This proposal addresses the fabrication and testing of structured (monolithic), carbon-based multipollutant trace-contaminant (TC) sorbents for the space suit used in Extravehicular Activities (EVAs). The proposed innovations are: (1) multipollutant trace-contaminant control; (2) thin-walled, structured carbon TC sorbents fabricated using three-dimensional (3D) printing; and (3) the patented low-temperature oxidation step used for the treatment of carbon sorbents. The overall objective is to develop a multipollutant trace-contaminant removal system that is rapidly vacuum-regenerable and that possesses substantial weight, size, and power-requirement advantages with respect to the current state of the art. The Phase 1 objectives are: (1) to demonstrate the effectiveness of monolithic carbon sorbents with respect to ammonia and formaldehyde removal at concentrations much lower than currently demonstrated and tested, i.e. << 20 ppm ammonia and << 3 ppm formaldehyde; (the proposed target is the 7-day Spacecraft Maximum Allowable Concentrations, SMAC); (2) to evaluate the monolithic carbon sorbents with respect to multipollutant TC control, including carbon monoxide and methyl mercaptan; to define a path to sorbent improvements, if needed; and (3) to deliver a sorbent prototype to NASA for further sub-scale testing. This will be accomplished in three tasks: (1) Sorbent Fabrication and Characterization; (2) Sorbent Testing; and (3) Product Assessment.
The main application of the proposed technology would be in spacecraft life-support systems, mainly in extravehicular activities (space suit), but after modifications also in cabin-air revitalization.
The developed technology may find applications in air-revitalization on board US Navy submarines, in commercial and military aircraft, in the future air-conditioning systems for green buildings, and in advanced scuba-diving systems.