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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Toward Reducing Crew Time and Conserving Resources: Superhydrophillic Treatment of Hardware in Crew Hygiene Areas, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Significant challenges remain for the designers of life support equipment for spacecraft—primarily for the processing of aqueous fluids: oxygen supply, air revitalization, thermal management systems, water reclamation, medical fluids, and others. The main problem is that failure-prone processes are often employed to overcome unfamiliar microgravity fluidic phenomena using artificial buoyancy-inducing methods. The most obvious example is a mechanical centrifuge for liquid-gas separations aboard orbiting spacecraft. To improve NASA's spacecraft fluid systems design, InnoSense LLC (ISL) proposes to develop Superhydrophilic Coatings for Embedded Capillary Systems (SPHIL-EMCAP) with anti-microbial properties. In Phase I, ISL will design and fabricate a complex capillary solution for spacecraft fluid management. The geometric design will exploit the current state of the art in analytical and computational capillary fluidics. Devices will be coated with SPHIL-EMCAP and evaluated for substrate adhesion, water contact angles, wear, and environment robustness, before testing in the relevant low-g environment to assess the improved capillary control afforded by the superhydrophilic coatings. In Phase II, ISL will downselect materials and applications, and optimize SPHIL-EMCAP's performance by refining the prototyping process and optimizing the superhydrophilic coating formulation. We will perform extensive characterization toward manufacturing a miniaturized SPHIL-EMCAP. More »

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