Diffusion Limited Supercritical Water Oxidation (SCWO) in Microgravity Environments
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.