A Novel Membrane Device for the Removal of Water Vapor and Water Droplets from Air 921322
One of the key challenges facing NASA engineers is the development of systems for separating liquids and gases in microgravity environments. In this paper, a novel membrane-based phase separator is described. This device, known as a water recovery heat exchanger (WRHEX), overcomes the inherent deficiencies of current phase-separation technology. Specifically, the WRHEX cools and removes water vapor or water droplets from feed-air streams without the use of a vacuum or centrifugal force. As is shown in this paper, only a low-power air blower and a small stream of recirculated cool water is required for WRHEX operation.
This paper presents the results of tests using this novel membrane device over a wide range of operating conditions. The data show that the WRHEX produces a dry air stream containing no entrained or liquid water--even when the feed air contains water droplets or mist. An analysis of the operation of the WRHEX is presented.