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How to Calculate FPM to CFPM

The velocity of airflow is measured in feet per minute (FPM). An anemometer can give you this simple reading in seconds. Converting this measurement to reflect the volume of airflow, measured in cubic feet per minute (CFPM), requires measuring the area of the opening through which the air is flowing.

Once you know the airflow speed, finding the volume is a simple calculation.

Things You Will Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Calculator

The velocity of airflow is measured in feet per minute (FPM).  An anemometer can give you this simple reading in seconds.

Converting this measurement to reflect the volume of airflow, measured in cubic feet per minute (CFPM), requires measuring the area of the opening through which the air is flowing.  Once you have this information at hand, the calculation is straightforward.

  1. Use a measuring tape to get the height and width of a square or rectangular opening. For a round opening, determine the radius by dividing the diameter of the opening in half.
  2. Determine the area of your opening. To find the area of a square or rectangular opening, multiply height by width. A 2 by 4 foot opening would be: 2 x 4 = 8 square feet. For round openings, square the radius of the opening and multiply the square by pi. To calculate a 4-foot round opening: 2 x 2 = 4 x 3.1415 = 12.566 square feet.
  3. Multiply the FPM by the area of the opening. With a velocity of 20 FPM and an area of 12.566, the flow volume would be: 20 x 12.566 = 251.32 CFPM.
  4. Tip

    For openings with an area of less than 1 foot, divide the number of square inches in the area by 144, the number of inches in a cubic foot, to determine the CFPM. A pipe with a 9-inch opening would be: 3 x 3 = 9 x 3.1415 = 28.2735 square inches. Divide this number by 144 to get 0.1963 square feet.

Things You Will Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Calculator

Tip

  • For openings with an area of less than 1 foot, divide the number of square inches in the area by 144, the number of inches in a cubic foot, to determine the CFPM. A pipe with a 9-inch opening would be: 3 x 3 = 9 x 3.1415 = 28.2735 square inches. Divide this number by 144 to get 0.1963 square feet.

About the Author

Finn McCuhil is a freelance writer based in Northern Michigan. He worked as a reporter and columnist in South Florida before becoming fascinated with computers. After studying programming at University of South Florida, he spent more than 20 years heading up IT departments at three tier-one automotive suppliers. He now builds wooden boats in the north woods.

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  • wall vent image by ann triling from Fotolia.com