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International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 54 (2011) 4485–4490

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International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer

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Heat and mass transfer in the entrance region of the falling film: Absorption,
desorption, condensation and evaporation
V.E. Nakoryakov, N.I. Grigoryeva, M.V. Bartashevich ⇑
Kutateladze Institute of Thermophysics, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, 1, Acad. Lavrentiev Avenue, Novosibirsk 630090, Russia

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: The investigation of the heat and mass transfer in absorption, desorption, condensation and evaporation
Received 15 June 2011 in the entrance region of the falling axisymmetric semi-infinite film surrounded by the pure vapour is
Received in revised form 16 June 2011 presented. The self-similar solutions for temperature and concentration in the film have been obtained.
Available online 11 July 2011
The corrections, which take into account a change in the film thickness due to the mass inflow in absorp-
tion and condensation processes and the mass loss due to desorption and evaporation have been derived.
Keywords: Ó 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Heat and mass transfer
Entrance region
Falling film

1. Introduction cylindrical tube was carried out by Gogonin and co-workers

[5,6]. The R12-refrigerant is characterized by a low surface tension
The heat and mass transfer processes take place in various de- at large heat fluxes and has a tendency to form films. The aim of the
vices and proceed with a pressure-driven liquid film flow through present work is the analysis of the coupled heat and mass transfer
holes or slits and liquid flowing in the form of rivulets, streams, or during absorption, desorption, condensation and evaporation in
films with free boundaries of different shapes (flat, conical, etc.). In the entrance region of the falling axisymmetric semi-infinite film
the spray-type devices such flows are essential. In other types of surrounded by the pure vapour or gas.
devices, including film-like devices, such flows are possible at the
exit of the distributors, as well as free liquid overflow from one 2. Heat and mass transfer during non-isothermal absorption
heat transfer surface to another (for example, free film flowing be- and desorption
tween two adjacent tubes). The liquid flow with a free boundaries
in the real devices are often accompanied by the various heat and It is assumed that the liquid film falls under the action of gravity
mass transfer processes such as condensation, evaporation, with the uniform vertical velocity u0 at the leading edge. The Carte-
absorption, and desorption. sian coordinate system (Fig. 1) is chosen in such a way that x is the
The absorption heat pump is a unique device consisted of the direction of the flow, and y is the direction from the free film sur-
desorber, condenser, evaporator and absorber. Over the last face to the axis of symmetry. At the initial condition at x = 0, u = u0
40 years, most absorption researches devoted their attention (or the differential equation of motion u du ¼ g has the solution
work) to the falling films over the cooled surfaces. The detailed re- qffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi
view of the existing publications was presented by Killion and Gar- u ¼ u0 þ 2gx.
imella [1]. The solutions for simple problems of the coupled heat In the absence of mass inflow/outflow (without condensation,
and mass transfer during absorption at the liquid/gas interfaces absorption, desorption and evaporation) the continuity equation
R dðxÞ
of different geometry types (films, jets, drops, sheets) are given d
qudy ¼ 0 leads to an ordinary differential equation for the
dx 0
in [2,3]. Modelling of the non-isothermal absorption of vapour into film thickness:
expanding liquid sheets was performed by Acosta-Iborra and co-
workers [4]. The investigation of the falling film condensation of dd g
þ d ¼ 0:
pure immovable vapour of R12-refrigerant on horizontal smooth dx u20 þ 2gx

⇑ Corresponding author. Tel.: +7 383 330 70 50; fax: +7 383 330 84 80. The solution of this equation under the condition x = 0, d = d0 is
E-mail address: (M.V. Bartashevich).

0017-9310/$ - see front matter Ó 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
4486 V.E. Nakoryakov et al. / International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 54 (2011) 4485–4490


a thermal diffusivity Nu Nusselt number

C absorbate (desorbate) concentration (mass fraction) Pe Peclet number
Cp specific heat
D diffusivity Greek symbols
g gravity d film half thickness
ma mass flux density of absorbate (desorbate) c dimensionless concentration
P pressure k thermal conductivity
ra absorption heat h dimensionless temperature
T temperature q density
u longitudinal velocity component n self-similar variable
x, y coordinates
Dimensionless criteria 0 initial value
Fr Froude number i surface
K phase transition criterion e equilibrium
Ka phase transition criterion for absorption
Le Lewis number

