Request ID: LCG
Request Title: Lightweight Cooling Garment
Submitting Organization: NASA Johnson Space Center
For Questions about Request: Send e-mail to Collaborations@TCC-Houston.org
Current space suit technology utilizes water that is pumped through tubes near the astronaut’s skin. The chilled water removes the astronaut’s metabolic heat as it circulates around the entire body. The heat is then rejected through a sublimator or water evaporator. Oxygen is also circulated through vents in the garment that help with circulation within the spacesuit. With current technology, there is a large mass, power, and volume penalty for the liquid cooling and venting garment. Battery power and water are heavy consumables during use of the cooling garment. During a typical spacewalk, water is sublimated into the vacuum of space at a rate of 1 pound per hour that is lost and not recoverable. Cooling needs to be provided for metabolic rates of about 500 Btu/hr. NASA is interested in partnering to determine the feasibility of minimizing mass, volume, and consumable usage.
TIME FRAME FOR COLLABORATION:
Responses will be reviewed as they’re received and collaborations can begin at any time.
PROGRESS MADE SO FAR:
The amount of consumables being used as well as the mass and volume of the system are the key elements that will influence the viability of the technology for NASA’s applications. In addition, if water is used as part of a cooling garment, the desire is to avoid evaporation and maximize recycling / recirculation.
ALREADY TRIED OR CONSIDERED:
NASA developed a radiator where the water circulates through the system, but the surface area was too large for a space suit. NASA also considered phase change materials (e.g. ice/water), but once again, the mass and volume of the system was too large.
TYPES OF COLLABORATIONS BEING SOUGHT:
NASA seeks unique ideas, knowledge sharing opportunities, or potential partnership arrangements (if applicable). This technology may be of interest to other industries such as medical equipment developers or personal protective equipment (PPE) manufacturers as well as other government agencies such as the Department of Defense.
POTENTIAL BENEFITS FOR COLLABORATION PARTNERS:
Partners can potentially benefit from NASA’s unique capabilities, technology advancements, and expertise. In addition, new Intellectual Property (IP) may be created through a collaboration that would enable the partner to commercialize the technology for other applications such as personal protective equipment (PPE) for plant workers, chem-bio suits, military equipment, fire fighter / first responder suits, etc.
OTHER POTENTIAL APPLICATIONS FOR THIS TECHNOLOGY:
Commercial liquid cooling garments already exist on the market and could be improved upon with this technology, which could be used for any application where extreme environments and high temperatures are an issue. Petrochemical, defense, aerospace, health care, and emergency response fields have various needs and applications for this type of technology in areas such as personal protective equipment (PPE) for plant workers, chem-bio suits, military equipment, fire fighter / first responder suits, etc.