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Novel Vapor Chambers for Heating and Cooling of Advanced Sorption Systems
Phone: (717) 205-6614
Phone: (717) 205-0638
The current Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA) onboard the International Space Station (ISS) is used to capture and compress CO2 from the cabin air and then deliver compressed CO2 to the Sabatier Reactor to make water and methane. The CDRA captures CO2 using a sorbent material, traditionally zeolite. The zeolite must be maintained at specific temperatures for successful adsorption (20deg;C) and desorption (200deg;C) of the CO2. The CDRA relies on cartridge heaters and solid conductive metal fins to generate and spread heat to the sorbent material. The cooling system connects to the main cooling system on the spacecraft. This thermal management system is employed to maintain the appropriate sorbent (i.e., zeolite) temperature for adsorption and desorption temperatures of the CO2. The current system has been used for over 30 years, and many problems have arisen during its lifetime including performance vs. resource usage, closed loop operation, zeolite dust causing leaks, and sensors failing due to thermal fatigue. The proposed thermal management system mitigates many of these issues by combining the heating and cooling modes, operating passively, and replacing the solid metal fins with a unique, two-phase heat transfer vapor chamber system. By using vapor chambers instead of solid metal fins, there is minimal temperature gradient along the heat transfer device which will increase the isothermality of the surrounding sorbent material. This allows for faster, and more even, heating and cooling of the sorbent bed, which will ultimately improve the CO2 adsorption and desorption rates.
* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *