Development of the Static Phase Separator
During Lunar missions, NASA's new Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) may benefit from mass savings and increased reliability by the use of a passive, capillary-driven Static Phase Separator (SPS) for urine collection, containment, and disposal in place of a rotary-fan separator and wastewater storage tank. The design of a capillary separator addresses unique challenges for microgravity fluid management for liquids with a wide range of possible contact angles and high air-to-liquid flow ratio. This paper presents the iterative process leading to a successful test in a reduced gravity aircraft of the SPS concept. Using appropriately scaled test conditions, the resulting prototype allows for a range of wetting properties with complete separation of liquid from gas.