fabric, clothes dryer, vacuum, heat and mass transfer
A significant amount of the energy consumed in both residential and commercial sectors is used for clothes drying. In conventional convective clothes drying, hot dry air at atmospheric pressure is passed over and through the clothes in order to remove moisture. Both the heat and water carried out are wasted to ambient resulting in an inefficient process. Additionally, the elevated drying temperatures can damage the fibers of the clothes, reducing their useful lifespan. By drying clothes at pressures below atmospheric, the temperature required to drive out moisture can be reduced. The objective of this study is to investigate the drying behavior of different fabrics under sub-atmospheric conditions. A special apparatus is designed and used for this study with appropriate control on the pressure and contact surface temperature. A wet cloth is placed on a heated plate within a vacuum chamber. The mass of the cloth is measured by a balance while the plate’s temperature and the vacuum chamber’s pressure are maintained. Moisture is driven out of the cloth by conduction from the plate. Clothes are dried from approximately 60% to 0% of moisture by mass and curves of moisture percentage versus time are developed for each fabric at set temperatures and pressures. The overall goal of the analysis to establish the drying behavior of clothes under reduced pressure conditions. The resulting data is summarized in form of appropriate performance correlations which can be used for the design of full-scale devices capable of drying under the considered conditions.