In this Phase I SBIR, XploSafe proposes to develop and confirm the technical feasibility of the use of beads, pellets made from pure and surface functionalized nanoporous silica as a vacuum regenerable sorbent within the Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU) for carbon dioxide (CO2) and humidity control. The proposed self-cleaning technology shall not require heat based regeneration, reduce power draw, volume envelope, and mass while maintaining the current CO2 and humidity removal capacity in the desired operating conditions. Higher sorption capacities for carbon dioxide and moisture and more rapid sorption rates that could lead to reduced weight and size requirements while providing a longer service life. In this investigation, the sorption rate and capacity for spacesuit CO2 and humidity will be determined. The ability for these contaminants to be removed from the sorbent by exposure to a moderate vacuum at ambient temperature will be demonstrated. Once the uptake capacities and rates are known for the OSU-6 sorbent and the logistics for vacuum regeneration of the sorbent have been determined, it will be possible to create a concept design for the prototype vacuum regenerable element that could be integrated into the xEMU. This design will be used in Phase II to produce and test prototypes.
Successful development of the proposed technology will advance the state of the art in CO2 and humidity removal via a pressure swing adsorption system. As a part of the Exploration Portable Life Support System (xPLSS) and the Exploration Extra-vehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU) units, the platform technology will advance the viability of NASA's crewed deep space exploration objectives
Success in developing more effective and efficient filtration media could provide a significant enhancement in the protection of public health and the environment. This new filter media will serve a wide variety of markets as high efficiency carbon dioxide, VOCs and moisture control in HVAC systems. Applications range from clean rooms, labs, pharmaceutical manufacturing etc.