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Int. J. Rel?ig. VoL 18, No. 7, pp486 494, 1995
Copyright ~i' 1995 Elsevier Science Ltd and IIR
0140-7007(95)00007-0 Printed in Great Britain. All rights reserved
0140-7007'95/$ I 0.00 -~ .00

Absorption of water vapour into falling films of

aqueous lithium bromide
K. J. Kim* and N. S. Berman
Department of Chemical, Bio and Materials Engineering, Arizona State University, Tempe,
AZ 85287, USA
D. S. C. Chau and B. D. Wood
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Arizona State University, Tempe,
AZ 85287, USA
Received 3 November 1994; revised 20 M a r c h 1995

In this study, experiments have been performed for water vapour absorption into 50 and 60 mass% aqueous
lithium bromide solution films flowing down a vertical surface to investigate the effects of liquid diffusivity
values, molecular properties of the concentrated solutions and non-absorbable gases. The experimental
results for wavy films over a film Reynolds number range of 15-90 indicate larger dimensionless mass
transfer rates than for strictly laminar flow when the diffusivity of water in a concentrated lithium bromide
solution is less than that in a dilute solution. The complete set of results shows that the physical property
data for lithium bromide solutions including the diffusivities measured by Kashiwagi 1 are sufficient to
explain mass transfer behaviour.
(Keywords: wavy films; absorption; lithium bromide; vertical failing film)

Absorption de vapeur d'eau dand des films tombants

de solution de bromure de lithium
Dans cette ktude, on a effectuk des expkriences sur l'absorption de vapeur d'eau dans une solution aqueuse
de bromure de lithium (50% 5 60% en masse) en forme de film en kcoulement sur une surface verticale,
qfin dWudier les effets des gaz non absorbbs, des valeurs de diffusivit~ de liquide, ainsi que les propri~tOs
moleculaires des solutions concentr~es. Les rksultats exp&imentaux pour les films ondulks sur une 9amme
de nombres de Reynolds allant de 15 5 90 laissent supposer que les taux sans dimension de transfert massique
sont plus importants que clans le cas d'un kcoulement strictment laminaire, lorsque le diffusivitb de l'eau dans
une solution concentrke de bromure de lithium est moins importante que celle d'une solution diluke. L'ensemble
des rksultats montre que les donnkes sur les propriktks physiques des solutions de bromure de lithium, y compris
les diffusivit~s mesur~es par Kashiwag, sont suffisantes pour expliquer le comportement du transfert de masse.)
(Mots ¢l/~s:absorption; bromure de lithium; film tombant vertical; r6gime turbulent; r6gime laminaire)

Gas absorption into a falling liquid film is a classical In this paper we report results of experimental studies
problem with applications in absorption heat pumps. A of water vapour absorption into 50 and 60 mass% lithium
liquid absorbent (or desiccant) has an affinity for an bromide in a falling-film apparatus. We examine the effect
absorbate (normally a vapour). Mass transfer is due to of changes in non-absorbables, length of absorber and
the difference between the absorbate pressure and the overall driving potential. The interpretation of results is
vapour pressure of the absorbent at the given temperature highly dependent on the value of the diffusivity of water
and concentration. In the case of an aqueous lithium in these concentrated solutions and we will discuss this
bromide solution that has 60 m a s s % concentration and problem in the paper.
40 °C temperature introduced into an absorber with the The fluid dynamics of the liquid film is governed by
pressure of water vapour set by an evaporator at 7 °C, the film Reynolds number
there is 2.18 m m H g of driving potential based on the
overall gas phase or a 3% differential concentration based 4F
on the liquid phase. Once absorption starts, the vapour Ref = - - (1)
pressure of absorbent at the interface is increased
owing to the increased temperature and the decreased where F is the mass flowrate per unit perimeter and F is
concentration of lithium bromide. Experimentally, it is the dynamic viscosity. Sherwood and Pigford z categorized
impossible to remove non-absorbable gases completely the flow regimes as: laminar without rippling (Ref < 4-25);
so the driving potential at the liquid gas interface can laminar with rippling (the wavy regime, 4-25 < Ref < 1000-
be further reduced. 2000); and turbulent flow (Ref> 1000-2000). Empirical
or semi-empirical approaches are essential in order to
develop absorber relationships that can be used for design
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed. Present address
is Center for Environmental Energy Engineering (CEEE), University in the wavy regime.
of Maryland, College Park, M D 20742, USA For a lithium bromide-water system the Lewis

Absorption of water vapour into falling films of aqueous lithium bromide: 487


A Contact area (m 2) x Distance in flow direction (m)

