Performance of a cross-flow humidifier with a high flux water vapor transport membrane Academic Article uri icon


  • 2015 Published by Elsevier B.V. Water vapor transport (WVT) flux across a composite membrane that consists of a very thin perfluorosulfonic acid (PFSA) ionomer layer sandwiched between two expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) microporous layers is investigated. Static and dynamic tests are conducted to measure WVT flux for different composite structures; a transport model shows that the underlying individual resistances for water diffusion in the gas phase and microporous and ionomer layers and for interfacial kinetics of water uptake at the ionomer surface are equally important under different conditions. A finite-difference model is formulated to determine water transport in a full-scale (2-m2 active membrane area) planar cross-flow humidifier module assembled using pleats of the optimized composite membrane. In agreement with the experimental data, the modeled WVT flux in the module increases at higher inlet relative humidity (RH) of the wet stream and at lower pressures, but the mass transfer effectiveness is higher at higher pressures. The model indicates that the WVT flux is highest under conditions that maintain the wet stream at close to 100% RH while preventing the dry stream from becoming saturated. The overall water transport is determined by the gradient in RH of the wet and dry streams but is also affected by vapor diffusion in the gas layer and the microporous layer.

published proceedings

  • Journal of Power Sources

author list (cited authors)

  • Ahluwalia, R. K., Wang, X., Johnson, W. B., Berg, F., & Kadylak, D.

citation count

  • 25

complete list of authors

  • Ahluwalia, RK||Wang, X||Johnson, WB||Berg, F||Kadylak, D

publication date

  • January 2015