Virtual Airflow Calculator

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A comprehensive tutorial on virtual airflow and its associated calculations based on enclosure size, target air changes, and the target air handler/fan's airflow. This tutorial is applicable to the fields of Mechanical and Environmental Engineering.

The principle of virtual airflow is a crucial aspect within the disciplines of Mechanical and Environmental Engineering. It involves the calculation of the volume of air flowing in an enclosed space, which is determined by factors such as enclosure dimensions, target air changes, and the performance characteristics of the air handling units or fans involved. This tutorial will guide you through the associated calculations and formulas, and their real-world applications.

Virtual Airflow Calculator
Per Hour
Virtual Airflow Calculator Results
Enclosure Area = Square Feet
Enclosure Volume = Cubic Feet
Complete Air Recycle Every = Minutes
Hourly Air Volume = Cubic Feet
CFM Fan Requirement = CFM
Quantity Of Target Fans Required =

Example Formula

The formula for calculating virtual airflow can be represented as:

VAF = (L × W × H × AC) / 60


  1. VAF: Virtual Airflow (in cubic feet per minute, CFM)
  2. L: Length of the enclosure (in feet)
  3. W: Width of the enclosure (in feet)
  4. H: Height of the enclosure (in feet)
  5. AC: Target Air Changes (in changes per hour)

Impact on Society

While the specific creator of this formula is not known, its development and application have had significant implications in various sectors. From the design and operation of HVAC systems in buildings, to maintaining safe and efficient environments in industrial spaces and healthcare facilities, the concept of virtual airflow has played a crucial role. By facilitating the control of indoor air quality and thermal comfort, it contributes to healthier living and working environments, energy efficiency, and the sustainable operation of built environments.

Real Life Application in Industry

The principles and calculations of virtual airflow find application in diverse sectors. HVAC engineers in construction and building services industries use these calculations to design and optimize air conditioning systems. In the healthcare industry, they are essential for designing ventilation systems in hospitals and labs to prevent the spread of airborne diseases. In manufacturing, especially in industries such as electronics or pharmaceuticals, controlling airflow is crucial to maintain cleanroom standards.

Key Individuals in the Discipline

Although the exact individuals behind the concept of virtual airflow are not known, pioneers such as Willis Carrier (known as the father of air conditioning) and Nikolay Lvov (known for his work in ventilation) have made significant contributions to the broader field of air conditioning and ventilation.

Interesting Facts

Here are some intriguing facts about virtual airflow and its impact:

  • The principles of virtual airflow are not only important for human comfort but also play a vital role in processes like data center cooling and greenhouse climate control.
  • The concept of virtual airflow has become even more critical with the advent of energy-efficient building design and the increasing emphasis on indoor air quality.
  • The ability to accurately calculate and control virtual airflow has direct implications on energy consumption in buildings, which is a key factor in the fight against climate change.


Understanding the calculations and principles of virtual airflow is crucial for Mechanical and Environmental Engineers involved in the design and operation of ventilation and air conditioning systems. These principles not only influence the comfort and health of building occupants but also impact the energy efficiency and environmental sustainability of our built environments.