Design Validation - via Parabolic Flight Tests - of a Condensate Buffer Equalizing a Discontinuous Gas / Water Flow between a Condensing Heat Exchanger and a Water Separator
EADS SPACE Transportation GmbH designed, built and tested a condensate buffer to be located between a Condensing Heat Exchanger (CHX) and a Condensate Water Separator Assembly (CWSA), as part of the ECLSS of the European Columbus Module. Under zero-g conditions, the separation of water from an air-water mixture is always difficult, especially if a passive device is to be used such as the low power consuming Columbus CWSA. The additional buffer volume reduces condensate water peaks reaching the CWSA to a level that excludes an overloading of the CWSA and a release of free water droplets into the air return to the cabin. In the CHX/CWSA system this may only be necessary under worst case operational conditions and with a failure of the qualified hydrophilic coating of the CHX. The buffer design principle was confirmed via prior analyses and on-ground testing. The performance of such a condensate buffer under micro-g conditions was verified during parabolic flights.