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Technical Paper

Durable Coating Technology for Lunar Dust Protection and Mitigation

2006-07-17
2006-01-2205
Special coatings are being developed and tested to contend with the effects of dust on the lunar surface. These coatings will have wide applicability ranging from prevention of dust buildup on solar arrays and radiator surfaces to protection of EVA space suit fabrics and visors. They will be required to be durable and functional based on application. We have started preparing abrasion-resistant transparent conductive coatings ∼40 nm thick were formed by co-deposition of titanium dioxide (TiO2) and titanium (Ti) on room-temperature glass and polycarbonate substrates using two RF magnetron sputtering sources. By adjusting Ti content, we obtained sheet resistivities in the range 104-1010 ohms/square. We have also started conducting a series of environmental tests that simulate the exposure of coated samples to dust under relevant conditions, beginning with abrasion tests using regolith simulant materials.
Technical Paper

Diffusion Limited Supercritical Water Oxidation (SCWO) in Microgravity Environments

2006-07-17
2006-01-2132
Tests designed to quantify the gravitational effects on thermal mixing and reactant injection in a Supercritical Water Oxidation (SCWO) reactor have recently been performed in the Zero Gravity Facility (ZGF) at NASA's Glenn Research Center. An artificial waste stream, comprising aqueous mixtures of methanol, was pressurized to approximately 250 atm and then heated to 450°C. After uniform temperatures in the reactor were verified, a controlled injection of air was initiated through a specially designed injector to simulate diffusion limited reactions typical in most continuous flow reactors. Results from a thermal mapping of the reaction zone in both 1-g and 0-g environments are compared. Additionally, results of a numerical model of the test configuration are presented to illustrate first order effects on reactant mixing and thermal transport in the absence of gravity.
Technical Paper

Fluid Dynamics Assessment of the VPCAR Water Recovery System in Partial and Microgravity

2006-07-17
2006-01-2131
The Vapor Phase Catalytic Ammonia Removal (VPCAR) system is being developed to recycle water for future NASA Exploration Missions. Testing was recently conducted on NASA's C-9B Reduced Gravity Aircraft to determine the microgravity performance of a key component of the VPCAR water recovery system. Six flights were conducted to evaluate the fluid dynamics of the Wiped-Film Rotating Disk (WFRD) distillation component of the VPCAR system in microgravity, focusing on the water delivery method. The experiments utilized a simplified system to study the process of forming a thin film on a disk similar to that in the evaporator section of VPCAR. Fluid issues are present with the current configuration, and the initial alternative configurations were only partial successful in microgravity operation. The underlying causes of these issues are understood, and new alternatives are being designed to rectify the problems.
Technical Paper

Hydrodynamics of Packed Bed Reactor in Low Gravity

2005-07-11
2005-01-3035
Packed bed reactors are well known for their vast and diverse applications in the chemical industry; from gas absorption, to stripping, to catalytic conversion. Use of this type of reactor in terrestrial applications has been rather extensive because of their simplicity and relative ease of operation. Developing similar reactors for use in microgravity is critical to many space-based advanced life support systems. However, the hydrodynamics of two-phase flow packed bed reactors in this new environment and the effects of one physicochemical process on another has not been adequately assessed. Surface tension or capillary forces play a much greater role which results in a shifting in flow regime transitions and pressure drop. Results from low gravity experiments related to flow regimes and two-phase pressure drop models are presented in this paper along with a description of plans for a flight experiment on the International Space Station (ISS).
Technical Paper

Gravity Effects on Premixed and Diffusion Limited Supercritical Water Oxidation

2005-07-11
2005-01-3036
Supercritical water oxidation (SCWO) may become an attractive technology for processing solid and liquid wastes for long duration space and extraterrestrial planetary missions. Gravitational influences on the operation of SCWO reactors are discussed in the context of key dimensionless parameters for two general modes of operation: a “premixed” mode, where the reactants are brought to supercritical temperatures and pressures simultaneously, and a “diffusion limited” mode, where one of the reactants (typically the oxidizer) is injected into the reactor after the bulk fluid is raised to supercritical temperatures and pressures. An experimental facility for testing the gravitational influences on a SCWO reactor is then discussed.
Technical Paper