C Solution concentration (mass%) Yo Mean film thickness (m)
Cair Air concentration (vol%) Greek letters
D Mass diffusivity (m 2 s-1) /3 Dimensionless quantity defined in
Eff Absorption effectiveness Equation (3)
g Gravitational acceleration (m s-2) Mass flowrate per unit perimeter (kg s-1
hm Mass transfer coefficient (m s - l ) m ~)
L Absorber length (m) ~t Dynamic viscosity (kg s-1 m - l )
Le Lewis number V Kinematic viscosity (m 2 s-1)
LMPD Logarithmic mean concentration difference Liquid density (kg m-3)
of pressure difference (mmHg) P
M Mass flowrate (kg s-1) Subscripts
P Pressure (mmHg) abs Absorption
Pv Absorber pressure (mmHg or mbar) eq Equilibrium
Ref Reynolds number f Film
Sh Sherwood number sin Solution inlet
T~i. Cooling water temperature (°C) sout Solution outlet
t Exposure time (s) 1,2 Inlet, outlet of the absorber

number Le, the ratio of thermal diffusivity to mass the liquid feed. The dimensionless quantity fl is given by
diffusivity, is on the order of 10 2. Thus a slowly developed
diffusion boundary layer appears relative to a thermal Dt /4\~ f y \~
boundary layer. In the laminar regime, molecular = 2/-/Dx/~/ (3)
fl= .~o \3J \v R e f J
diffusion in the liquid phase governs the absorption
process. One way to overcome the weak mass transfer where D is the mass diffusivity, t is the exposure time, yo
rate is to use wavy motions caused by hydrodynamic is the mean film thickness, g is gravitational acceleration,
instabilities so as to break the slowly developed diffusion and v is the kinematic viscosity.
boundary layer; then enhanced mixing in the liquid phase The left side of Equation (2) can also be expressed in
can increase the mass transfer rate significantly. Mass terms of the Sherwood number Sh, defined as
transfer enhancement (usually a 50-200% increase in
mass transfer coefficient compared with that of a smooth
laminar flow) by wavy motion has been demonstrated hm
experimentally3 6. Sh- (4)
Vertical falling-film absorption with the lithium D
bromide-water system has been studied by a limited
number of investigators. Nakoryakov et al. v tested the Considering the velocity gradient as a parabola (large
following parameters: a film Reynolds number of 80-800, value of /3), the long contact time solution can be
58-60 mass% lithium bromide inlet solution concentration, approximated as
7 15 mmHg absorber pressure. A comparison between
the vertical tube absorber and horizontal tube absorber hmpx
was experimentally investigated by Burdukov et al. 8. The -- =0.24+ 5.1fl (5)
lithium chloride--water absorption system was studied by
Ameel 9, Yang 1° and Yang and Wood 11. None of the For gas absorption in a vertical column, where the liquid
previous experimental studies compared the results with is a smooth film, Equations (2) and (4) can be used to
short- and long-time laminar flow mass transfer in a draw a baseline for the cases of both short and long
falling film, or developed a universal correlation that contact time. For a higher Ref, the film becomes wavy;
would fit all of the data. then mass transfer will be increased owing to improved
Sherwood et al. ~2 give mass transfer correlations for mixing.
gas absorption into a falling liquid film process where When non-absorbables are present in the gas phase,
the liquid is a steady laminar flow with constant the use of the overall driving force to determine the
concentration at the gas liquid interface. For short experimental mass transfer coefficient could give hmpx/F
contact time the penetration theory produces a greater or less than that determined from Equation (2)
dimensionless mass transfer coefficient and (5), depending on the diffusivity in the liquid phase.
Yang and Chen 13 show that for a liquid diffusivity about
hmpx f~
the same as in pure water, the mass transfer is drastically
-1.695x//3 (2)
F reduced when only 0.01% air is present in the gas phase.
Concentrated lithium salt solutions contain very little
where h m is the mass transfer coefficient, p is the liquid free water because the lithium ion coordinates with four
density, x is the distance in the flow direction, and F is water molecules 14 16. The movement of water molecules
488 K.J. Kim et al.

