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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Advanced Supported Liquid Membranes for Ammonia and Formaldehyde Control in Spacesuits

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Advanced Supported Liquid Membranes for Ammonia and Formaldehyde Control in Spacesuits, Phase I
With plans to transition to the Rapid Cycle Amine system for CO2 control in the Portable Life Support System used for extra vehicular activities (EVA), NASA has a need to improve the method for controlling trace contaminants, specifically ammonia (NH3) and formaldehyde (CH2O), which have the potential to exceed space craft maximum allowable concentrations (SMAC) by the end of the EVA. A very simple way to remove ammonia and formaldehyde would be with a membrane that would allow ammonia and formaldehyde to escape to space vacuum while retaining oxygen (O2). Reaction Systems, Inc. (RSI) proposes to develop a supported liquid membrane (SLM) that incorporates a facilitated transport mechanism for the control of ammonia and formaldehyde in spacesuits. An SLM consists of a reactive liquid supported within a porous membrane and takes advantage of the difference in chemical reactivity between the compound of interest and oxygen to achieve the needed selectivity and permeation rate. In addition to reacting with the contaminant, the liquid must have extremely low vapor pressure to prevent loss by evaporation, and it must have low viscosity to allow diffusion across the membrane. As part of the development, RSI will prepare and characterize new functionalized liquid sorbents with near zero vapor pressure, and evaluate their effectiveness for ammonia and formaldehyde removal. More »

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