Microgravity Compatible Gas-Liquid Separation using Capillary Pressure Gradients

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNM06AA47C
Agency Tracking Number: 053932
Amount: $70,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2006
Solicitation Year: 2005
Solicitation Topic Code: X12.07
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
P.O. Box 609, Myrtle Creek, OR, 97457-0102
DUNS: 068766781
HUBZone Owned: Y
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 James Atwater
 Principal Investigator
 (541) 863-2652
Business Contact
 John Aker
Title: Business Official
Phone: (541) 863-2655
Email: aker@urcmail.net
Research Institution
An innovative microgravity and hypogravity compatible Gas-Liquid Separator (GLS) is proposed. This novel GLS consists of an ordered array of variable sized water repellant granular particles that result in a spatial surface energy density gradient within the GLS. The resultant capillary pressure causes gas and water to flow toward different outlet GLS positions. The device contains no moving parts and is compatible with deployment in a variety of NASA ALS and ECLSS applications. Preliminary experiments, conducted in a vertically oriented quasi two-dimensional system, separated an air-water mixture using the proposed technology. The capillary pressure gradient within the GLS caused a flowing gas-water mixture to separate into a gas-enriched stream and a water stream. The gas-enriched stream exited at the bottom of the GLS, counter to the buoyancy force, and the water stream exited at the top of the GLS. This flow response clearly demonstrates microgravity compatibility. The Phase I project will demonstrate the feasibility of this innovative GLS technology. The Phase II program will deliver to NASA a full-scale GLS with test documentation that will allow evaluation of the technology for specific ALS or ECLSS applications. This technology demonstrator will also form the basis for multiple commercial applications.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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