Browse Publications Technical Papers 2005-01-2868

Performance Characterization of a Prototype Ultra-Short Channel Monolith Catalytic Reactor for Air Quality Control Applications 2005-01-2868

Contaminated air and process gases, whether in a crewed spacecraft cabin atmosphere, the working volume of a microgravity science or ground-based laboratory experiment facility, or the exhaust from an automobile, are pervasive problems that ultimately effect human health, performance, and well-being. The need for highly-effective, economical decontamination processes spans a wide range of terrestrial and space flight applications. Adsorption processes are used widely for process gas decontamination. Most industrial packed bed adsorption processes use activated carbon because it is cheap and highly effective. Once saturated, however, the adsorbent is a concentrated source of contaminants. Industrial applications either dump or regenerate the activated carbon. Regeneration may be accomplished in-situ or at an off-site location. In either case, concentrated contaminated waste streams must be handled appropriately to minimize environmental impact. As economic and regulatory forces drive toward minimizing waste and environmental impact, thermal catalytic oxidation is becoming more attractive. Through novel reactor and catalyst design, more complete contaminant destruction and greater resistance to poisoning can achieved leading to less waste handling, process downtime, and maintenance. Performance of a prototype thermal catalytic reactor, based on ultra-short channel monolith (USCM) catalyst substrate design, under a variety of process flow and contaminant loading conditions is discussed. The experimental results are evaluated against present and future air quality control and process gas purification processes used on board crewed spacecraft.


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