Rotary Drum Separator and Pump for the Sabatier Carbon Dioxide Reduction System 2005-01-2863
A trade study conducted in 2001 selected a rotary disk separator as the best candidate to meet the requirements for an International Space Station (ISS) Carbon Dioxide Reduction Assembly (CRA). The selected technology must provide micro-gravity gas/liquid separation and pump the liquid from 69 kPa (10 psia) at the gas/liquid interface to 124 kPa (18 psia) at the wastewater bus storage tank. The rotary disk concept, which has pedigree in other systems currently being built for installation on the ISS, failed to achieve the required pumping head within the allotted power.
The separator discussed in this paper is a new design that was tested to determine compliance with performance requirements in the CRA. The drum separator and pump (DSP) design is similar to the Oxygen Generator Assembly (OGA) Rotary Separator Accumulator (RSA) in that it has a rotating assembly inside a stationary housing driven by a integral internal motor. The innovation of the DSP is the drum shaped rotating assembly that acts as the accumulator and also pumps the liquid at much less power than its predecessors. In the CRA application, the separator will rotate at slow speed while accumulating water. Once full, the separator will increase speed to generate sufficient head to pump the water to the wastewater bus. A proof-of-concept (POC) separator has been designed, fabricated and tested to assess the separation efficiency and pumping head of the design. This proof-of-concept item was flown aboard the KC135 to evaluate the effectiveness of the separator in a microgravity environment. This separator design has exceeded all of the performance requirements. The next step in the separator development is to integrate it into the Sabatier Carbon Dioxide Reduction System. This will be done with the Sabatier Engineering Development Unit at the Johnson Space Center.