Lunar Dust Cloud Characterization in a Gravitational Settling Chamber Experiencing Zero, Lunar, Earth and 1.8-g Levels

2009-07-12
2009-01-2357
In order to study dust propagation and mitigation techniques, an inertial separation and gravitational settling experiment rig was constructed and used for experimental work in reduced gravity aircraft flights. The first experimental objective was to test dust filtration by a cyclone separator in lunar gravity. The second objective was to characterize dust flow and settling in lunar gravity in order to devise more comprehensive dust mitigation strategies. A settling channel provided a flow length over which particles settled out of the air flow stream. The experimental data provides particle quantity and size distribution, and a means of verifying numerical predictions.
Technical Paper

Results and Analysis from Reduced Gravity Experiments of the Flexible Membrane Commode Apparatus

2009-07-12
2009-01-2344
Two separate experimental rigs used in tests on NASA and Zero-G Corporation aircrafts flying low-gravity trajectories, and in the NASA 2.2 Second Drop Tower have been developed to test the functioning of the Flexible Membrane Commode (FMC) concept under reduced gravity conditions. The first rig incorporates the flexible, optically opaque membrane bag and the second rig incorporates a transparent chamber with a funnel assembly for evacuation that approximates the size of the membrane bag. Different waste dispensers have been used including a caulking gun and flexible hose assembly, and an injection syringe. Waste separation mechanisms include a pair of wire cutters, an iris mechanism, as well as discrete slug injection. The experimental work is described in a companion paper. This paper focuses on the obtained results and analysis of the data.
Technical Paper

Miniaturized Sensor Systems for Early Fire Detection in Spacecraft

2009-07-12
2009-01-2469
A fire in spacecraft or habitat supporting NASA's Exploration mission could jeopardize the system, mission, and/or crew. Given adequate measures for fire prevention, the hazard from a fire can be significantly reduced if fire detection is rapid and occurs in the early stages of fire development. The simultaneous detection of both particulate and gaseous products has been proven to rapidly detect fires and accurately distinguish between real fires and nuisance sources. This paper describes the development status of gaseous and particulate sensor elements, integrated sensor systems, and system testing. It is concluded that while development is still necessary, the fundamental approach of smart, miniaturized, multisensor technology has the potential to significantly improve the safety of NASA space exploration systems.
Technical Paper

Anthropometric and Blood Flow Characteristics Leading to EVA Hand Injury

2009-07-12
2009-01-2471
The aim of this study was to explore if fingernail delamination injury following EMU glove use may be caused by compression-induced blood flow occlusion in the finger. During compression tests, finger blood flow decreased more than 60%, however this occurred more rapidly for finger pad compression (4 N) than for fingertips (10 N). A pressure bulb compression test resulted in 50% and 45% decreased blood flow at 100 mmHg and 200 mmHg, respectively. These results indicate that the finger pad pressure required to articulate stiff gloves is more likely to contribute to injury than the fingertip pressure associated with tight fitting gloves.
Technical Paper

Smoke Particle Sizes in Low-Gravity and Implications for Spacecraft Smoke Detector Design

2009-07-12
2009-01-2468
This paper presents results from a smoke detection experiment entitled Smoke Aerosol Measurement Experiment (SAME) which was conducted in the Microgravity Science Glovebox on the International Space Station (ISS) during Expedition 15. Five different materials representative of those found in spacecraft were pyrolyzed at temperatures below the ignition point with conditions controlled to provide repeatable sample surface temperatures and air flow conditions. The sample materials were Teflon®, Kapton®, cellulose, silicone rubber and dibutylphthalate. The transport time from the smoke source to the detector was simulated by holding the smoke in an aging chamber for times ranging from 10 to1800 seconds. Smoke particle samples were collected on Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) grids for post-flight analysis.
Technical Paper