is restricted, leading to a lower mass diffusivity compared distributor. The maximum absorber length available is
with water in low salt concentrations. Three recent studies 85 cm.
report diffusivities as shown in Figure 1. Enderby iv In order to supply water vapour into the absorber unit,
measured a local diffusivity using nuclear magnetic a 2 gal (7.5 l) electric water heater with a 1.44 kW heating
resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, and Kashiwagi 1 obtained element is used as the evaporator. The evaporator
concentration profiles in a stagnant absorption experiment temperature can be controlled with a temperature-
using holographic inteferometry. Kashiwagi's results are controlling unit to maintain the required absorber
a factor of 3 lower for 60 mass% lithium bromide than pressure. The deionized water that is used as the
typical diffusivities used previously in absorption absorbate can be de-aerated by evacuating the evapor-
calculations 18. ator.
The cooling water system is composed of a constant
Experimental head tank with a 250 gal (950 1) capacity, a centrifugal
pump that circulates the cooling water, and a water-
The main components of the system are an absorber unit, temperature controller unit. This controller unit, with
an evaporator, a cooling water system, a circulation four Chromalox heaters that are rated at 1.5, 2.5, 5.0 and
system, a vacuum-generating system, and measuring 7.5 kW capacity, is able to control the cooling water
devices. The system operates in a batch mode. A temperature to +0.1 °C. As the constant-head tank is
schematic diagram of the system is shown in Figure 2. located outside the building, a heat exchanger is used to
Details can be found in ref. 19. control the cooling water temperature. The building's
The absorber has two concentric tubes: an inner chilled water system supplies chilled water to the heat
stainless steel tube of outside diameter 38.1 mm and exchanger. Both rotameter and a Rockwell flowmeter
length 1.83 m, and an outer Pyrex tube of inside diameter indicate the flowrate of the cooling water.
148 mm and length 1.22 m. The absorbent solution flows The lithium bromide solution circulation system
down the outside of the inner tube. The outer Pyrex tube consists of the strong solution tank, a collecting tank, a
serves to maintain the vacuum pressure and to facilitate mass flowmeter, and a circulation pump. The strong
flow observation. The absorption of water vapour takes solution tank has a 40 gal (150 1) capacity, and is sealed
place at the outer wetted surface of the inner stainless so that it can be de-aerated by the vacuum pump. The
tube, and the heat of absorption is removed by the upward tank can be heated to regenerate the weak solution and
flow of cooling water inside the stainless tube. The inner reduce the amount of air dissolved. The temperature of
tube has an inside diameter of 34.9 mm. The outer Pyrex the inlet solution is controlled by the use of a screw plug
tube with 169 mm outside diameter is made from a heater, a heat exchanger, and heating tape, which is
KIMAX drainline pipe. Two brass end-plates are wrapped around the tubing. A rotary gear pump is used
mounted on the ends of the outer tube using four threaded to introduce the strong solution into the absorber
steel rods. Rubber ring seals are attached to the place and to circulate the strong solution during de-aeration.
between the ends and glass tube. Two mechanical vacuum pumps are used to evacuate
The solution distributor, made of Plexiglass, is the absorber and the collecting tank. Commercial dry-ice
mounted on the upper plate. The distributor can hold cold traps that condense the water vapour and molecular
approximately 1.051 of absorbent solution. The absorbent sieves that prevent oil contamination from the mechanical
solution is introduced through the solution inlet, stays pumps are connected to the inlet side of each pump.
more than 20 s in the solution distributor so as to Each pump is connected to the different locations in the
eliminate possible disturbances, and flows into the experimental system by Viton TM vacuum hoses and
annular space between the head and the stainless steel copper tubing.
tube. The weak solution is collected at the bottom part The flowrate of the strong solution is determined by
of the absorber by a funnel, and flows into a Plexiglass a mass flowmeter. This meter includes a flow control
collector. The effective absorber length can be varied by valve in order to adjust the required flowrate of the strong
moving the collector and funnel up towards the solution. The inlet and outlet solutions are sampled by
collection into pre-evacuated samplers. In the process of
preparing the inlet solution, a quick check of the
5 concentration is determined from a hydrometer reading.
] --o- Er~,y o9s3, LiCl) ] More precise measurements for the inlet solution
4 .......[ - - -0- - Kashiw~ (1984, LiBr) [ ...............
" ...................... concentration are performed with a pycnometer. A curve
g F [ -- "El -- Andberg (1986, LiSr) ] i fit to the aqueous lithium bromide density presented in
~. 3 ...................... : ......................... i......................... i......................... i ...................... Washburn 2° as a function of concentration at 30 °C is
used to determine the inlet and outlet lithium bromide
2 ................. ..................... .............

Type K thermocouples are located at the absorber inlet

and outlet, the cooling water inlet and outlet, the
............~..... : ................:...
:..:. ~ .....~=:~............. evaporator, and the two gas sample vessels. A dry vacuum
containing little water vapour is measured by a
thermocouple gauge. This thermocouple gauge can be
0 , , i i i i , l l i J i r

used only during the de-aeration process, as the main

0 4 8 12 16 20
component of the gas contained in the absorber during
Salt C o n c e n t r a t i o n (Molar)
the experiment is water vapour. The absorber pressure
Figure 1 Diffusivities of water for lithium salts solutions is monitored by a piezoelectric gauge. This pressure
Figure 1 Diffi~sivitds de l'eau les solutions de sels de lithium transducer is installed at the top of the absorber. The
Absorption of water vapour into falling films of aqueous lithium bromide. 489




