Conceptual Design of a Condensing Heat Exchanger for Space Systems Using Porous Media

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Publication Title

SAE Technical Papers


Condensing heat exchangers are used in many space applications in the thermal and humidity control systems. In the International Space Station (ISS), humidity control is achieved by using a water cooled fin surface over which the moist air condenses, followed by "slurper bars" that takes in both the condensate and air into a rotary separator and separates the water from air. The use of a cooled porous substrate as the condensing surface provides an attractive alternative that combines both heat removal as well as liquid/gas separation into a single unit. By selecting the pore sizes of the porous substrate a gravity independent operation may also be possible with this concept. Condensation of vapor into and on the porous surface from the flowing air and the removal of condensate from the porous substrate are the critical processes involved in the proposed concept. This paper describes some preliminary results of the proposed condensate withdrawal process and discusses the on-going design and development work of a porous media based condensing heat exchanger at the NASA Glenn Research Center in collaboration with NASA Johnson Space Center. Copyright © 2005 SAE International.