Membrane for CO2 and H2O Control in Space Suits
The development of new, robust, lightweight life support systems is currently a crucial need for NASA in order to continue making advances in space exploration, particularly in the development of Lunar outposts and the eventual exploration of Mars. Two functions that are critical to life support systems are the control of carbon dioxide (CO2) and moisture (H2O) during extra vehicular activities (EVA). The current system relies on a sorbent bed to control CO2. Thus in order to increase mission times, the bed must be enlarged or regenerated during the EVA. Both of these choices results in increased size and weight of the portable life support system and also increased chance of failure.
A much simpler approach would be to use a membrane system to separate CO2 from the O2 environment in the space suit. An effective membrane separation process would have several advantages over competing technologies: first it would be a continuous system with no theoretical limit on the quantity of CO2 removed, second it would require no consumables or hardware for switching beds and regeneration, third, it is a simple system with low potential for failure and low energy requirements, and fourth, it will not intentionally vent O2 to space. An even better solution would be the development of a single membrane system that controlled both CO2 and H2O, thereby eliminating the hardware required to condense moisture. Thus, Reaction Systems is developing a liquid membrane that utilizes a low vapor pressure liquid which also contains reagents to facilitate the selectivity separation of CO2 and H2O from O2.
Other Reaction Systems Projects
The development of weapons that can travel at hypersonic speeds is becoming a high priority to the US Air Force. A key technology needed for the continued development of these propulsion systems is the ability to cool the combustor by flowing fuel through channels machined in the walls.
Aircraft and missiles capable of rapid global strike and reconnaissance must fly at hypersonic speeds to achieve their performance goals. Future air-breathing hypersonic aircraft and missiles are expected to be powered by supersonic combustion ramjet (scramjet) engines.
The Army is very interested in accurate simulations of combustion in devices such as rockets and gas turbines, Otto and Diesel cycle IC engines, scramjet engines, rotating detonation engines, etc.
The surfaces of rocket engines are exposed to high pressure combustion products at temperatures up to 6000?F. Regenerative cooling can cause coke to form on the heat exchanger surfaces.
Reducing the allowable concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in spacecraft is a critical need for NASA.
Scramjet engines, which likely will provide the next generation propulsion capability, operate at extremely high temperatures and air velocities, conditions that are very difficult to reach in a laboratory.
Reaction Systems, Inc. has developed a new line of robust high temperature ceramic choked flow venturis for use in oxidizing and reducing atmospheres at temperatures up to 2700?F (1480?C).