a x l II It::: OUt
Chilled T




MS -"O AS1



HEI ~'~1 CT


AB: Absorber DS: Solution Dismbutor RM: Rotameter

CL: Cooling Tank EV: Evaporator SAI,2: Sampling Bottle
CO: Collector FC: Flow Controller ST: StrongSolution Tank
C'PI,2: Circulation Pump HE1-4: Heater SV1,2: SieveTrap
CR1,2: Cold Trap HXI,2: Hem Exchanger V P I , 2 : Vacuum Pump
CT: CollecLingTank MS: MassSpectrometer WI: Walexinlet
AS1,2: Air Smnples PG 1,2: PressureGauge WP: WaterPump
DM: MassFlow Meter RF: WaterFlow Meter
Figure 2 Schematic diagram of the experimental system
Figure 2 Schdma du sust&ne expdrimental

piezoelectric absolute pressure gauge was calibrated by Test conditions

comparing with a McLeod gauge for the pressure range Test solutions were prepared from aqueous lithium
of 1-10 mmHg. bromide with impurities less than 0.5%, purchased from
The non-absorbable concentration is determined by F M C Lithium Corporation. Approximately 0.01 mol%
the 'freezing out' method 9. Gas samples from the absorber lithium hydroxide as a corrosion inhibitor was added to
are collected in a stainless steel container and cooled to raise the pH of the lithium bromide-water solution to
approximately 203 K to remove the water from the approximately 10. The concentration of non-absorbable
vapour phase. The non-absorbable mass is determined gas was maintained at less than 2% unless the effect of
from the pressure, temperature and volume of the the non-absorbable was to be studied. Control variables
remaining vapour. that included inlet solution concentration, inlet solution
490 K.J. Kim et al.

Table 1 The base and variations in operating conditions of absorption were obtained from AndberglS: heat
Tableau 1 Conditions de fonctionnement, param~tres de base et leurs capacity and viscosity from L6weraX; vapour pressure
from Siebe22; and enthalpy from ASHRAE 23. The liquid
Base Range diffusivity results of Kashiwagi l were used. For each run,
properties were evaluated at the average conditions of
Inlet solution 57.7-60.5 mass% the absorption.
concentration, Csi. 60 mass% LiBr/H20
Inlet solution 35-45 °C
temperature, T~. 40 °C Results and discussion
Absorber pressure, Pv 7.6 mmHg" 7.6-12 mmHg
Cooling water 25-35 °C The mass transfer in the liquid falling film depends upon
temperature, Tci. 30°C
Absorber length, L 85 cm 40-85 cm the flowrate and the transport properties of the liquid.
Absorbent flow rate, Ref ~60 15-150 Other parameters that influence the mass transfer as
Air concentration, C~ < 2% < 2% boundary conditions may be the non-absorbable gas
concentration, the inlet solution temperature, the cooling
aThis absorber pressure corresponds to the evaporator temperature of water temperature, the absorber pressure, the inlet
solution concentration, the absorber length, and the heat
of absorption. The heat of absorption can be removed
temperature, absorber pressure, cooling water temperature, from the group of independent parameters, as the heat
absorber length and absorbent flowrate were investigated. of absorption remained essentially constant over most of
The base operating condition and the range of changes the test conditions.
investigated in this work are summarized in Table 1.
Flow observation
Data reduction
Without absorption, uniform wetting could be achieved
F r o m a species balance, the absorption rate Mab~ is at very low flowrates, Ref=O(1). With absorption, a
determined by smooth film flow could be maintained only when Ref > 16.
When solution flowrates were varied in the range of film
Mabs = Msout- Msi n =
sin~Csout -- 1) (6)
Reynolds number from 30 to 90, the flow was characterized
as a 'wavy laminar' flow. Wave inception 24 starts between
10 and 20 cm from the top of the absorber for these
where Msout and M s i n a r e the outlet and inlet solution flowrates. The measured values of wave inception
flowrates, and Csout and Csi, are the outlet and inlet distance are compared with ones from Brauner and
solution concentrations respectively. The mass transfer M a r o n 25 in Figure 3. The wave inception starts earlier
coefficient h m is obtained from than expected, as the absorber surface is not perfectly
smooth and a vertical falling film is always unstable 26.
Mab s = hmAz~C (7) The wave amplitude increases with increasing solution
flowrate, as Fulford z7 indicates. However, it seems that
where AC is the mass transfer driving potential the increase is not directly proportional to the absorbent
(AC=AP.dC/dP) and A is the contact area. The flowrate. As the flowrate increases, small and regular
logarithmic mean concentration difference of pressure waves at the lower flowrates become irregular waves:
difference ~2, L M P D , is used for the driving potential: so-called 'roll waves' distinguished by their steep front,
a long and gently sloping tail, and a set of preceding
AP 1 - AP 2 small waves termed 'push waves '9. Occasionally, wetting
LMPD = (8) became a problem when the film Reynolds number was
ln(API~ less than 30. The slight difference in flow patterns between
\S j the falling film and the falling film under absorption seems

