Sonicated direct contact membrane distillation: Influence of sonication parameters

Isam Janajreh, Ussama Ali, Muhammad Hawwa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The effect of sonication on the performance of the direct contact membrane distillation (DCMD) is studied in this work. A sonicated DCMD module equipped with a commercial PTFE membrane is built and tested in an immersed temperature-controlled water bath. High fidelity transient and thermally conjugated CFD model is also developed for the DCMD unit accounting for the sonication. Flow metrics, including temperature polarization coefficient (TPC), heat- and mass- flux under different sonication frequencies and amplitudes were evaluated. Parametric study showed a clear improvement in the DCMD system metrics and more pronounced at higher temperature. It was observed that the application of sonication impedes the development of both kinetic and thermal boundary layers due to ultrasonic-induced mixing. The results showed that the application of sonication to DCMD at the intensity of 4525 W/m2 resulted in increase of mass flux from 4.25 L/m2.h to 8.1 L/m2.h corresponding to 90% increase. It is economically unviable due to electrical power demand, i.e., ~ 35 kW.h/m3 (~$5/m3), but can be feasible below 474 W/m2 demanding 3 kW.h/m3 (nearly $0.42/m3). It was also observed that an interesting equivalence exists between the effect of acoustic amplitude and acoustic frequency on the performance of DCMD. For example, sonication at 1 kHz with 0.5 μm amplitude produced similar results, in terms of mass flux and TPC, as sonication at 5 kHz with 0.1 μm amplitude.

Original languageBritish English
Article number115779
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2022


  • CFD
  • Membrane distillation
  • Membrane fouling
  • Permeation flux
  • Sonication
  • Temperature polarization


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