Microporous hollow fiber modules offer a larger area per volume between gas and liquid than that commonly encountered in packed towers. This larger area can be sustained at very low flows, where packed towers will not be loaded, and at very high flows, where packed towers will flood. As a result, the modules offer the potential of faster mass transfer. This potential can be compromised by the resistance to mass transfer of the membrane itself, a resistance which is increased if the liquid wets the membrane. The results presented in this two-part series show when the advantage of the increased area is greater than the disadvantage of the membrane resistance. In this part, a theory for the operation of hollow fiber membrane modules is developed, and mass transfer coefficients in the liquid phase are investigated.