Passive devices based on water wicking and evaporation offer a robust, cheap, off-grid, energy-efficient and sustainable alternative to a wide variety of applications, ranging from personal thermal management to water treatment, from filtration to sustainable cooling technologies. Among the available, highly-engineered materials currently employed for these purposes, polyethylene-based fabrics offer a promising alternative thanks to the precise control of their fabrication parameters, their light-weight, thermal and mechanical properties, chemical stability and sustainability. As such, both woven and non-woven fabrics are commonly used in capillary-fed devices, and their wicking properties have been extensively modelled relying on analytical equations. However, a comprehensive and flexible modelling framework able to investigate and couple all the heat and mass transfer phenomena regulating the water dynamics in complex 2-D and 3-D porous components is currently missing. This work presents a comprehensive theoretical model aimed to investigate the wetting and drying performance of hydrophilic porous materials depending on their structural properties and on the external environmental conditions. The model is first validated against experiments (R-2=0.99 for the wicking model; errors lower than 14% and 1% for the evaporation and radiative models, respectively), then employed in three application cases: the characterisation of the capillary properties of a novel textile; the assessment of the thermal performance of a known material for personal thermal management when used in different conditions; the model-assisted design of a porous hydrophilic component of passive devices for water desalination. The obtained results showed a deep interconnection between the different heat and mass transfer mechanisms, the porous structure and external working conditions. Thus, modelling their non-linear behaviour plays a crucial role in determining the optimal material characteristics to maximise the performance of porous materials for passive devices for the energy and water sector.

Characterisation and modelling of water wicking and evaporation in capillary porous media for passive and energy-efficient applications / Alberghini, Matteo; Boriskina, Svetlana V.; Asinari, Pietro; Fasano, Matteo. - In: APPLIED THERMAL ENGINEERING. - ISSN 1359-4311. - 208:(2022), p. 118159. [10.1016/j.applthermaleng.2022.118159]

Characterisation and modelling of water wicking and evaporation in capillary porous media for passive and energy-efficient applications

Pietro Asinari;
2022

Abstract

Passive devices based on water wicking and evaporation offer a robust, cheap, off-grid, energy-efficient and sustainable alternative to a wide variety of applications, ranging from personal thermal management to water treatment, from filtration to sustainable cooling technologies. Among the available, highly-engineered materials currently employed for these purposes, polyethylene-based fabrics offer a promising alternative thanks to the precise control of their fabrication parameters, their light-weight, thermal and mechanical properties, chemical stability and sustainability. As such, both woven and non-woven fabrics are commonly used in capillary-fed devices, and their wicking properties have been extensively modelled relying on analytical equations. However, a comprehensive and flexible modelling framework able to investigate and couple all the heat and mass transfer phenomena regulating the water dynamics in complex 2-D and 3-D porous components is currently missing. This work presents a comprehensive theoretical model aimed to investigate the wetting and drying performance of hydrophilic porous materials depending on their structural properties and on the external environmental conditions. The model is first validated against experiments (R-2=0.99 for the wicking model; errors lower than 14% and 1% for the evaporation and radiative models, respectively), then employed in three application cases: the characterisation of the capillary properties of a novel textile; the assessment of the thermal performance of a known material for personal thermal management when used in different conditions; the model-assisted design of a porous hydrophilic component of passive devices for water desalination. The obtained results showed a deep interconnection between the different heat and mass transfer mechanisms, the porous structure and external working conditions. Thus, modelling their non-linear behaviour plays a crucial role in determining the optimal material characteristics to maximise the performance of porous materials for passive devices for the energy and water sector.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11696/75379
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