Sorption rate enhancement in SAPO-34 zeolite by directed mass transfer channels
The rate of water adsorption in SAPO-34 zeolite coatings for adsorption heat pumps has been shown to be limited by mass transfer. In the present contribution, uniformly spaced longitudinal channels of width 75 µm were introduced into SAPO-34 coatings and their effect on the heat and mass transport limitations during water sorption was explored. Different channel spacings at constant adsorbent mass per unit area were tested by means of temperature-swing adsorption measurements and thermal impedance analysis (TIA). The optimal ratio between the characteristic transport length (CTL) for heat transfer and the CTL for mass transfer was 6, which is in agreement with the TIA predictions and was validated experimentally. Geometries with CTL ratios greater or less than 6 exhibited higher thermal impedance and lower rates of water sorption. At the optimal CTL ratio, the water sorption rate was enhanced 2x at the same adsorbent mass per unit area when compared to unstructured SAPO-34 coatings. Compared to other adsorbent structures reported in literature, the structured coatings exhibit the highest power density and energy density at short cycle times. These findings may be used to improve efficiency and/or power in temperature-swing processes in which mass transfer in adsorbent coatings is rate-limiting. It is recommended to develop methods to structure coatings at the scales relevant for commercial adsorption heat pump modules, and further investigate the rate-limiting transport mechanisms in large adsorption heat exchanger modules.