Repository logo

Convective mass transfer between a hydrodynamically developed airflow and liquid water with and without a vapor permeable membrane



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title




Degree Level



The convective mass transfer coefficient is determined for evaporation in a horizontal rectangular duct, which forms the test section of the transient moisture transfer (TMT) facility. In the test facility, a short pan is situated in the lower panel of the duct where a hydrodynamically fully developed laminar or turbulent airflow passes over the surface of the water. The measured convective mass transfer coefficients have uncertainties that are typically less than ±10% and are presented for Reynolds numbers (ReD) between 560 and 8,100, Rayleigh numbers (RaD) between 6,100 and 82,500, inverse Graetz numbers (Gz) between 0.003 and 0.037, and operating conditions factors (H*) between -3.6 and -1.4. The measured convective mass transfer coefficients are found to increase as ReD, RaD, Gz and H* increase and these effects are included in the Sherwood number (ShD) correlations presented in this thesis, which summarize the experimental data. An analogy between heat and mass transfer is developed to determine the convective heat transfer coefficients from the experimentally determined ShD correlations. The convective heat transfer coefficient is found to be a function of ShD and the ratio between heat and moisture transfer potentials (S*) between the surface of the water and the airflow in the experiment. The analogy is used in the development of a new method that converts a pure heat transfer NuD (i.e., heat transfer with no mass transfer) and a pure mass transfer ShD (i.e., mass transfer with no heat transfer) into NuD and ShD that are for simultaneous heat and mass transfer. The method is used to convert a pure heat transfer NuD from the literature into the NuD and ShD numbers measured in this thesis. The results of the new method agree within experimental uncertainty bounds, while the results of the traditional method do not, indicating that the new method is more applicable than the traditional analogy between heat and mass transfer during simultaneous heat and mass transfer.A numerical model is developed that simulates convective heat and mass transfer for a vapor permeable Tyvek® membrane placed between an airflow and liquid water. The boundary conditions imposed on the surfaces of the membrane within the model are typical of the conditions that are present within the TMT facility. The convective heat and mass transfer coefficients measured in this thesis are applied in the model to determine the heat and moisture transfer through the membrane. The numerical results show that the membrane responds very quickly to a step change in temperature and relative humidity of the air stream. Since the transients occur over a short period of time (less than 1 minute), it is feasible to use a steady-state model to determine the heat and mass transfer rates through the material for HVAC applications.The TMT facility is also used to measure the heat and moisture transfer through a vapor permeable Tyvek® membrane. The membrane is in contact with a water surface on its underside and air is passed over its top surface with convective boundary conditions. The experimental data are used to verify the numerically determined moisture transfer rate through the Tyvek® membrane. The numerical model is able to determine the mass transfer rates for a range of testing conditions within ±26% of the experimental data. The differences between the experiment and the model could be due to a slightly different mass transfer coefficient for flow over Tyvek® than for flow over a free water surface.



Rayleigh, Experimental mass transfer, Evaporation, Sherwood, Rectangular duct, Convection, Reynolds, Boundary layer



Master of Science (M.Sc.)


Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering


Part Of