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Feasibility of Removing Gaseous Contaminants from Manned Space-Cabin Atmosphers by Ionic Processes

Report Number: AMRL TR 66-22
Author: Doyle, George J.
Author: Caldwell, Robert G.
Corporate Author: Stanford Research Institute
Laboratory: Aerospace Medical Research Laboratories
Date of Publication: 1966-02
Pages: 72
Contract: AF 33(615)-2405
Project: 6373
Task: 637302
AD Number: AD0635522

The application of ionic processes to the purification of manned space-cabin atmospheres was investigated in anticipation of a need for a radically new atmospheric purification system for some of the presently scheduled space journeys. Processes considered are (1) ion-molecule reactions of contaminant molecules with specific added molecule ions (O2(+), O2(-)) and (2) clustering of contaminant molecules about specific ions (H3O(+)). Either reaction type can lead to charging of the contaminant molecules (or molecules derived therefrom), allowing collection by an externally applied electric field. Ion-molecule reactions were found to be potentially useful for removal of a large class of contaminant species. However, charge-trapping reactions involving such species as water and oxygen--occurring or energetically capable of occurring concurrently or subsequently to the desired reaction--could interfere, thereby allowing no clear-cut decision as to the applicability of ion-molecule reactions to purification. Clustering was investigated in greater detail than ion-molecule reactions. Detailed calculation of ion-polar molecule interaction energies for typical molecules were carried out.

RAF Centre of Aviation Medicine
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