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An Experimental Investigation and System Design for Humidity and Carbon Dioxide Level Control Using Thermal Radiation

Report Number: AMRL TR 68-174
Author: Maulbetsch, John S.
Corporate Author: Dynatech Corporation
Laboratory: Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory
Date of Publication: 1969-04
Pages: 114
Contract: F33615-67-C-1587
Project: 6373
Task: 637302
AD Number: AD0692169

An experimental investigation was carried out to verify the feasibility of controlling carbon dioxide levels in space cabin atmospheres by freeze-out techniques using thermal radiation as the only mode of heat rejection. A one-tenth scale system was constructed with the primary aim of gaining understanding of the CO2 precipitation mechanism and determining the operating characteristics of a precipitator plate. Both quantitative measurements and visual observation of the frost formation were made. The geometric characteristics of the precipitator channel were found to be not critical. Uniform frost layer formation could be obtained and premature channel plugging was not a problem. Typical precipitator plate effectivenesses of 0.75 - 0.85 were easily obtainable. Simultaneous CO2 sublimation was achievable at a controllable rate. System stability was easily achieved. Solid CO2 carryover in both the precipitating and sublimating streams is a real possibility and preventive measures must be taken in the final design of the system. Based on these results, a complete test system was designed to handle the water vapor and carbon dioxide loads in a one-man, manned space enclosure. The system, with a total weight of 51.2 lb, is a two-loop configuration where one loop maintains humidity control and the other removes the generated carbon dioxide and returns all of the accompanying water vapor to the cabin. The system will operate indefinitely with no operator intervention, is operable in zero-gravity, and is of low weight, volume, and power.

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