Abrasion of Candidate Spacesuit Fabrics by Simulated Lunar Dust

2009-07-12
2009-01-2473
A protocol has been developed that produced the type of lunar soil abrasion damage observed on Apollo spacesuits. This protocol was then applied to four materials (Kevlar®, Vectran®, Orthofabric, and Tyvek®) that are candidates for advanced spacesuits. Three of the four new candidate fabrics (all but Vectran®) were effective at keeping the dust from penetrating to layers beneath. In the cases of Kevlar® and Orthofabric this was accomplished by the addition of a silicone layer. In the case of Tyvek®, the paper structure was dense enough to block dust transport. The least abrasive damage was suffered by the Tyvek®. This was thought to be due in large part to its non-woven paper structure. The woven structures were all abraded where the top of the weave was struck by the abrasive. Of these, the Orthofabric suffered the least wear, with both Vectran® and Kevlar® suffering considerably more extensive filament breakage.
Technical Paper

Detection of Smoke from Microgravity Fires

2005-07-11
2005-01-2930
The history and current status of spacecraft smoke detection is discussed including a review of the state of understanding of the effect of gravity on the resultant smoke particle size. The results from a spacecraft experiment (Comparative Soot Diagnostics (CSD)) which measured microgravity smoke particle sizes are presented. Five different materials were tested producing smokes with different properties including solid aerosol smokes and liquid droplets aerosol smokes. The particulate size distribution for the solid particulate smokes increased substantially in microgravity and the results suggested a corresponding increase for the smokes consisting of a liquid aerosol. A planned follow on experiment that will resolve the issues raised by CSD is presented. Early results from this effort have provided the first measurements of the ambient aerosol environment on the ISS (International Space Station) and suggest that the ISS has very low ambient particle levels.
Journal Article

Measurement of Smoke Particle Size under Low-Gravity Conditions

2008-06-29
2008-01-2089
Smoke detection experiments were conducted in the Microgravity Science Glovebox (MSG) on the International Space Station (ISS) during Expedition 15 in an experiment entitled Smoke Aerosol Measurement Experiment (SAME). The preliminary results from these experiments are presented. In order to simulate detection of a prefire overheated-material event, samples of five different materials were heated to temperatures below the ignition point. The smoke generation conditions were controlled to provide repeatable sample surface temperatures and air flow conditions. The smoke properties were measured using particulate aerosol diagnostics that measure different moments of the size distribution. These statistics were combined to determine the count mean diameter which can be used to describe the overall smoke distribution.
Technical Paper

Testing of an R134a Spray Evaporative Heat Sink

2008-06-29
2008-01-2165
The NASA Glenn Research Center has been developing a spacecraft open loop spray evaporative heat sink for use in pressure environments near sea-level, where evaporative cooling of water is not effective. The working fluid is R134a, a common refrigerant used in household appliances, considered safe and non-toxic for humans. The concept uses an open loop spray of R134a impinging on a heated flat plate, through which a closed loop of hot coolant flows, having acquired the heat from spacecraft electronics boxes, the cabin heat exchanger, and other heat sources. The latent heat of evaporation cools the outside of the hot plate, and through heat conduction, reduces the temperature of the coolant. The testing at NASA Glenn has used an electrically heated cylindrical copper target to simulate the hot plate. This paper will discuss the R134a feed system, the test matrix, and test results.
Technical Paper

Microwave Powered Gravitationally Independent Medical Grade Water Generation

2007-07-09
2007-01-3176
The on-demand production of Medical Grade Water (MGW) is a critical biomedical requirement for future long-duration exploration missions. Potentially, large volumes of MGW may be needed to treat burn victims, with lesser amounts required to reconstitute pharmacological agents for medical preparations and biological experiments, and to formulate parenteral fluids during medical treatment. Storage of MGW is an untenable means to meet this requirement, as are nominal MGW production methods, which use a complex set of processes to remove chemical contaminants, inactivate all microorganisms, and eliminate endotoxins, a toxin originating from gram-negative bacteria cell walls. An innovative microgravity compatible alternative, using a microwave-based MGW generator, is described in this paper. The MGW generator efficiently couples microwaves to a single-phase flowing stream, resulting in super-autoclave temperatures.
Technical Paper

