In all kinds of liquid desiccant dehumidification systems, the temperature increase of the desiccant solution due to the effect of absorptive heating is one of the main reasons of performance deterioration. In this study, we look into the thermal effects during vapor absorption into single hygroscopic liquid desiccant droplets. Specifically, the effect of substrate conductivity on the transient heat and mass transfer process is analyzed in detail. The relative strength of the thermal effect and the solutal effect on the rate of vapor absorption is investigated and compared to the thermal effect by evaporative cooling taking place in pure water droplets. In the case of liquid desiccants, results indicate that the high thermal conductivity of copper substrates ensures more efficient heat removal, and the temperature at the droplet surface decreases more rapidly than that on Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) substrates. As a result, the initial rate of vapor absorption on copper substrates slightly outweighs that on PTFE substrates. Further analysis by decomposing the vapor pressure difference indicates that the variation of vapor pressure caused by the temperature change during vapor absorption is much weaker than that induced by the concentration change. The conclusions demonstrate that a simplified isothermal model can be applied to capture the main mechanisms during vapor absorption into hygroscopic droplets even though it is evidenced to be unreliable for droplet evaporation.
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