Using the analogy between heat and mass transfer processes, the recently developed entransy theory is extended in this paper to tackle the coupled heat and mass transfer processes so as to analyze and optimize the performance of evaporative cooling systems. We first introduce a few new concepts including the moisture entransy, moisture entransy dissipation, and the thermal resistance in terms of the moisture entransy dissipation. Thereinafter, the moisture entransy is employed to describe the endothermic ability of a moist air. The moisture entransy dissipation on the other hand is used to measure the loss of the endothermic ability, i.e. the irreversibility, in the coupled heat and mass transfer processes, which consists of three parts: (1) the sensible heat entransy dissipation, (2) the latent heat entransy dissipation, and (3) the entransy dissipation induced by a temperature potential. And then the new thermal resistance, defined as the moisture entransy dissipation rate divided by the squared refrigerating effect output rate, is recommended as an index to effectively reflect the performance of the evaporative cooling system. Meanwhile, a minimum thermal resistance law for optimizing the evaporative cooling systems is developed. In the end, several direct and indirect evaporative cooling processes are analyzed to illustrate the applications of the proposed concepts.

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