Multipurpose Waste Disposal Bags for Heat Melt Compactor Application
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Water recycling is of great importance for long-term space missions. Waste accumulated over the course of longer missions takes up a large amount of space, and also contains a significant amount of water that has the potential for re-use. NASA is currently investigating the employment of a heat melt compactor (HMC), an apparatus designed to extract pure water from waste specimens while compressing any waste material to one tenth of its size. This paper discusses a new trash bag for this application. The multicomponent material consists of a composite membrane that selectively permeable to water vapor. The trash bag allows water vapor to escape upon heating and encapsulates dried trash upon high-pressure compaction. An antimicrobial top layer coating prevents bacterial growth following compression, ensuring that waste can be stored for extended periods of time. The feasibility of the multifunctional storage bag was tested using a simulated waste formulation in a heated vacuum setup to emulate HMC operation in an onboard environment.