What is Humidification Process?
The process in which the moisture or water vapor or humidity is added to the air without changing its dry bulb (DB) temperature is called as humidification process. This process is represented by a straight vertical line on the psychrometric chart starting from the initial value of relative humidity, extending upwards and ending at the final value of the relative humidity. In actual practice the pure humidification process is not possible, since the humidification is always accompanied by cooling or heating of the air. Humidification process along with cooling or heating is used in number of air conditioning applications. Let us see how these processes are obtained and how they are represented on the psychrometric chart.
Cooling and Humidification Process
Cooling and humidification process is one of the most commonly used air conditioning application for the cooling purposes. In this process the moisture is added to the air by passing it over the stream or spray of water which is at temperature lower than the dry bulb temperature of the air. When the ordinary air passes over the stream of water, the particles of water present within the stream tend to get evaporated by giving up the heat to the stream. The evaporated water is absorbed by the air so its moisture content, thus the humidity increases. At the same time, since the temperature of the absorbed moisture is less than the DB bulb temperature of the air, there is reduction in the overall temperature of the air. Since the heat is released in the stream or spray of water, its temperature increases.
One of the most popular applications of cooling and humidification is the evaporative cooler, also called as the desert cooler. The evaporative cooler is the sort of big box inside which is a small water tank, small water pump and the fan. The water from the tank is circulated by the pump and is also sprayed inside the box. The fan blows strong currents of air over the water sprays, thus cooling the air and humidifying it simultaneously. The evaporative cooler is highly effective cooling devise having very low initial and running cost compared to the unitary air conditioners. For cooling purposes, the cooling and humidification process can be used only in dry and hot climates like desert areas, countries like India, China, Africa etc. This cooling process cannot be used in hot and high humidity climates.
The cooling and humidification process is also used in various industries like textile, where certain level of temperature and moisture content has to be maintained. In such cases large quantity of water is sprayed, and large blowers are used to blow the air over the spray of water.
During the cooling and humidification process the dry bulb of the air reduces, its wet bulb and the dew point temperature increases, while its moisture content and thus the relative humidity also increases. Also, the sensible heat of the air reduces, while the latent heat of the air increases resulting in the overall increase in the enthalpy of the air.
Cooling and humidification process is represented by an angular line on the psychrometric chart starting from the given value of the dry bulb temperature and the relative humidity and extending upwards toward left.
Heating and Humidification Process
In heating and humidification psychrometric process of the air, the dry bulb temperature as well as the humidity of the air increases. The heating and humidification process is carried out by passing the air over spray of water, which is maintained at temperature higher than the dry bulb temperature of air or by mixing air and the steam.
When the ordinary air is passed over the spray of water maintained at temperature higher than the dry bulb temperature of the air, the moisture particles from the spray tend to get evaporated and get absorbed in the air due to which the moisture content of the air increase. At the same time, since the temperature of the moisture is greater than the dry bulb temperature of the air, there is overall increase in its temperature.
During heating and humidification process the dry bulb, wet bulb, and dew point temperature of the air increases along with its relative humidity. The heating and humidification process is represented on the psychrometric chart by an angular line that starts from the given value of the dry bulb temperature and extends upwards towards right (see the figure below).