where AP~ and AP 2 are the difference between the partial

pressure of water in the gas phase and the vapour pressure 0.4 ' ' I ' ' ' I ' ' ' I ' ' ' I '

of the bulk liquid at the inlet and outlet of the absorber theory (Braunerand Maron, 1982)
respectively. Similarly, the logarithmic mean concentration • experiment(this work)
diference is found from the concentration of water giving 0.3
a vapour pressure equal to the partial pressure in the g
bulk gas phase minus the bulk liquid concentration at "=,q.
o 0.2 J
the inlet and outlet. If the inlet and outlet solution and ,=
gas temperatures and concentrations are known, the o

corresponding vapour pressures or concentration can be ~: 0.1

obtained. Then the logarithmic mean can be determined.
Finally, a mass transfer coefficient can be obtained from
Equation (7). 0 , , I , , , I i l i I , , 1 I , , ,

0 20 40 60 80 1oo
Physical properties
Figure 3 Wave reception vs film Reynolds number
A complete discussion of the property database can be Figure 3 D~butde laformation du r~gimeturbulent, dans lefilm tornbant,
found in ref. 19. Density, thermal conductivity and heat en fonction du nombre de Reynolds
Absorption of water vapour into falling films of aqueous lithium bromide. 491

to be decreased wave frequency and decreased wave interracial gas phase concentration, inlet solution
amplitude during the absorption. No attempt was made temperature, cooling water temperature, absorber pressure,
to measure the local wave amplitude or film thickness in and inlet solution concentration were independently
the present study. varied. Figures 5-8 show the change in Sherwood number
as a function of these variables when the partial pressure
at the interface is given by the absorber pressure minus
Absorbent flowrate effect the measured bulk non-absorbable partial pressure.
Absorption data for 60 mass% lithium bromide were If the non-absorbable gas effect is negligible, the
measured at the approximate absorbent film Reynolds
numbers of 15, 30, 60 and 90. The mass transfer coefficient
I0 ' ' ' I ' '=' ' I ' ' ' I ' ' ' I ' ' '
in the form of the Sherwood number as a function of
film Reynolds number is shown in Figure 4. For the C.~ = 59.7 mass%

short-time penetration theory result, Sh is proportional 8 T,,. = 400 °C

Pv = 7 6 rnmHg
to the Reynolds number to the one-third power, and L = 85 cm

within experimental error the experimental result shows 6 Re r - 59 I

a similar trend.
4 0 0
Driving potential effects S
The actual driving potential at the liquid-gas interface 2
is the partial pressure of water in the gas phase (the gas
phase is composed of water vapour and an unknown 0 I I t I , , , 1 1 1 , I , t | I i i i

amount of non-absorbable gases) minus the local vapour 20 24 28 32 36 40

pressure of the aqueous lithium bromide at the given Tcin (°C)
temperature and composition. The problem is complicated Figure 6 Cooling water temperature effect on mass transfer rate
because the local conditions are unknown. In order to Figure 6 Effet de la temperature de l'eau de re[~'oidissement sur le taux
investigate the effect of the operating variables on the de transfert de masse

' ' ' I ' ' f I ' 10 ' I ' ' ' I ' ' I ' ~ ' I ' ' '

C.,. = 59.5 mass%

C.,. = 595 mass%
T.,. = 40.2 °C 8 T~ = 297 °C
T~,~ = 300 °C
T.,. = 40.0 °C
p. = 7.6 mmHg
L = 85 cm
L = 85 crn
6 Ref = 60.0

o c ~ oO OC %
4 O
8 O

0 , l , I 1 J l I t i , 1 L , ,
0 ~ , , I , , , I , , , I , J , I J , L

0 20 40 60 80 100 8 10 12 14 16 18
Re t
Pv (millibar)
Figure 4 Absorbent flowrate effect on dimensionless mass transfer Figure 7 Absorber pressure effect on mass transfer rate {mmHg/
rate (Sherwood number) m b a r =0.75)
Figure 4 l~ffet du dkbit de I'absorbant sur le taux sans dimension de Figure 7 Effet de la pression de rabsorbeur sur le taux de transfert
tran,~yert massique (hombre de Sherwood) massique (mmHg/mbar = 0,75)

10 ' ' ' I ' ' ' '1"" ' ' ' I ' ' ' I ' " ' i ' 10 .... I .... I ' ' ' ' 1 ' ' ' ' '"''1 .... t ' ' ' '

