Analysis of heat and mass transfer by CFD for performance enhancement in direct contact membrane distillation
Fane, Anthony Gordon
Date of Issue2012
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
A comprehensive analysis on the dominant effects for heat and mass transfer in the direct contact membrane distillation (DCMD) process has been performed with the aid of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations for hollow fiber modules without and with annular baffles attached to the shell wall. Potential enhancement strategies under different circumstances have been investigated. Numerical simulations were carried out to investigate the effect of the MD intrinsic mass-transfer coefficient of the membrane (C) on the performance enhancement for both non-baffled and baffled modules. It was found that the temperature polarization coefficient (TPC) decreases significantly with increasing C value regardless of the existence of baffles, signifying a loss of overall driving force. However, the higher C compensated for this and the mass flux showed an increasing trend. A membrane with a lower C value was found to be less vulnerable to the TP effect. In this case, the introduction of turbulence aids such as baffles did not show substantial effect to improve system performance. In contrast, introducing baffles into the module can greatly enhance the mass flux and the TPC for a membrane with a high C value, where the main heat-transfer resistance is determined by the fluid side boundary layers. The effect of operating temperature on heat and mass transfer in the MD process was also studied with a membrane of a lower C value (2.0 × 10−7 kg m−2 s−1 Pa−1). Although the TPC generally decreased with increasing operating temperatures, the mass flux Nm increased significantly when operating temperature increased. A baffled module showed a more significant improvement than a non-baffle module at a higher temperature. Moreover, it was confirmed that higher operating temperatures are preferable for a substantial improvement in the heat/mass transfer as well as MD thermal efficiency, even with a relatively small transmembrane temperature difference of 10 K.
Journal of membrane science
© 2012 Elsevier. This is the author created version of a work that has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication by Journal of Membrane Science, Elsevier B.V. It incorporates referee’s comments but changes resulting from the publishing process, such as copyediting, structural formatting, may not be reflected in this document. The published version is available at: [DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.memsci.2012.02.035]