On the heat transfer correlation for membrane distillation

Chi-Chuan Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The present study examines the heat transfer coefficients applicable for membrane distillation. In the available literatures, researchers often adopt some existing correlations and claim the suitability of these correlations to their test data or models. Unfortunately this approach is quite limited and questionable. This is subject to the influences of boundary conditions, geometrical configurations, entry flow conditions, as well as some influences from spacer or support. The simple way is to obtain the heat transfer coefficients from experimentation. However there is no direct experimental data for heat transfer coefficients being reported directly from the measurements. The main reasons are from the uncertainty of permeate side and of the comparatively large magnitude of membrane resistance. Additional minor influence is the effect of mass transfer on the heat transfer performance. In practice, the mass transfer effect is negligible provided the feed side temperature is low. To increase the accuracy of the measured feed side heat transfer coefficient, it is proposed in this study to exploit a modified Wilson plot technique. Through this approach, one can eliminate the uncertainty from permeate side and reduce the uncertainty in membrane to obtain a more reliable heat transfer coefficients at feed side from the experimentation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1968-1973
Number of pages6
JournalEnergy Conversion and Management
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2011


  • Heat transfer coefficient
  • Membrane distillation
  • Wilson plot

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