Innovators at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) have patented an advanced sublimator that can tolerate larger amounts of contamination than conventional sublimators. Sublimators are heat rejection devices that transfer heat from space vehicles by venting water vapor into space in order to maintain temperature control of the cabin and vehicle hardware. Sublimators accomplish this by freezing water inside a porous plate, allowing it to sublimate into vapor, then venting the vapor into space. As the ice sublimates, it leaves behind contaminants that were dissolved in the water and could clog the system. The new JSC-developed sublimator improves upon existing designs by using two different porous media in a vacuum environment. The first stage consists of disks with small-sized pores that control water flow into the second stage, where plates with large pore sizes freeze and sublimate the water. This system prevents water-borne contaminants from clogging the system and causing operational failures. JSC has received patent number 7,604,782 for this technology.
Johnson Space Center has received patent protection (U.S. 7,604,782→) for this technology.
This technology is being made available through JSC’s Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office, which seeks to transfer technology into and out of NASA to benefit the space program and U.S. industry. NASA invites companies to consider licensing this technology for commercial applications.
If you would like more information about this technology or about NASA’s technology transfer program, please contact:Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office