Development of an Inertial and Cold Trap Filter For Carbon Fines Management



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51st International Conference on Environmental Systems


The Plasma Pyrolysis Assembly (PPA) is a methane processing technology that integrates with the Sabatier Reactor Assembly (SRA) to further advance oxygen loop closure for spaceflight. A problematic reaction byproduct of the PPA is very fine carbon dust which accumulates on the walls of the reactor and migrates to downstream Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) components with the effluent flow. The reactor is regenerated periodically by generating a CO2 plasma within the reactor to clean the internal walls and microwave stub. To address the flow of carbon dust to downstream components, the PPA will require an effective carbon capture management system. While various methods have been attempted through prototype testing, the effective filtering and regenerative performance of these devices remains a challenge. A new approach is being explored which will provide large carbon dust holding capacity by flow inertial impaction and recirculation and low temperature particle quenching techniques. The technique involves a custom-designed housing to produce a strong and large recirculating pattern to remove the dust through inertial forces and confine it to a large collection cup. The collection cup is enshrouded in a cold trap to quench the PPA effluent and precipitate the remaining carbon from the reaction. The flow then passes through a single stage baffle and tube filters before exiting through the outlet at the top of the housing. A prototype of this concept was built and is being tested with simulant dust. This report will highlight the design and operation of the prototype and provide preliminary test results.


Juan Agui, NASA, US
Robert D. Green, NASA, US
Gordon Berger, USRA, US
ICES302: Physio-chemical Life Support- Air Revitalization Systems -Technology and Process Development
The 51st International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Saint Paul, Minnesota, US, on 10 July 2022 through 14 July 2022.


PPA, Filter, Carbon