The Smoke Eater, A Sorbent/Catalyst for Recovery from Fires 2008-01-2098
The possibility and consequences of a fire on board a spacecraft and the subsequent effects of the resultant toxic gases and smoke on the crew, equipment and mission is an ever-present hazard for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The necessity to remove these contaminants in the presence of high levels of humidity and carbon dioxide has prompted the development of a new prototype atmospheric filter (smoke eater) that can scrub acid gases, basic gases, and carbon monoxide from a spacecraft atmosphere in a post-fire event to a concentration below one half the Spacecraft Maximum Allowable Concentration (SMAC) levels.
TDA Research, Inc. (TDA) is developing an advanced smoke eater to remove combustion byproducts. The material makeup of the smoke eater will also be applicable to spacecraft evacuation masks and the shipboard atmospheric revitalization system. Three material components have been identified and developed to remove the acid gases, basic gases and carbon monoxide. The limiting factor is the requirement for an ambient temperature CO catalyst. The catalyst will be tolerant to high levels of humidity and carbon dioxide which are typically present in a post-fire cabin atmosphere. The smoke eater also has applications in other areas of industry such as fire rescue and escape hoods. This paper summarizes the results of the material development, testing, and evaluation efforts to date.