Thin Film Measurement Assessment of the VPCAR Water Recovery System in Partial and Microgravity
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 . The film was thicker near the axis of rotation where centrifugal forces are small.