Development of a Foam Based Capillary Driven Brine Residual in Containment (BRIC) Processor
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One of the goals for the AES Life Support System (LSS) project is to achieve 98% water loop closure for long duration human exploration missions beyond low Earth orbit. Critical to this goal is development of a brine water recovery system that can extract the remaining 10 to 25% of the water left behind from primary urine and wastewater processing. For the last several years, NASA Johnson Space Center has been developing and evolving Brine Residual in Containment (BRIC) systems that are specifically designed to handle the corrosive and toxic residual chemicals added to stabilize the urine and protect hardware from fouling during collection and water recovery process. Since last reported at the 2016 International Conference on Environmental Systems (ICES), capillary-based BRIC concepts have continued to be evolved. The capillary-based BRIC (CapiBRIC) designs focus on the use of capillary forces in microgravity to manage fluid movement and phase separation within the BRIC device. This paper addresses the continued collaboration between the NASA Johnson Space Center and IRPI Inc. to evolve the CapiBRIC design from a radial veined capillary structure device (ICES 2016), to a thin film woven cell design and finally to a foam based CapiBRIC brine drying system. Design, testing, and manufacturing challenges as the system evolved will be discussed as part of the design evolution.