Novel Vapor Chambers for Heating and Cooling of Advanced Sorption Systems



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA) is a subassembly of the Environmental Control and Life Support (ECLS) system on the International Space Station (ISS). The function of the CDRA is to remove CO2 from cabin air, ideally turning it into a useful resource such as water or methane. This is accomplished using a sorbent material, zeolite, to adsorb and desorb CO2. Zeolite has a highly porous molecular structure, and CO2 can favorably bond within these pores at certain temperatures and pressures. This molecular bonding process is exothermic during CO2 adsorption and endothermic during CO2 desorption. Thus, the zeolite material on the CDRA must be heated and cooled to very specific temperatures for the most efficient desorption and adsorption of CO2, respectively. The current CDRA operates most effectively when the sorbent bed is cooled to 20°C for adsorption and heated to 220°C for desorption. The zeolite material has poor heat transfer characteristics, making a well-designed thermal management system a priority on the CDRA. Under a NASA Phase I SBIR program, Advanced Cooling Technologies (ACT) has developed an additively manufactured (AM), titanium-water, grooved vapor chamber to heat and cool the zeolite material in the CDRA. ACT’s proposed thermal management system is designed to heat and cool the zeolite to these specific temperatures at faster rates and more uniformly than the state-of-the-art design, which utilizes a cartridge heater and aluminum fin. ACT’s titanium water vapor chamber design has additional benefits over the state-of-the-art such as reduced size, weight, and power (SWaP) and adaptability to future sorbent materials.


Haley Myer, Advanced Cooling Technologies, USA
Michael C. Ellis, Advanced Cooling Technologies, USA
ICES206: Crewed Orbiting Infrastructures, Habitats, Space Station and Payload Thermal Control
The 52nd International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Calgary, Canada, on 16 July 2023 through 20 July 2023.


Limiting oxygen concentration, Sub-atmospheric, Radiant heating, Oxygen mole fraction, Solid burning