A Study of Sabatier Reactor Operation in Zero “G”
The Sabatier reactor is an exothermic, heterogeneous catalytic reactor that has the function of reducing carbon dioxide to methane and water vapor. Sabatier reactor operation is affected by gravity through the effects of buoyant forces. The buoyant forces affect the transfer of heat and can be significant in determining the temperatures of the various portions of the reactor. The temperatures then affect the fundamental processes such as the chemical reaction rate. This paper presents the results of zero “G” computer model simulations of Sabatier reactor operation. Groundbase experiments were made for various manned loadings under normal ambient and gravity (l-G) conditions and were correlated with normal gravity simulations. The zero “G” simulations show the reactor will run significantly hotter in a zero “G” environment if cooling air flow is not increased to compensate for the loss of natural convections.