Initial Testing of a Full-Scale Ultrasonic Clothes Washer/Dryer for Moon, Mars, ISS and Beyond

Date

2024-07-21

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

2024 International Conference on Environmnetal Systems

Abstract

NASA's Life Support and Habitation Systems Focus Area seeks key capabilities and technology solutions to support extended human presence in deep space. A critical technological gap involves developing a clothing washer/dryer combination suitable for lunar or Martian conditions. In contrast to conventional thermal drying methods, our team's direct contact ultrasonic drying innovation eliminates the need for substantial heat to evaporate water. Consequently, it is not constrained by the high energy input required for water vaporization. This novel drying method mechanically removes water by rapidly shaking the object on a micron scale employing piezoelectric transducers. By partially bypassing the evaporation process, the technology exhibits significantly higher efficiency and drying speed when applied to various wet materials. Unlike traditional agitation washing methods that may introduce unwanted gyroscopic effects, need for substantial detergent, and generate a considerable amount of lint, we also explored the potential of fabric ultrasonic cleaning for garment washing. This paper will present the results of a comprehensive study of the ultrasonic cleaning potential for fabric and its unique design at scale, including the matching system design for ultrasonic drying. We will also report a semi-empirical model for ultrasonic drying performance. The results of this study could pave the path for the development of the first garment washing and drying system for use on the ISS, Moon, Mars, and other space applications, contributing to the prolonged presence of humans in space.

Description

Jon Bigelow, Ultrasonic Technology Solutions, USA
Connor Shelander, Ultrasonic Technology Solutions, USA
Dennis Chertkovsky, Ultrasonic Technology Solutions, USA
Michael Ewert, NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC), USA
Melissa McKinley, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), USA
Ayyoub Momen, Ultrasonic Technology Solutions, USA
ICES304: Physico-Chemical Life Support- Waste Management Systems- Technology and Process Development
The 53rd International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Louisville, Kentucky, USA, on 21 July 2024 through 25 July 2024.

Keywords

Ultrasonic Drying, Ultrasonic Washing, Clothes Washing and Drying, Waste Managment, Water Recovery

Citation