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Research Papers: Evaporation, Boiling, and Condensation

Effect of Moisture Transfer Through a Semipermeable Membrane on Condensation/Frosting Limit

[+] Author and Article Information
S. Niroomand

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Saskatchewan,
57 Campus Drive,
Saskatoon, SK S7N 5A9, Canada
e-mail: s.niroomand@usask.ca

M. T. Fauchoux, C. J. Simonson

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Saskatchewan,
57 Campus Drive,
Saskatoon, SK S7N 5A9, Canada

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Heat Transfer Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF HEAT TRANSFER. Manuscript received March 6, 2018; final manuscript received July 25, 2018; published online September 25, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Evelyn Wang.

J. Heat Transfer 140(12), 121504 (Sep 25, 2018) (11 pages) Paper No: HT-18-1133; doi: 10.1115/1.4041185 History: Received March 06, 2018; Revised July 25, 2018

This paper investigates frost formation on a flat horizontal surface, with humid air flowing over the surface and a cold liquid desiccant flowing below the surface. Two different surfaces, a semipermeable membrane and an impermeable plate, are tested. The condensation/frosting limit, that is, the lowest air humidity ratio, Wair, at a constant liquid temperature, Tliq, or the highest Tliq at a constant Wair that leads to condensation/frosting, is determined for each surface. The main aim of this study is to find the effect of moisture transfer through the semipermeable membrane on the condensation/frosting limit. It is found that the semipermeable membrane has a lower condensation/frosting limit, due to the moisture transfer through the semipermeable membrane, which dehumidifies the air flow. For a given Wair, the surface temperature can be approximately 5 to 8 °C lower when using a semipermeable membrane, compared to an impermeable plate, before condensation/frosting occurs. Furthermore, it is shown that at some operating conditions, frost appears on the semipermeable membrane only at the air flow entrance of the test section, while the impermeable plate was fully covered with frost at the same operating conditions. Moreover, it is shown that increasing the moisture transfer rate through the semipermeable membrane decreases the frosting limit and delays frost formation.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Schematic of (a) the test facility and (b) the test section

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Fig. 2

Photograph of (a) the top view of the ProporeTM permeable membrane and (b) the membrane and the supporting non-woven fabric

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Fig. 3

Direct contact angle measurements for (a) the impermeable plate and (b) the semipermeable membrane

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Fig. 4

Schematic of the surface with air flow on the top and liquid flow under the surface, and the equivalent thermal resistance circuit

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Fig. 5

Change in Tsurf,air along the test section. The measured values are indicated by a around the symbol.

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Fig. 6

Condensation on an impermeable plate, when Wair = 5.8 gw/kgair and Tliq = −3.1 °C at the airflow inlet (X1), middle (X2), and outlet (X3) of the test section: (a) time = 0 min, (b) time = 10 min, (c) time = 45 min, (d) time = 90 min, and (e) time = 110 min

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Fig. 7

Condensation on a semipermeable membrane, when Wair = 6.3 gw/kgair and Tliq = −3.1 °C at the airflow inlet (X1), middle (X2), and outlet (X3) of the test section: (a) time = 0 min, (b) time = 10 min, (c)time = 45 min, (d) time = 90 min, and (e) time = 110 min

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Fig. 8

Partial frost growth on an impermeable plate with Wair = 3.7 gw/kgair and Tliq = −7.5 °C

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Fig. 9

Partial frost growth on a membrane with Wair =3.5 gw/kgair, and Tliq = −7.5 °C

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Fig. 10

Frost growth on an impermeable plate with Wair = 7.5 gw/kgair and Tliq = −11.8 °C: (a) time = 2 min, (b) time = 10 min, (c) time = 30 min, and (d) time = 120 min

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Fig. 11

Frost growth on a membrane with Wair = 7.5 gw/kgair, and Tliq =−11.8 °C: (a) time = 10 min, (b) time = 30 min, and (c) time = 120 min

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Fig. 12

Test points showing operating condition with condensation/frost and without condensation/frost on an impermeable plate (dashed lines are plotted to help visualization and shows the condensation/frost (C/F) limits)

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Fig. 13

Test points showing operating condition with condensation/frost and without condensation/frost on a semipermeable membrane (dashed lines are plotted to help visualization and shows the condensation/frost (C/F) limits)

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Fig. 14

Time to initiation of frost on a semipermeable membrane as a function of Wair and Tliq

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Fig. 15

Frost growth on a membrane at Time = 150 min with Wair = 3.4 gw/kgair, Tliq = −7.5 °C, and Cliq = 35% at the inlet (X1), middle (X2), and oulet (X3) of the test section

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