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Evaluation of MD process performance: Effect of backing structures and membrane properties under different operating conditions

: Winter, D.; Koschikowski, J.; Düver, D.; Hertel, P.; Beuscher, U.


Desalination 323 (2013), pp.120-133
ISSN: 0011-9164
Journal Article
Fraunhofer ISE ()
Solarthermie und Optik; Solarthermie; Systemintegration und Netze – Strom; Wärme; Gas; Regenerative Stromversorgung; Dezentrale Wasseraufbereitung

The paper presents investigations on the process performance of different membranes with and without backing structure in direct contact membrane distillation. Influences of backing structures and their orientation are identified. An integrated membrane and backing model was developed. Laminates with different backing designs were examined over a wide range of operating conditions and compared to results for the same membranes without backing. Experimental results and model predictions for flux and thermal efficiency are compared. The model predictions agree well with the experimental results. An influence on the effective area for diffusion, an increase in effective diffusion path length in the membrane and the formation of a complex network of thermal resistances are considered to be the main effects, leading to a significant reduction in process performance due to backing structures. The backing was identified to be one of the key components for further improvement i n MD applications. An integrated assessment of membrane properties in combination with backing structures was carried out by analysing membranes with different thicknesses and different pore sizes. The experimental observations show good agreement with theoretical considerations. A combined analysis of specific flux and thermal efficiency leads to comprehensive understanding of the process and its potential for optimisation.