d x At the phase boundary we observe equilibrium of the two-
D0 ¼ ¼ 1 þ 2Fr ; ð1Þ phase vapour-solution system; for the given constant pressure in
d0 d0
the case of the binary solution, it is described by the temperature
dependence of the absorbate concentration C = f(T) (Fig. 2). For
here Fr ¼ gd
0 small temperature and concentration intervals, this dependence
In the case of falling film absorption, when the vapour or gas can be approximated by the linear function Ci = k1k2Ti, in which
phase is stationary, the coupled heat and mass transfer is consid- the coefficients k1 and k2 are determined by the pressure. The heat
ered under the assumptions [2,3], which are used in absorption generation during absorption leads to change in equilibrium tem-
heat pumps and refrigerators. perature at the phase boundary and, consequently, in equilibrium
The solution consists of two components; one of them is ab- concentration according to the relationship. Thus, the point with
sorbed from the gas phase being in contact with the solution, the coordinates (Ci, Ti) displaces along the line of equilibrium. At
whereas the other component is not consumed and is not added each instant of time, including the initial one, the location of the
into the solution. Thus, the phase boundary is impermeable to point is unknown and has to be determined.
the second component of the solution and displaces due to the en- In the coordinate system with the Y axis directed from the inter-
try of the absorbate into the solution. face to the film depth, the processes of heat and mass transfer in
The gas or vapour is one-component medium. The vapour pres- the solution film are described by the system of heat conduction
sure does not change during absorption. In the range of varying and diffusion equations:
temperature and concentration during the whole absorption pro-
cess, the density of solution as well as thermophysical properties @T @2T
u ¼a 2;
and the transfer coefficients remain constant. The heat conductiv- @x @y
ity of the solution is much higher than that of the vapour. The
absorption heat is released at the interface and is consumed only @C @2C
u ¼D 2;
on heating the liquid phase (the solution). @x @y
with the corresponding conditions at the inlet
x ¼ 0; T ¼ T0; C ¼ C0; d ¼ d0 ;

Fig. 2. A typical diagram of equilibrium with initial data (a) absorption; (b)
Fig. 1. Scheme of the problem of heat and mass transfer in a liquid film. desorption.
V.E. Nakoryakov et al. / International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 54 (2011) 4485–4490 4487

and the conjugate conditions at the interphase boundary formulas obtained for film absorption at other velocity profiles (half
parabolic and uniform) [7–9].
y ¼ 0; C i ¼ k1  k2  T i ; k ¼ r a ma : In the derivation of the equation for film thickness the condition
R dðxÞ
@y d
of conservation of mass in the form dx 0
qudy ¼ ma was used and
The last equation corresponds to the assumption that the heat re- the ordinary differential equation with respect to the film thick-
leased as the absorbate flow intersected the interface is consumed ness in terms of dimensionless variables was obtained
only on heating the solution.
@d g k @T
Below, as well as in [3], the problem will be solved with the þ d¼ qffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi ;
@x u20 þ 2gx r a q u0 þ 2gx @y
boundary condition, where
qD @C here the right-hand side was determined by solving (6).
ma ¼  :
1  C 0 @y The solution of this equation with initial condition x = 0, d = d0
in the dimensionless form is
As it follows from the solution of problems on the film absorption
"  3=4 #
[1,3], for the liquid solution film in conditions of the heat pump, d 27=4 Le1=2 Fr1=4 ðC e  C 0 Þ x
there is the initial segment, where the main temperature change oc- ¼ D0 1 þ : ð10Þ
d0 3p1=2 Pe1=2 ð1 þ Ka  Le1=2 Þð1  C 0 Þ d0
curs only near the interface inside a thermal layer. Outside this
layer within the entrance region the temperature hardly differs This solution implies that the film thickness is increasing due to the
from the initial temperature of the solution. In addition, we will influx of the mass in the process of absorption. This addition is de-
consider systems for which the Lewis number Le = D/a is much less fined by criteria Le, Ka, Fr, Pe, the initial concentration of an absor-
than unity and so the thickness of the diffusion boundary layer is bate in solution C0, and the initial value of deviation of the solution
much smaller than that of the thermal layer. Therefore, the asymp- from equilibrium (Ce  C0).
totic boundary layer model can be used for calculation of the We should note that the necessary condition of absorption is
absorption heat and mass transfer in the entrance region, and con- that the initial concentration must be lower than the equilibrium
ditions outside the boundary layer (both thermal and diffusion lay- value corresponding to the initial temperature T0 at the given pres-
ers) can be transferred to infinity and the following conditions hold sure, i.e., (Ce  C0) > 0 and (Te  T0) > 0 (Ce = k1  k2T0, C0 = k1  k2
true y ! 1 : T ¼ T 0 ; C ¼ C 0 . Te) (in Fig. 2a the point (T0, C0) is below the equilibrium curve); for
Executing the substitution variable X ¼ x þ 2g0 we can introduce desorption the following condition must be fulfilled: i.e., (Ce 
the dimensionless variables C0) < 0 and (Te  T0) < 0 (in Fig. 2b the point (T0, C0) is above the
Xa y T  T0 C  C0 equilibrium curve).
x1 ¼ ; y1 ¼ ; h¼ ; c¼ : Thus, the resulting formula (10) for the film thickness is valid
u0 d20 d0 Te  T0 Ce  C0
for both absorption and desorption supposing an appropriate
Here Ce = k1  k2T0 is the equilibrium concentration corresponding choice of initial values of temperature and concentration. In case
to the given initial temperature of the solution T0, Te – is the equi- of absorption dd0 > D0 (film thickness increases due to absorbate in-
librium temperature corresponding to the given initial concentra- flux into the solution), whereas in case of desorption dd0 < D0 (film
tion of the solution C0 (C0 = k1  k2Te). thickness decreases).
By using a self-similar variable For the calculations of temperature and concentration fields
1=4 within the film it is conveniently to submit the solutions (7) and
n ¼ y1  x1 ð2Þ (8) as
and dimensionless temperature and concentration variables, the or- T ðT e  T 0 Þ C ðC e  C 0 Þ
dinary differential equations can be obtained ¼1þh ; ¼1þc ; ð11Þ
T0 T0 C0 C0
d h dh It is convenient to transform the self-similar variable (2) as
þ 23=2 Fr1=2 Pe1=2 n ¼ 0; ð3Þ
dn2 dn  1=4  
x d y1
n ¼ 21=4 Fr1=4 Pe1=4 2Fr þ 1  ; ð12Þ
2 d0 d0 d0
d c 3=2 1 1=2 1=2 dc
þ2 Le Fr Pe n ¼0 ð4Þ
dn2 dn Here y1 is measured from the axis of symmetry and varies from 0 to
d (y1 = d  y).
with the boundary conditions
The formulas for calculating the temperatures and concentra-
dh dc tions fields are also applicable for both absorption and desorption,
n ¼ 0; hi þ ci ¼ 1; ¼ K a Le ; ð5Þ
dn dn depending on the relevant signs (Te  T0) and (Ce  C0) in (11).
Fig. 3 shows the temperature and concentration profiles during
n ! 1; h ¼ 0; c ¼ 0; ð6Þ absorption in several cross-sections of the film in the entrance re-
gion. The parameters for the calculations were chosen close to the
Here, Le ¼ Da ; Ka ¼ Cp ðTreaT 0 Þ C1C
e C 0
; Pe ¼ u0ad0 .
0 characteristic values of the two-phase system: water solution of
The self-similar solutions of Eqs. (3) and (4) with the boundary
lithium bromide – water vapour, under the assumptions corre-
conditions (5) and (6) have the form:
sponding to the conditions of working absorber of a heat pump.
h ¼ hi ð1  erf ð25=4 Fr1=4 Pe1=4 nÞÞ; ð7Þ The temperature and concentration profiles were calculated in
the film with thickness corresponding to formula (10). Similar re-
sults for desorption are shown in Fig. 4.
c ¼ ci ð1  erf ð25=4 Le1=2 Fr1=4 Pe1=4 nÞÞ; ð8Þ

