Silver Foam: A Novel Approach for Long-Term Passive Dosing of Biocide in Spacecraft Potable Water Systems – Update 2023



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2023 International Conference on Environmental Systems


A spacecraft water disinfection system that suitable for extended length space exploration, should prevent or control the growth of microbes, prevent or limit biofilm formation, and prevent microbiologically influenced corrosion. In addition, the system should have minimal maintenance requirements, be chemically compatible with all materials in contact with the water, be safe for human consumption, and be suitable to be shared across international spacecraft platforms and mission architectures. Ionic silver is a proven broad-spectrum potable water biocide under investigation for future exploration missions. The competing technology for dosing silver ions in future water systems is based on actively dosing the ions via electrolytic production. Several challenges with this approach have prompted additional investigations into alternative dosing techniques. Controlled-release technology is an attractive option for developing a high-reliability passive silver dosing device. This paper describes the continued development of a nanoparticle/polyurethane (NP/PU) composite foam for the controlled release of silver ions, and is intended to build upon the 2022 International Conference on Environmental Systems (ICES) paper number 97. This paper provides the technical background and performance test results of ongoing long-term silver ion release testing, microbial check valve (MCV) function, and disinfection function during system dormancy from the silver chloride (AgCl) NP/PU composite foams. The ultimate goal of the project is to develop a stable and reliable passive dosing silver ion release device for use in future spacecraft potable water systems.


Tesia Irwin , NASA Kennedy Space Center, USA
Angie Diaz , NASA Kennedy Space Center, USA
Jennifer Gooden , NASA Kennedy Space Center, USA
Mary Hummerick , NASA Kennedy Space Center, USA
Wenyan Li , NASA Kennedy Space Center, USA
Nilab Azim , NASA Kennedy Space Center, USA
Deborah Essumang , NASA Kennedy Space Center, USA
Michael Callahan , NASA Johnson Space Center, USA
ICES303: Physio-Chemical Life Support- Water Recovery & Management Systems- Technology and Process Development
The 52nd International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Calgary, Canada, on 16 July 2023 through 20 July 2023.


water disinfection, silver biocide, Passive dosing, silver ion