Liquid desiccant air conditioning systems have recently been attracting attention due to their capability of handling the latent load without super-cooling and then reheating the air, as happens in a conventional compression-type air conditioning system. This paper presents the results from a study of the performance of an internally cooled liquid desiccant dehumidifier. A plate heat exchanger is proposed as the internally cooled element of the dehumidifier and water as the cooling fluid. The desiccant solution is sprayed into the internally cooled dehumidifier from the top and flows down by gravity. At the same time, fresh humid air is blown from the bottom or top, counter-flowing or co-flowing with the desiccant solution. The desiccant is in direct contact with the air, allowing for heat and mass transfer. The cooling water, flowing inside the plates of the dehumidifier, carries out the heat of the crossed air and solution. A heat and mass transfer theoretical model has been developed, based on the Runge-Kutta fixed step method, to predict the performance of the device under various operating conditions. Experimental data from previous literature have been used to validate the model. Excellent agreement has been found between experimental tests and the theoretical model, with the deviation not exceeding ±4.1% for outlet air temperature and ±4.0% for outlet humidity ratio. Following the validation of the mathematical model, the dominating effects on the absorption process have been discussed in detail. Namely, effects of flow configuration, air inlet temperature, humidity and flow rate, as well as desiccant inlet temperature, concentration and flow rate have been investigated against the dehumidification rate and the cooling efficiency. The two most commonly used liquid desiccant solutions, namely LiCl and LiBr have been also evaluated against each other. The results suggested that high dehumidification mass rate can be achieved under counter flow between air and solution, low air mass flow rates, low cooling water temperature, low desiccant temperature and LiCl as the desiccant solution.

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