Abstract

Computational fluid dynamics simulations are conducted to study the performance of the sweeping gas membrane distillation module (SGMD) for seawater desalination process. The main objective of this work is to study the effect of membrane properties on the membrane flux performance and temperature and concentration polarization characteristics of the module. CFD simulations are conducted in a three-dimensional module to characterize the steady-state velocity, temperature and concentration field in the feed and permeate channel. The Reynolds number for the feed and the permeate stream are set to 900 and 2000, and thus the laminar flow model is adapted for each channel. The effects of the porosity and the membrane thickness are varied while the pore size is fixed for the parametric study. It is revealed that the membrane thickness has a profound influence while the membrane porosity has a slight influence on the SGMD performance. We observed a high level of temperature polarization within the module, which adversely affects the system performance. Remedies for mitigating temperature polarization should be considered for future studies.

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