Chemical Sensors for Toxic Industrial Chemicals/Toxic Industrial Materials (TICs/TIMs) Filtration Performance Monitoring

Description:

TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials

OBJECTIVE: To develop a prototype handheld device that provides a real-time assessment of the efficacy of a TICs/TIMs filter being used to purify water from any indigenous source.

DESCRIPTION: Soldiers require upwards of 15L of water/day to properly sustain adequate hydration levels on an extended mission. This water is either carried by the individual Soldier on their person in the form of the MOLLE hydration pack, canteens, and water bottles, or can be obtained from indigenous water sources in an emergency using purification tablets. Recent investment in filtration technologies by the US Army has led to the development of toxic industrial chemicals/toxic industrial materials (TICs/TIMs) filters that are compatible with the MOLLE hydration pack. However, there is no way to assess the continued efficacy of the filtration system, including when the filtration media is saturated or breached. In addition, although the filters have been developed to function for up to 135 L of water in a laboratory setting, there is no way to ensure that the filters would function as designed in an operational setting over their intended lifespan. The additional sources of fouling found in indigenous waters cannot be accounted for in the development and prototype stages. Currently, the only way to assess water quality is to obtain a sample, send it back to a centralized laboratory facility, and obtain test results in 4-6 weeks. This is an unacceptable timeframe for a Soldier needing emergency water, and puts them at risk for acute or chronic health effects if they choose to drink the water without any knowledge of the risks. Therefore, we are soliciting new ideas for a handheld sensor device that could provide assurance of water quality, after filtering, such that the Soldier could determine whether the filter is still functioning, or needs to be replaced. The sensor system shall sense for representative classes of TICs/TIMs (heavy metal, organophosphate, volatile), and salt in any source water. The limits of detection of the sensor should be commensurate with the Army Public Health Command minimum exposure levels for each class of threat.Higher consideration will be given to technologies that meet or approach the following guidelines: • Handheld device or compatible with the MOLLE hydration system; • Lightweight, with a total system weight not to exceed < 1lb/person; • Simple sampling interface producing minimal waste; • Minimal supplies to test against each class of threat; • Provide instantaneous and easily understandable output of threats from the indigenous water source; • Satisfy a 6 foot drop to concrete and 300 lbs dynamic and static compression while dry; • No power/low power requirements are preferred. If batteries or other electronic components are required, they shall be commercially available and included in the total system weight for the entire service life of the device; • Capable of being used and operated with water temperatures from 4°C to 49°C, in environments with temperature from -33°C to 52°C; • System cost of <$200 at full scale manufacturing.The device should be lightweight, easy to use, with a simple interface that provides an easy to understand readout.

PHASE I: The STTR Phase I should result in an innovative proof of concept device that incorporates sensing capabilities of at least three TIC/TIM threats, as well as salt, at concentrations equal to or below minimum exposure limits, defined by Army Public Health Command and TBMED 577. Phase I is to determine the scientific and technical merit and feasibility of the proposed cooperative effort.Phase I deliverables would include a bench scale demonstration of the technology, cost/benefit analysis report, a plan to scale technology, and technical report .Specifically, the device should be able to sense for threats from toxic industrial chemicals and materials, and high salt concentrations (>1000 ppm).

PHASE II: This phase of the program should expand upon the capabilities of the proof of concept devices from Phase I, to include sensing of at least 10 TIC/TIM threats, as well as salt, at concentrations equal to or below minimum exposure limits defined by Army Public Health Command and TBMED 577. Development should result in at least 10 useable prototypes, which shall be tested against artificial water spiked with threats, as well as real-world water sources (e.g. fresh, brackish, and seawater) to prove they meet the above requirements. Phase II deliverables would also include a final report documenting the development of the device, test results compared to the objectives and the technical data package to build the device, and a plan for commercialization.

PHASE III: The initial use of this technology will be to provide Army Soldiers with instantaneous analysis of the efficacy of their TICs/TIMs water purification system. This should easily transition to other branches of the Armed Forces as well. If successful, this technology will find use in a number of other sectors. The most immediate need is in underdeveloped countries where access to clean drinking water is scarce and purification is expensive. As the world’s water supply becomes more contaminated, the ability to identify whether indigenous water sources are safe, and if not, what threat needs to be addressed through purification, is a powerful tool to better ensure water quality for individuals, small groups or communities. Another area of interest is in the commercial outdoors sector, in which a small, handheld device can provide threat information from indigenous water sources for the camper, hiker, or backpacker.

KEYWORDS: Hydration, sensor, individual protection, water, purification, Soldier, TICs/TIMs

References:

Topic A20B-T025 - Table 1 TICs-TIMs.pdf

1. Technical Bulletin Medical (TB MED) 577: Sanitary Control and Surveillance of Field Water Supplies. United States Department of the Army, 2013. https://dmna.ny.gov/foodservice/docs/references/tbmed577.pdf;2.NSF Protocol P248: Military Operations Microbiological Water Purifiers, NSF International, 2012.;3.ATP 4-44 MCRP 3-17.7Q Water Support Operationshttps://www.marines.mil/Portals/1/Publications/MCRP%203-40D.14.pdf?ver=2017-03-27-095057-740; Water Requirement and Soldier Hydration: https://ke.army.mil/bordeninstitute/published_volumes/mil_quantitative_physiology/QPchapter07.pdf

US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government