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Modeling of water transport through nanopores of membranes in direct-contact membrane distillation process



In this research, computational fluid dynamic simulation of direct-contact membrane distillation process is carried out. The process consists of a nanoporous flat-sheet membrane as contactor, a saline liquid feed, and permeate phase. The flow pattern is considered to be counter-current. The aim of the process is to produce pure water from saline water. Heat and mass transfer equations are derived and solved for water by finite element analysis. The simulations are then validated by comparing simulation predictions with the experimental data reported in literature. Good agreement was obtained which confirmed the validity of simulation procedure in simulation of water desalination using membrane distillation. Diffusion of water vapor through pores of membrane is simulated by combination of the Knudsen and Poiseuille flow. POLYM. ENG. SCI., 54:660–666, 2014. © 2013 Society of Plastics Engineers