KaLe1=2 1 3. Condensation and evaporation heat transfer

hi ¼ ; ci ¼ : ð9Þ
KaLe1=2 þ 1 KaLe1=2 þ 1
The assumptions for heat transfer study during evaporation and
Note that the formulas (9) for temperature and concentration in the condensation are the same as for the absorption study. However,
entrance region of the free surface of the film hi, ci agree with the unlike the film absorption, at the film condensation the saturation
4488 V.E. Nakoryakov et al. / International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 54 (2011) 4485–4490

Fig. 3. Relative temperature (a) and concentration (b) in different cross-sections of the film (x/d0 = 2, 4, 6, 8) at absorption, Fr = 0.5, Ka = 10, Le = 102, K = 50, Pe = 400. Dash-
line – the dimensionless film thickness (d/d0) in proper cross-section.

Fig. 4. Relative temperature (a) and concentration (b) in different cross-sections of the film (x/d0 = 2, 4, 6, 8) at desorption, Fr = 0.5, Ka = 10, Le = 102, K = 50, Pe = 400. Dash-
line – the dimensionless film thickness (d/d0) in proper cross-section.

"  3=4 #
temperature at the interface is known and constant for a given d 27=4 Fr1=4 x
pressure of steam. ¼ D0 1 þ ;
d0 3p1=2 Pe1=2 K d0
y ¼ 0; T ¼ T i;
y ! 1; T ¼ T 0 : here K ¼ Cp ðT rT 0 Þ.

