Colorimetric-Solid Phase Extraction Technology for Water Quality Monitoring: Evaluation of C-SPE and Debubbling Methods in Microgravity
Colorimetric-solid phase extraction (C-SPE) is being developed as a method for in-flight monitoring of spacecraft water quality. C-SPE is based on measuring the change in the diffuse reflectance spectrum of indicator disks following exposure to a water sample. Previous microgravity testing has shown that air bubbles suspended in water samples can cause uncertainty in the volume of liquid passed through the disks, leading to errors in the determination of water quality parameter concentrations. We report here the results of a recent series of C-9 microgravity experiments designed to evaluate manual manipulation as a means to collect bubble-free water samples of specified volumes from water sample bags containing up to 47% air. The effectiveness of manual manipulation was verified by comparing the results from C-SPE analyses of silver(I) and iodine performed in-flight using samples collected and debubbled in microgravity to those performed on-ground using bubble-free samples.