Carbon-Based Regenerable Sorbents for the Combined Carbon Dioxide and Ammonia Removal for the Primary Life Support System (PLSS)
Wójtowicz, Marek A.
Cosgrove, Joseph E.
Serio, Michael A.
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Results are presented on the development of reversible sorbents for the combined carbon dioxide and trace-contaminant (TC) removal for use in Extravehicular Activities (EVAs). Since ammonia is the most important TC to be captured, data on TC sorption presented in this paper are limited to ammonia, with results relevant to other TCs to be reported at a later time. The currently available life support systems use separate units for carbon dioxide, trace contaminants, and moisture control, and the long-term objective is to replace the above three modules with a single one. Furthermore, the current TC-control technology involves the use of a packed bed of acid-impregnated granular charcoal, which is non-regenerable, and the carbon-based sorbent under development in this project can be regenerated by exposure to vacuum at room temperature. The objective of this study was to demonstrate the feasibility of using carbon sorbents for the reversible, concurrent sorption of carbon dioxide and ammonia. Several carbon sorbents were fabricated and tested, and multiple adsorption/vacuum-regeneration cycles were demonstrated at room temperature, and also a carbon surface conditioning technique that enhances the combined carbon dioxide and ammonia sorption without impairing sorbent regeneration.