Cm = 59.7 mllssa/*
T,~ = 29.9 °C
8 T¢. = 29.9 *C
8 T.,. = 400 °C
P, = 7.6 mmHg
P. = 76 mmHg
er = 58.3
L = 85 cm
= 85 cm
6 6 Ret = 60.1


4 4
o o
o o ~ oo °o Oo
2 oO 2 O0

0 0
34 36 38 40 42 44 46 57 57.5 58 58.5 59 59.5 60 60.5
Tsin (°C) LiBr Cont.(mass%)
Figure 5 Inlet solution temperature effect on mass transfer rate Figure 8 Inlet solution concentration effect on mass transfer rate
Figure 5 l~ffet de la tempdrature de la solution ~ rentrOe sur le taux Figure 8 Effet de la concentration de la solution fi l'entrde sur le taux
de transfert massique de transfert massique
492 K. ,,I. Kim et al.

Sherwood number should be constant. In every case, as given in Table 1 held constant can be used to estimate
shown in these figures, there is a trend that indicates that the non-absorbable concentration at the interface. When
the true partial pressure of water at the interface is less the inlet temperature was 35.8°C, the uncorrected
than the assumed value: that is, the non-absorbable Sherwood number was 3.7, and when the inlet temperature
concentration at the interface is higher than in the bulk was 43.3 °C, the Sherwood number was 1.7. The liquid
gas phase. It is difficult to assign a numerical value to phase overall logarithmic mean driving force was 4.10%
the non-absorbable concentration at the interface. There differential concentration for the lower inlet temperature
can be both increases and decreases in the driving force and 1.85% differential concentration for the higher
along the length of the absorber. When the driving temperature. With 10% air at the interface, these driving
force was nearly the same at the inlet and outlet, there forces drop to 3.0 and 0.4% differential concentration
was little change in the Sherwood number when other respectively. This means that the Sherwood numbers
variables were changed. This is consistent with the should be multiplied by 1.36 and 4.66 respectively, so
assumptions above. that the actual air concentration must be somewhat
less than 10% to get the results to match. As the driving
Absorber length effect force at the inlet for the higher-temperature inlet
experimental is small, this particular experiment is very
The effective contact length of the absorber was set at sensitive to the selection of the air concentration at the
40, 60, and 85 cm and the flowrates of Ref= 30.3, 57.6 interface. We leave our estimate at 10%, although 9%
and 91.5 were investigated. The results are presented in is closer and 8% does not give enough correction, because
Figure 9 in terms of the concentration profiles based upon the assumption that the non-absorbable concentration
the negative concentration difference between inlet and at the inlet and outlet is the same may be in question.
outlet solution. As Yang 1° showed, the concentration In ref. 13 the vapour flow is co-current at the same velocity
profiles are linear in this range. as the liquid interface, and the cooling water is just
sufficient to hold the inner wall of the falling film at
constant temperature; then the concentration of non-
N on-absorbables effects
absorbables at the interface is a function of distance from
The experiments shown in Figure 5 involving a change the inlet. In this work the vapour flow is an annular pipe
in the inlet solution temperature with all other variables flow counter-current to the liquid flow, and the cooling
water flowrate is high enough to cool the falling film at
the exit compared with the inlet. The 10% air at the
interface would mean that the base case in this work
should have a mass transfer coefficient 1.5 times that
~ 0.5 C.,. - 59 5 mass% T.,. 40 2 °C measured if no air were present.
¢ P. = 7 6 mmHg T,,~ - 29 9 °C
[ Fiyure 10 shows non-absorbable concentration effects
g 0 on Sherwood number. The Sherwood number is decreased
as much as 20% as air content is increased from 0.5 to
15% at this particular operating condition. Non-
~) -1 absorbable effects appear constant as long as the
concentration is maintained at less than 2%. This result
J.5 shows the same trends as ref. 9. However, Yang and
Reo = 57.6 " ' - ~,)
il -2 - - -~ -

Re', = 30.3
O Chen 13 find that there can be a large drop in mass transfer
-- -e- Ref =91.5 from zero non-absorbable concentration to 0.01% (mass
-2.5 i i i i I i i , , , , I , , , I , , i
transfer rate drops by a factor of 5 at a length of 1 m)
0 20 40 60 80 100 and only small changes from 0.01% to 30% similar to
L (cm) those observed here. Our results on the variation of the
Figure 9 Concentration profile along the absorber length driving force suggest a much smaller decrease of possibly
Figure 9 Profil de concentration le long de l'absorbeur 50%, as shown for the experiments with different inlet
temperatures for the zero to any non-absorbables. An
examination of the mass transfer correlation and the
10 , ' , ..... i ........ i ........
liquid diffusivity used in the calculation is necessary to
explain the difference between this work and that of Yang
C.= = 59.6 mass%
8 To,~ = 30.0 °C and Chen.
T.,. = 400 °C
L = 85 cm/Ret = 59,0
6 p, = 7,6 mmHg