Innovative Multi-Environment, Multimode Thermal Control System

2007-07-09
2007-01-3202
Innovative multi-environment multimode thermal management architecture has been described that is capable of meeting widely varying thermal control requirements of various exploration mission scenarios currently under consideration. The proposed system is capable of operating in a single-phase or two-phase mode rejecting heat to the colder environment, operating in a two-phase mode with heat pump for rejecting heat to a warm environment, as well as using evaporative phase-change cooling for the mission phases where the radiator is incapable of rejecting the required heat. A single fluid loop can be used internal and external to the spacecraft for the acquisition, transport and rejection of heat by the selection of a working fluid that meets NASA safety requirements. Such a system may not be optimal for each individual mode of operation but its ability to function in multiple modes may permit global optimization of the thermal control system.
Technical Paper

Development of the Compact Flash Evaporator System for Exploration

2007-07-09
2007-01-3204
This paper will discuss the status of the Compact Flash Evaporator System (CFES) development at NASA Glenn. Three alternative heat sink technologies are being developed under Thermal Control for Advanced Capabilities within the Exploration Technology Development Program. One of them is CFES, a spray cooling concept related to the current Space Shuttle Orbiter Flash Evaporator System (FES). In the CFES concept, water is sprayed on the outside of a flat plate heat exchanger, through which flows the vehicle's primary vehicle heat transfer fluid. The steam is then exhausted to space in an open-loop system. Design, fabrication and testing of the CFES at NASA's Glenn Research Center will be reported.
Technical Paper

ISS Destiny Laboratory Smoke Detection Model

2007-07-09
2007-01-3076
Smoke transport and detection were modeled numerically in the ISS Destiny module using the NIST, Fire Dynamics Simulator code. The airflows in Destiny were modeled using the existing flow conditions and the module geometry included obstructions that simulate the currently installed hardware on orbit. The smoke source was modeled as a 0.152 by 0.152 m region that emitted smoke particulate ranging from 1.46 to 8.47 mg/s. In the module domain, the smoke source was placed in the center of each Destiny rack location and the model was run to determine the time required for the two smoke detectors to alarm. Overall the detection times were dominated by the circumferential flow, the axial flow from the intermodule ventilation and the smoke source strength.
Technical Paper

Weathering of Thermal Control Coatings

2007-07-09
2007-01-3020
Spacecraft radiators reject heat to their surroundings. Radiators can be deployable or mounted on the body of the spacecraft. NASA's Crew Exploration Vehicle is to use body mounted radiators. Coatings play an important role in heat rejection. The coatings provide the radiator surface with the desired optical properties of low solar absorptance and high infrared emittance. These specialized surfaces are applied to the radiator panel in a number of ways, including conventional spraying, plasma spraying, or as an appliqué. Not specifically designed for a weathering environment, little is known about the durability of conventional paints, coatings, and appliqués upon exposure to weathering and subsequent exposure to solar wind and ultraviolet radiation exposure. In addition to maintaining their desired optical properties, the coatings must also continue to adhere to the underlying radiator panel.
Technical Paper

Thin Film Measurement Assessment of the VPCAR Water Recovery System in Partial and Microgravity

2007-07-09
2007-01-3039
The Vapor Phase Catalytic Ammonia Removal (VPCAR) system is being developed to recycle water for future NASA Exploration Missions [1,2,3,4,5]. Reduced gravity testing of the VPCAR System has been initiated to identify any potential problems with microgravity operation. Two microgravity testing campaigns have been conducted on NASA's C-9B Reduced Gravity Aircraft. These tests focused on the fluid dynamics of the unit's Wiped-Film Rotating Disk (WFRD) evaporator. The experiments used a simplified system to study the process of forming a thin film on a rotating disk. The configuration simulates the application of feed in the VPCAR's WFRD evaporator. The first round of aircraft testing, which was completed in early 2006, indicated that a problem with microgravity operation of the WFRD existed. It was shown that in reduced gravity the VPCAR wiper did not produce a uniform thin film [6]. The film was thicker near the axis of rotation where centrifugal forces are small.
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