Development of Membrane Gas Removal Technology for Microgravity Liquid Flow Systems 921162
Long duration microgravity missions will require management of both free and dissolved gases in the numerous liquid fluid systems flown on spacecrafts. The multitude of possible problem areas associated with gas accumulation are presented along with the expected sources of the gas itself. A technology program has been initiated to address these concerns for future exploration missions. Research, analyses, and hardware prototyping are being employed to fully understand the problems and help implement design solutions. Our first hardware prototype utilizes semi-permeable hydrophobic membranes for gas removal that effectively eliminate free gas buildup in fluid systems by maintaining dissolved gas levels below the saturation point. The small, lightweight unit is currently undergoing development testing with promising results as discussed in the paper. Other methods for gas removal, including the use of hydrophilic screen retention devices, will also be examined in the on-going technology program to help optimize gas removal hardware for SEI applications.