems Table of Contents Chapter 1 – Introduction Share this page Share on facebook Share on twitter Share on linkedin Share on whatsapp Share on email

Read More »

FDCACS Chapter 2

Fundamentals, Design & Control of Air-conditioning Systems Table of Contents Chapter 2 – Psychrometry Share this page Share on facebook Share on twitter Share on linkedin Share on whatsapp Share on email

Read More »

FDCACS Chapter 3

Fundamentals, Design & Control of Air-conditioning Systems Table of Contents Chapter 3 – Building Heat Transfer and Cooling Load Calculation Share this page Share on facebook Share on twitter Share on linkedin Share on whatsapp Share on email

Read More »

FDCACS Chapter 4

Fundamentals, Design & Control of Air-conditioning Systems Table of Contents Chapter 4 – Air Side Air-conditioning Systems Share this page Share on facebook Share on twitter Share on linkedin Share on whatsapp Share on email

Read More »
Scroll to Top