Cleansing Agents for Human Hygiene in Space Travel: Considerations for Biological Processing of Wastewater 2002-01-2352
A multitude of personal cleaning products, each of which typically contains multiple surfactants, are available for terrestrial use. Selection of surfactant(s) for use in extended space missions should consider, in addition to human comfort and cleansing power, potential impacts on biological processing systems under consideration for such missions. This paper reviews the surfactants present in commercial formulations, their proper nomenclature, and relevant properties such as foaming, biodegradability of organic fractions (both with respect to rate and pathway), presence of inorganic components (e.g., sulphate or counter ions such as sodium), and analytical methods for monitoring their concentrations in waste stream. The background information and results from preliminary testing are used to draw conclusions about the proper approach for selecting surfactants for use in space missions containing biological waste treatment systems.