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Mass Transport Limitations Through Porous Hydrophobic Membranes

[+] Author Affiliations
Nicholas Cappello, Deborah Pence, James Liburdy

Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR

Paper No. FEDSM2013-16559, pp. V01CT17A017; 12 pages
  • ASME 2013 Fluids Engineering Division Summer Meeting
  • Volume 1C, Symposia: Gas-Liquid Two-Phase Flows; Industrial and Environmental Applications of Fluid Mechanics; Issues and Perspectives in Automotive Flows; Liquid-Solids Flows; Multiscale Methods for Multiphase Flow; Noninvasive Measurements in Single and Multiphase Flows; Numerical Methods for Multiphase Flow; Transport Phenomena in Energy Conversion From Clean and Sustainable Resources; Transport Phenomena in Materials Processing and Manufacturing Processes; Transport Phenomena in Mixing; Turbulent Flows: Issues and Perspectives
  • Incline Village, Nevada, USA, July 7–11, 2013
  • Conference Sponsors: Fluids Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5556-0
  • Copyright © 2013 by ASME


Understanding the behavior of commercially available hydrophobic polymer membranes is important for applications where separating a gas (or vapor) from a two-phase mixture with liquid is beneficial. For example, in-situ vapor extraction can be used in microscale heat sinks to improve heat transfer and flow stability. In this paper, two working fluids (air and water, the latter in both superheated vapor and saturated liquid-vapor states) were experimentally studied flowing through membranes having an interconnected web of polytetra-fluoroethylene (PTFE) nanofibers. These membranes have a manufacturer specified average pore diameter of 0.45 μm and are supplied with an integrated mesh backing. Flow rate was acquired as a function of driving pressure differentials across the membrane. A linear variation in mass transport as a function of the applied pressure difference across a porous membrane is expected for Darcy flow conditions. However, for superheated vapor and air at the flow conditions studied here, mass transport does not vary linearly with pressure differential. Rather, transport of both air and superheated vapor is influenced by structural changes to the membrane. The structural changes are known as compaction and result from the applied pressure differential. Two models are considered to account for reduced transport resulting from membrane compaction. For saturated liquid-vapor studies, the departure from a linear relation between vapor extraction and applied pressure difference is more drastic than that compared to the single-phase studies, suggesting influences in addition to compaction. These influences are believed to be two-phase hydrodynamics as well as possible condensation within the membrane.

Copyright © 2013 by ASME
Topics: Membranes



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