(296d) Packed Bed Reactor Experiment: Operating a Two-Phase Reactor Bed in Space
AIChE Annual Meeting
2022 Annual Meeting
Catalysis and Reaction Engineering Division
In Honor of Vemuri Balakotaiah’s Birthday (Invited Talks)
Tuesday, November 15, 2022 - 1:45pm to 2:10pm
An overview of the evolution of the test hardware, approach to modeling and the results of the PBRE research will be presented including initial drop tower tests, parabolic aircraft tests, and finally the ISS PBRE tests. These experiments included a range of packing size and materials, column diameters, and liquid viscosities. Not only are these results important for life support systems, but they also apply to the development of fuel cells, other chemical/materials processes, and methods to transport nutrients to plants in space. These systems operate differently when in the microgravity environment because the density differences no longer lead to phase separation or âdrainingâ under the body force of gravity. In the absence of gravity, the interfacial or capillary forces play a dominant role in determining the operational parameters such as phase distribution, liquid holdup, and pressure drop which will be discussed. This is most apparent when the liquid inertia and viscous forces are minimal which is common for the space processes mentioned above, i.e. lower liquid flow rates within air/water systems.