Bubble-assisted film evaporation correlation for saline water at sub-atmospheric pressures in horizontal-tube evaporator

Muhammad Wakil Shahzad, Aung Myat, Won Gee Chun, Kim Choon Ng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


In falling film evaporators, the overall heat transfer coefficient is controlled by film thickness, velocity, liquid properties and the temperature differential across the film layer. This article presents the heat transfer behavior for evaporative film boiling on horizontal tubes, but working at low pressures of 0.93-3.60 kPa (corresponding solution saturation temperatures of 279-300 K) as well as seawater salinity of 15,000 to 90,000 mg/l or ppm. Owing to a dearth of literature on film-boiling at these conditions, the article is motivated by the importance of evaporative film boiling in the desalination processes such as the multi-effect distillation (MED) or multi-stage flashing (MSF): It is observed that in addition to the above-mentioned parameters, evaporative heat transfer of seawater is affected by the emergence of micro-bubbles within the thin film layer, particularly when the liquid saturation temperatures drop below 298 K (3.1 kPa). Such micro bubbles are generated near to the tube wall surfaces and they enhanced the heat transfer by two or more folds when compared with the predictions of conventional evaporative film boiling. The appearance of micro-bubbles is attributed to the rapid increase in the specific volume of vapor, i.e., dv/dT, at low saturation temperature conditions. A new correlation is thus proposed in this article and it shows good agreement to the measured data with an experimental uncertainty of 8% and regression RMSE of 3.5%. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)670-676
Number of pages7
JournalApplied Thermal Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013


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