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Balasubramaniam R.,National Center for Space Exploration Research | Gokoglu S.,NASA | Hegde U.,National Center for Space Exploration Research
International Journal of Mineral Processing | Year: 2010

The processing of lunar regolith for the production of oxygen is a key component of the In-Situ Resource Utilization plans currently being developed by NASA. In the carbothermal process, a portion of the surface of the regolith in a container is heated by exposure to a heat source so that a small zone of molten regolith is established. A continuous flow of methane is maintained over the molten regolith zone. In this paper, we discuss the development of a chemical conversion model of the carbothermal process to predict the rate of production of carbon monoxide. Our model is based on a mechanism where methane pyrolyzes when it comes in contact with the surface of the hot molten regolith to form solid carbon and hydrogen gas. Carbon is deposited on the surface of the melt, and hydrogen is released into the gas stream above the melt surface. We assume that the deposited carbon mixes in the molten regolith and reacts with metal oxides in a reduction reaction by which gaseous carbon monoxide is liberated. Carbon monoxide bubbles through the melt and is released into the gas stream. It is further processed downstream to ultimately produce oxygen. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. Source

Dotson K.T.,University of Maryland University College | Sunderland P.B.,University of Maryland University College | Yuan Z.-G.,National Center for Space Exploration Research | Urban D.L.,NASA
Fire Safety Journal | Year: 2011

Laminar smoke points were measured in nonbuoyant laminar jet diffusion flames in coflowing air. Microgravity was obtained on board the International Space Station. A total of 55 smoke points were found for ethylene, propane, propylene, and propylene/nitrogen mixtures. Burner diameters were 0.41, 0.76, and 1.6 mm, and coflow velocities varied from 5.4 to 65 cm/s. These flames allow extensive control over residence time via variations in dilution, burner diameter, and coflow velocity. The measured smoke-point lengths scaled with d-0.91uair0.41, where d is burner diameter and uair is coflow velocity. The measurements yielded estimates of sooting propensities of the present fuels in microgravity diffusion flames. Analytical models of residence times in gas jet flames are presented, and although residence time helps explain many of the observed trends it does not correlate the measured smoke points. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Source

Olson S.L.,NASA | Ferkul P.V.,National Center for Space Exploration Research
42nd International Conference on Environmental Systems 2012, ICES 2012 | Year: 2012

Drop tower tests are conducted at Martian gravity to determine the flammability of three materials compared to previous tests in other normal gravity and reduced gravity environments. The comparison is made with consideration of a modified NASA standard test protocol. Material flammability limits in the different gravity and flow environments are tabulated to determine the factor of safety associated with normal gravity flammability screening. Previous testing at microgravity and Lunar gravity indicated that some materials burned to lower oxygen concentrations in low gravity than in normal gravity, although the low g extinction limit criteria are not the same as 1g due to time constraints in drop testing. Similarly, the data presented in this paper for Martian gravity suggest that there is a gravity level below Earth's at which materials burn more readily than on Earth. If proven for more materials, this may indicate the need to include a factor of safety on 1g flammability limits. Source

Yuan Z.-G.,National Center for Space Exploration Research | Kleinhenz J.E.,NASA
41st International Conference on Environmental Systems 2011, ICES 2011 | Year: 2011

Gas phase pressure effects on the apparent thermal conductivity of a JSC-1A/air mixture have been experimentally investigated under steady state thermal conditions from 10 kPa to 100 kPa. The result showed that apparent thermal conductivity of the JSC-1A/air mixture decreased when pressure was lowered to 80 kPa. At 10 kPa, the conductivity decreased to 0.145 W/m/oC, which is significantly lower than 0.196 W/m/oC at 100 kPa. This finding is consistent with the results of previous researchers. The reduction of the apparent thermal conductivity at low pressures is ascribed to the Knudsen effect. Since the characteristic length of the void space in bulk JSC-1A varies over a wide range, both the Knudsen regime and continuum regime can coexist in the pore space. The volume ratio of the two regimes varies with pressure. Thus, as gas pressure decreases, the gas volume controlled by Knudsen regime increases. Under Knudsen regime the resistance to the heat flow is higher than that in the continuum regime, resulting in the observed pressure dependency of the apparent thermal conductivity. Source

Zimmerli G.A.,NASA | Asipauskas M.,National Center for Space Exploration Research | Van Dresar N.T.,NASA
Cryogenics | Year: 2010

We have analyzed data published by others reporting the solubility of helium in liquid hydrogen, oxygen, and methane, and of nitrogen in liquid oxygen, to develop empirical correlations for the mole fraction of these pressurant gases in the liquid phase as a function of temperature and pressure. The data, compiled and provided by NIST, are from a variety of sources and covers a large range of liquid temperatures and pressures. The correlations were developed to yield accurate estimates of the mole fraction of the pressurant gas in the cryogenic liquid at temperature and pressures of interest to the propulsion community, yet the correlations developed are applicable over a much wider range. The mole fraction solubility of helium in all these liquids is less than 0.3% at the temperatures and pressures used in propulsion systems. When nitrogen is used as a pressurant for liquid oxygen, substantial contamination can result, though the diffusion into the liquid is slow. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Source

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