Ventilation Heat Exchanger/Flow Meter for xPLSS



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2023 International Conference on Environmental Systems


The flow meter / heat exchanger (FMHX) in the ventilation loop of the exploration EMU cools the ventilation gas and measures the ventilation flow rate. The heat exchanger transfers heat from the ventilation gas to the thermal control loop via a miniature shell-and-tube heat exchanger. The flow meters calculate the flow rate of gas through the ventilation loop based on the pressure drop across the heat exchanger core. Creare has delivered four design validation test (DVT) heat exchangers and five DVT flow meters to NASA JSC to support development of the exploration portable life support system (xPLSS). This paper describes the design and performance of the DVT units.

The heat exchangers are designed to cool the ventilation gas to a specified temperature with low pressure losses under the most challenging operating conditions. The measured performance of the DVT heat exchangers agrees well with design models and meets all performance requirements.

The flow meters use a MEMS thermal flow sensor to produce a signal that is proportional to a small bypass flow around the heat exchanger core. They are designed to achieve high measurement accuracy across the full range of xPLSS operating conditions. We calibrated the flow meters in a special-purpose flow facility that simulates operation in the xPLSS ventilation loop. Calibration testing shows that DVT flow meters produce digital output for vent loop mass flow that meets NASA’s accuracy requirements across the range of xPLSS operating conditions.

This paper reviews the design of the heat exchangers and flow meters and presents data from the final flow meter calibration testing, heat exchanger performance validation, and initial ground testing in NASA’s xPLSS.


Michael Izenson, Creare LLC, USA
Adam Niblick, Creare LLC, USA
Sheldon Stokes, Creare LLC, USA
Tessa Rundle, NASA Johnson Space Center(JSC), USA
ICES402: Extravehicular Activity: PLSS Systems
The 52nd International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Calgary, Canada, on 16 July 2023 through 20 July 2023.


exploration PLSS, ventilation flow meter, ventilation heat exchanger