Theoretical and experimental studies on air gap membrane distillation

G. L. Liu, C. Zhu, C. S. Cheung, C. W. Leung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

115 Scopus citations


Air gap membrane distillation (AGMD) is an innovative membrane separation technique for pure water extraction from aqueous solutions. In this study, both theoretical and experimental investigations are carried out on AGMD of different aqueous solutions, namely, tap water, salted water, dyed solutions, acid solutions, and alkali solutions. A simple mechanistic model of heat and mass transfer associated with AGMD is developed. Simple relationships of permeate flux, total heating or cooling load and thermal efficiency of AGMD with respect to the membrane distillation temperature difference are obtained. Effects of solution concentration and the width of the air gap in AGMD are analyzed. In the experimental study, the experiments were conducted using 1 μm PTFE membrane with a membrane distillation temperature difference up to 55°C. The AGMD system yields a permeate flux of pure water of up to 28 kg/m2 h. Direct comparison of the experimental results with the proposed modeling predictions shows a fairly good match.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)329-335
Number of pages7
JournalHeat and Mass Transfer/Waerme- und Stoffuebertragung
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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