Eq. (3) is saved for the dimensionless temperature and the bound- The obtained solutions for condensation are also valid for the
ary conditions have the form: film evaporation.
If (Ti  T0) > 0 the film thickness increases due to the condensa-
n ¼ 0; h ¼ 1; tion, if (Ti  T0) < 0, then film evaporates.
Fig. 5 shows the temperature profiles at the different cross-sec-
n ! 1; h ¼ 0: tions of the film within the initial thermal region during the con-
The solution of Eq. (3) for the dimensionless temperature save the densation and evaporation for the characteristic parameters of
form (7), where hi = 1. two-phase water-steam system.
It is suitable to use formula (12) for self-similar variable in the Fig. 6 shows the dependence of the film thickness on the longi-
calculations and figures, and the temperature field inside the film tudinal coordinates during absorption, desorption, condensation
in the form and evaporation, and without inflow and outflow of the mass. Dif-
ferences between the curves in Fig. 6 are not significant for the se-
T ðT i  T 0 Þ
¼1þh : lected parameters.
T0 T0 Table 1 shows the differences between the calculation results of
The dependence of film thickness on the longitudinal coordinate the obtained dependences. The local Nusselt numbers are shown in
can be obtained: Fig. 7 depending on the longitudinal coordinates for different cases
V.E. Nakoryakov et al. / International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 54 (2011) 4485–4490 4489

Fig. 5. Relative temperature in different cross-sections of the liquid film (x/d0 = 2, 4, 6, 8) at condensation (a) and evaporation (b), Fr = 0.5, K = 7 (for evaporation K = 10),
Pe = 300. Dash-line – the dimensionless film thickness (d/d0) in proper cross-section.

Fig. 7. Nusselt numbers Nu1 (a) and Nu2 (b) along the film-flow direction. The solid
black line – absorption,  – desorption, dash-line – condensation,  – evaporation.

in experimental studies. This film falling regime occurs for large

heat fluxes at Ti = 70–85 °C, when the surface tension of R12 refrig-
erant decreases. Fig. 9 shows the calculation of the average tem-
perature of the film cross-sections in comparison with the
Fig. 6. The liquid film thickness at Fr = 0.5 (set of lines 1) and Fr = 0.25 (set of lines experimental measurements [5,6].
2). The solid black line – absorption,  – desorption, dash-line – condensation, dot-
dash – evaporation, + – D0.
4. Conclusion
of mass inflow and outflow in the film (absorption, desorption,
condensation, and evaporation). The initial film thickness or that
The following conclusions can be drawn from the above study.
corresponding to the longitudinal coordinate, was chosen as the
The key criteria characterizing heat and mass transfer in
linear size  in the definitions
 of Nusselt numbers, i.e.,
  absorption and desorption in the entrance thermal region of the
Nu1 ¼ Dd0T @T
; Nu2 ¼ DdT @T
, here DT = Ti  T0.
y¼0 y¼0 film with free boundaries are complexes Fr, Ka, Pe and Le. Those
The dependences of the average temperature of the film cross- for condensation are Fr, K and Pe.
section on the longitudinal coordinates are shown in Fig. 8(a) for The change in film thickness over its length is defined mainly by
both absorption and desorption, as well as for condensation and the Froude number which characterizes the thickness of the film in
evaporation. Similar plots for average concentrations of the film the absence of the mass inflows and outflows.
cross-section are shown in Fig. 8(b) for absorption and desorption. Absorption, desorption, condensation and evaporation do not
The falling film condensation of pure R12-refrigerant immov- change significantly the character of dependence of film thickness
able vapour on horizontal smooth cylindrical tube was observed on the longitudinal coordinate.

Table 1
Dimensionless film thickness d/d0 in the absence of the mass inflow/outflow (D0) and in the regimes of film absorption, desorption, condensation, and evaporation.

x/d0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
D0 0.7071 0.5774 0.5 0.4472 0.4082 0.3780 0.3536 0.3333
Absorption 0.7073 0.5776 0.5003 0.4476 0.4086 0.3783 0.3540 0.3338
Desorption 0.7069 0.5771 0.4997 0.4469 0.4079 0.3776 0.3531 0.3329
Condensation 0.7102 0.5816 0.5050 0.4528 0.4142 0.3843 0.3602 0.3403
Evaporation 0.7049 0.5744 0.4965 0.4433 0.4041 0.3735 0.3489 0.3285
4490 V.E. Nakoryakov et al. / International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 54 (2011) 4485–4490

clude the standard functions. Using these solutions allows one to

avoid the difficulties associated with the inconsistency of the
boundary conditions at the point (x = 0, y = 0). Besides, these solu-
tions applicable for the entrance region can be used as initial con-
ditions for solving the problems beyond the entrance region.


This work was supported by the Grant of the Government of

Russian Federation designed to support scientific research projects
implemented under the supervision of leading scientists at Russian
institutions of higher education No. 11.G34.31.0035 (Lead Scientist
Fig. 8. Distribution of average relative film temperature and average relative – V.E. Zakharov, Novosibirsk State University).
concentration. 1 – absorption, 2 – desorption, 3 – condensation, 4 – evaporation.


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