The key innovation of the work prior to the start of this project is the planar monolith - allowing for solid state oxygen production at pressures up to 300 psig. The key innovation of this proposed work is a new method of cell stack thermal management - with the key objective of reducing power use by more than 50% compared to current SOA. This thermal management approach is entirely new - it has not been used by any NASA, Industry, or academic project for oxygen separation. After the first year's work to develop and demonstrate a TRL 4 engineering prototype, next step is to develop and manufacture a fully packaged and integrated system suitable for flight demonstration on ISS.More »
Ceramic Transport Membranes can produce oxygen from air at high purity, at high pressure, using solid state processes. CTMs are not in widespread use because 1) the technology is new, and 2) in its current state it uses more power than other approaches. This project intends to replace the single-pass process air loop with a recirculating process air loop. The innovation: uncoupling fresh air intake from convective temperature control. The achievement: projected power use 1.4 Whr / liter of O2. The goal: to build and demonstrate a high purity (>99.99% O2) oxygen supply capable of providing suit recharge oxygen, contingency ECLS oxygen, or emergency medical oxygen - with power efficiency 63% better than the State of the Art, and unprecedented reliability that only solid state systems can achieve.More »
The analytical results related to cell stack electrical resistance and thermal management were similar to sizing estimates made at the start of the project. But these analytical results could not be experimentally confirmed. The cell stack intended for use for this project was damaged during shipping from White Sands Test Facility to Johnson Space Center. A replacement cell stack is on order, and the plan is for the experimental work to continue – under the sponsorship of Advanced Exploration Systems (AES). AES has agreed to sponsor continued development in this project.
Primary technical results that are supported with experimental data are in the area of improved heat recovery in the process air flow loop. Three different process air heat recovery systems were designed: 1) a single, coiled path, tube-in-tube heat exchanger, 2) a compact shell in tube heat exchanger with 300 tubular elements, and 3) a folded path shell in tube heat exchanger with 5 tubular elements. Surface area, system pressure drop, system manufacturability, system size, thermal efficiency, thermal environments, and material compatibility were assessed in a system trade. The folded path, 5 element, air to air heat exchanger was selected for prototype construction and testing. A solid model of the folded path design is shown below: note the low pressure manifold detail, the open flow paths for low system pressure drop, and favorable system shape factor. System test results show better than expected system pressure drop attributes, and successful high temperature operational performance. Minor redesign efforts are underway to address flow channeling issues that were identified during testing.More »
|Organizations Performing Work||Role||Type||Location|
|Johnson Space Center (JSC)||Lead Organization||NASA Center||Houston, TX|
|Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)||Supporting Organization||NASA Center||Pasadena, CA|
|Massachusetts Institute Technology||Supporting Organization||Industry|