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Numerical Analysis of Conjugated Heat and Mass Transfer of Helical Hollow Fiber Membrane Tube Bank for Seawater Distillation

Tao Zeng1,3, Lisheng Deng1,3,*, Jiechao Chen2,*, Hongyu Huang1,3, Hanli Zhuang2
1 Guangzhou Institute of Energy Conversion, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou, 510640, China
2 Dongguan University of Technology, Dongguan, 523808, China
3 Southern Marine Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory (Guangzhou), Guangzhou, 511458, China
* Corresponding Authors: Lisheng Deng. Email: ; Jiechao Chen. Email:
(This article belongs to this Special Issue: New Trends in Sustainable Materials for Energy Conversion, CO2 Capture and Pollution Control)

Journal of Renewable Materials 2022, 10(7), 1845-1858.

Received 18 August 2021; Accepted 22 October 2021; Issue published 07 March 2022


A numerical study on the conjugated heat-mass transfer of helical hollow fiber membrane tube bank (HFMTB) for seawater desalination was carried out. Physical and mathematical models of fluid flow, temperature and humidity distribution were constructed to investigate the influences of flow type, Reynolds number, and temperature on the conjugated heat-mass transfer performance of hollow fibers in the distillation membrane module. The conjugated heat-mass transfer characteristics of HFMTB were discussed by utilizing the friction coefficient, Nusselt number (Nu), and Sherwood number (Sh). Results demonstrate that a distillation efficiency enhancement of 29% compared to the straight HFMTB has been detected for four-helical HFMTB configuration, though the friction coefficient of such a module is about 4 times of their straight counterparts. The values of average Nu and Sh numbers are increasing with tube number, which improves distillation efficiency. The effect of flow type has been studied by employing the upstream and downstream flows to the double-helical HFMTB, demonstrating upstream flow type is more conducive to the heat-mass transfer process. Both the outlet air humidity (ω) and distillation efficiency (η) decrease with the air-side Reynolds number (Rea) and inlet air temperature in the helical HFMTB while increasing with the solution-side Reynolds number (ReS) and inlet solution temperature. Overall, the obtained results indicate that helical HFMTB applying upstream flow has great potential to achieve high-performance SGMD for seawater desalination. It is anticipated that the present work can assist in a better understanding of the membrane desalination process in HFMTB and thus provide theoretical suggestions for further optimization and development.


Helical hollow fiber membrane tube bank; seawater desalination; membrane distillation; numerical simulation; heat and mass transfer

Cite This Article

Zeng, T., Deng, L., Chen, J., Huang, H., Zhuang, H. (2022). Numerical Analysis of Conjugated Heat and Mass Transfer of Helical Hollow Fiber Membrane Tube Bank for Seawater Distillation. Journal of Renewable Materials, 10(7), 1845–1858.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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