Mass transfer correlations

In gas absorption processes, the liquid-side resistance
03 controls the mass transfer phenomena in the absence of
2 non-absorbables. Figure 11 shows the comparisons
between the present experimental work and the laminar
0 i i i I ,ill , , i ,,,,,I , , i ,i,,
approximation solutions by Sherwood et al. 12 for short
0.1 1 10 100 and long contact time. The contact length in the range
Cair (%) of 40-85 cm and the flowrate in the range of Ref = 15-90
Figure 10 Non-absorbables effect on mass transfer rate for 60 mass% lithium bromide were employed in this
Figure 10 Effet des gaz non absorbables sur le taux de transfert massique analysis.
Absorption of water vapour into falling films of aqueous fithium bromide. 493

100 Further improvement in absorption efficiency

60 m a s % LiBr
• 50 mass% LiBr
When the vapour pressure of the absorbent reaches
10 the absorber pressure, absorption stops. Therefore the
absorption effectiveness Eel, the ratio of the
actual absorption mass transfer to the overall mass
--I "j transfer driving potential, is
actual concentration change C~i. - C~o.!
O. 1 Eff --
Long a n d S h o r t maximum driving potential C~. - Ceq(T~., P 3
Conlacl Time Solution
by S h c r w o o d el al. ( 1 0 7 5 ) -]
0.01 . . . . . . . . t . . . . . . . . h . . . . . . . . I

to .y,,2 Ioo looo where Ceq(T~i,, Pv) is the equilibrium solution concentration
at given temperature and absorber pressure. Note that
the inlet cooling water temperature is used to define the
Figure II M a s s t r a n s f e r c o r r e l a t i o n for 50 a n d 60 m a s s % s o l u t i o n s
equilibrium condition, as the inlet cooling water
Figure ll Correlation de transfert de masse pour des solutions 5 50 et temperature is the minimum temperature that can be
Zt 60%o en masse
achieved. Absorption effectiveness for contact lengths in
the range of 40-85 cm and flowrates in the range
Re r = 30-100 are plotted in Figure 12. A higher absorption
effectiveness could be achieved by lower absorbent
flowrates. There is still considerable potential to improve
If we had used the diffusivity of water in a dilute the absorption efficiency, as the maximum effectiveness
solution of lithium bromide instead of Kashiwagi's achieved was approximately 40%. Wavy motions are
results, the points in Figure 11 would move to the left. able to enhance the mass transfer rate. However,
Then the experimental results would fall under the maximum mass transfer has not been achieved for the
laminar theoretical lines, indicating that the non- given geometry and the given conditions. In order to
absorbable concentration less than 2% did have a large achieve the maximum mass transfer, it is necessary to
effect on the mass transfer. In fact, for the points that break up the diffusion boundary layer more rigorously
would fall under the long-time approximation, the or to obtain a longer contact time. Increasing the contact
reduction in mass transfer coefficient would be about that length or decreasing the flowrate provides a longer
predicted by Yang and Chen. The implication is that contact time. However, increased length increases
non-absorbables have less effect in the high concentration absorber size and requires higher construction costs.
solution absorption because the liquid diffusivity is lower Adding small amounts of surface-active agents has been
than that used by Yang and Chen (the resistance of the found to enhance the heat and mass transfer by
liquid phase is controlling for the high-concentration
introducing interfacial turbulence and providing better
lithium bromide solutions with non-absorbables in the
wetting 28. Experiments to determine the mass transfer
gas phase under the conditions of these experiments). correlation with 2-ethyl-l-hexanol as an additive are
The experimental data can be correlated by a discussed in ref. 29.
dimensionless form of mass transfer coefficient and
a dimensionless reciprocal contact time as in Equation (2):
Summary and conclusion
hmpx /V 2\h
Experiments on absorption of water vapour into a falling
-a~t) (9) film of 60 mass% lithium bromide solution were
performed in the wavy film range of Reynolds numbers.
where a = 3 . 9 4 and b = - 0 . 6 0 for 60 mass% lithium When the dimensionless mass transfer coefficients were
The characteristics of aqueous lithium bromide solution
are dependent upon the number of water molecules
associated with the lithium ion. When the lithium ! !

