10 Difference Between CFM and SCFM (With Table)

Technological advancement has resulted in the development of electrical systems to replace mechanical systems. Air compressor is one of the oldest mechanical systems still being used today.

There are numerous types of air compressors in the market today. Choosing the best air compressor can be a daunting experience for many people.

But each unit has a unique set of features for different applications. The crucial feature to consider is to first understand the various ratings like cubic feet per minute and standard cubic feet per minute.

So, what is the main difference between CFM and SCFM? The former does not have any standard pressure, volume, and temperature to calculate the volume flow of gas while the latter has standard pressure, volume, and temperature for calculating the volume flow rate of gas.

These non-technical units for measuring gas be confusing to some extent. Keep in mind that standard feature usually varies from one place to another.

But having a standardized and controlled environment will help to measure the rate of flow of a mass in a more efficient manner. It is possible when using SCFM over the CFM unit.

This article provides further differences between CFM and SCFM in a tabular form to facilitate faster understanding. Take the time to read through the article and get to know these concepts.

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Comparison Table (CFM vs SCFM)

Basic Terms CFMSCFM
Stands ForCubic Feet per Minute.Standard Cubic Feet per Minute.
StandardizationNo standardization for CFM value calculation.Has standard pressure, volume, and temperature for SCFM value calculation.
MeasurementProvide smaller values.Provide bigger values.
SignificanceCalculation of higher pressure that makes air volume small.Calculation of lower pressure that makes air volume large.
Calculation ConditionThe pressure must be maintained at 90psi to calculate the CFM value.The gas or air should be expanded to a standard condition of 14.7psi to calculate the SCFM value.
IndicationMore relevant to the internal capacity of an air compressor.Indicate how the gas is pressurized to a standard value to perform at the endpoint of the application.
DescriptionIt is the air volume that occurs at an exact pressure or temperature.Shows the gas volume flow rate in a controlled environment.
Air Pressure LevelHigherLower
ApplicationAir compressorsAir tools.
Type of InventionOld school style measurement unit.Modern style measurement unit.

What Is CFM?

CFM is an abbreviation of Cubic Feet per Minute. There is no exact definition of this term and this could be the reason behind the confusion. Research shows that it is the amount of air volume that occurs at an exact pressure or temperature.

Gases are compressible in nature. It is quite difficult to use this measurement unit to compare one figure with another figure. Besides that, cubic feet per minute does not involve any standardization conditions.

Centrifugal fan is the best example of a constant CFM gadget. It helps to illustrate the air volume that occurs at an exact temperature or pressure. Keep in mind that the values of CFM are smaller for measuring higher pressure.

The controlled condition for CFM values is taken when it is under 90psi. it is usually related to the internal capacity of the air compressor. When calculating the CFM value, there is no standard pressure, volume, and temperature.

What Is SCFM?

SCFM is an abbreviation of Standard Cubic Feet per Minute. Standardized conditions of fixed pressure and temperature help to calculate the molar flow rate of a gas.

SCFM is related to the volume flow rate of a gas by a multiplicative constant which usually depends on the molar mass of the gas.

SCFM is also subjected to standard conditions for relative humidity, pressure, and temperature. The values of SCFM are calculated after the expansion of air in a controlled environment at 14.7psi.

The pressure is usually low and the volume of gas bigger. It is a clear indicator that the values of SCFM are larger than those of CFM.

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Main Difference between CFM and SCFM

  1. CFM stands for Cubic Feet per Minute. SCFM stands for Standard Cubic Feet per Minute.
  2. CFM has smaller numbers. SCFM has larger numbers.
  3. CFM measure higher pressure. SCFM measures lower pressure.
  4. CFM has no standardization of conditions. SCFM has a standardization of conditions.
  5. CFM values taken under 90psi. SCFM values taken under 14.7psi.
  6. CFM is more relevant to the internal capacity of an air compressor. SCFM is indicative of how the gas that is pressurized to a standard value will perform at the endpoint application.

In Conclusion

There are a lot of factors to consider when assigning measurement units. Some units are SI units while others are non-SI units.

SCFM and CFM are two crucial technical units for measuring the molar mass of gas. The main difference between SCFM and CFM is based on standardized conditions.

SCFM is the most preferred measurement unit due to the standard pressure, volume, and temperature. The results are precise and always bigger than those of CFM.

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