bromide concentration exceeds 55.6 mass%, all of the

water molecules are tied up in the first coordination ring. 60
= 2(~9 °(' P. = 76mmH
Based upon the free water available in the solution, 50
and 60 mass% lithium bromide may have to be treated - " "@" ~ L = 85 c m
as two different absorbents. Experimental studies for a - - "~"- L = 60 cm
50 mass% aqueous lithium bromide were also performed
in the film flow Reynolds number range of approximately
60-200 (see Figure 11) to test the free water effect. The 20
fitted values of a = 3.906 and b = - 0 . 5 9 for the 50 mass%
lithium bromide are not significantly different from the
values for 60 mass%, The experiments were set up so 0 l l ~ l l l l l

that driving force neglecting non-absorbables would be 20 40 60 80 100

the same for 50 and 60 mass% solutions; thus any effect Re[
of the coordination of water with lithium is accounted Figure 12 A b s o r p t i o n effectiveness
for by the vapour pressure behaviour. F i g u r e 12 Efficacit~ de l'absorption
494 K.J. Kim et al.

calculated using physical properties from previous 8 Burdukov,A.P., Bufetov, N.S., Deriy, N.P., Dorokhov, A.R..
absorption studies except for the diffusivity of water in Kazakov, V.I. Experimental study of the absorption of water
vapour by thin films of aqueous lithium bromide Heat
the solution, the dimensionless mass transfer coefficients TransJer-Soviet Res (1980) 12(3) 118-123
were higher than predicted for a laminar film. This is 9 Ameel, T.A. Non-absorbable gas effects on heat and mass
consistent with an expected increase for a wavy film. transfer in falling film absorption PhD Dissertation Arizona State
The results of varying the parameters in the experiments University, Arizona (1991)
showed that the base case with 1% non-absorbables in 10 Yang, R. Heat and mass transfer in laminar wavy film absorption
with the presence of non-absorbable gases PhD Dissertation
the bulk vapour had about 10% non-absorbables at the Arizona State University (1987)
liquid-gas interface. This leads to about 50% less mass II Yang, R., Wood, B.D. Experimental study for heat and mass
transfer than if no air were present in the vapour Yang transfer in wavy film absorption with the presence of non-
and Chen 13 predict from numerical calculations that the absorbables Chem Eng Comm (1993) 125 77-90
12 Sherwood, T.K., Pigford, R.L., Wilke, C.R. Mass Tran,s]br
decrease due to non-absorbables would be much larger; McGraw-Hill (1975)
however, the diffusivity used by Yang and Chert was 13 Yang, R., Chen, J.H. A numerical study of the non-absorbable
higher than that used in this work. effects on the falling liquid film absorption Warme- und
In terms of the dimensionless mass transfer coefficient Stoffubertragung ( 1991) 26 219-224
correlated in the manner of Sherwood et al.12, there was 14 Valeev, A.Kh., Sishkin, I.V., Trostin, V.N. Structural study of
aqueous solution of lithium bromide by X-ray diffraction Russ
no difference between 50 mass% and 60 mass% lithium J Phys Chem (1993) 67(7) 1239-1242
bromide solutions, although vapour pressures, diffusivities 15 Chau,D.S., Wood, B.D., Berman, N.S., Kim, K.J. Solubility of
and viscosities have larger difference. This result confirms oxygen in aqueous lithium bromide lnt Comm Heat Mass
that the mass transfer for these high concentration salts Transfer (1993) 20(5) 643-652
16 Kim, K.J., Janule, V.P. Dynamic surface tension of aqueous
depends on the Reynolds and Schmidt numbers and the lithium bromide with 2-ethyl-l-hexanol lnt Comm Heat Mass
dimensionless distance from the inlet, not on any other Transj& (1994) 21(6) 839 848
parameters. The results of the correlation of the data and 17 Eoderby, J.E. Neutron scattering from ionic solutions Ann Rev
the analysis of the effects of non-absorbables support the Phys Chem (1983) 34 155 185
18 Andberg, J.W. Absorption of vapors into liquid films flowing
use of the diffusivity measurements of KashiwagiL over horizontal tubes PhD Dissertation University of Texas at
Austin (1986)
19 Kim, K.J. Heat and mass transfer enhancement in absorption
Acknowledgements cooling PhD Dissertation Arizona State University (1992)
20 Washburn, E.W, International Critical Tables of Numerical Data,
The authors acknowledge the support of the Gas
Physics, Chemistry, and Technologarithmicy McGraw-Hill (1926)
Research Institute under contract number 5089-260-1874. 21 Lfwer, H. Thermodynamische und physikalische Eigenschaften
Dr Timothy A. Ameel provided suggestions for successful der Wassrigen Lithium Bromide-losung PhD Dissertation
experiments. Karlsruhe, Germany (1960)
22 Siebe, D.A. Evaluation of air-conditioning system utilizing liquid
absorbents regenerated by solar energy PhD Dissertation
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7 Narkoryakov, V.Ye., Bufetov, N.S., Grigor'yeva, N.I. Heat and 29 Kim, K.J., Bermao, N.S., Wood, B.D. Effects of 2-ethyl-1-
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