NASA is currently pursuing an advanced space suit portable life support system (PLSS) for future missions that could reach the moon or Mars. The Liquid Cooling and Ventilation Garment (LCVG) is a critical component of the PLSS and improvements are needed to reduce weight and improve comfort and mobility. NASA research has shown that the LCVG tubing is a significant heat transfer bottleneck because of the low tubing thermal conductivity and high thermal resistance between the tubing/garment and the body. Previous research at Mainstream developed innovative techniques for improving tubing thermal resistance. Leveraging this work, Mainstream proposes to develop next-generation tubing that improves LCVG performance. In Phase I, Mainstream will establish a baseline thermal model and experimentally demonstrate performance improvements from different tubing configurations. In Phase II, Mainstream will use the new tubing design to create a full scale LCVG and test its performance in a representative environment.
The proposed research is targeted at next generation Liquid Cooling and Ventilation Garments. Future missions will require demanding extra vehicular activities on the international space station, moon, and mars. Our technology will enable smaller cooling garments and/or smaller heat rejection systems for these missions.
Innovative liquid cooling garment are useful in any working environment where the worker is enclosed in a protective suit. One example use is with firefighting PPE. With this technology, firefighters will be able to face extreme conditions for longer periods of time. Other potential commercial markets include hazmat cleanup crews, paint booth workers, automotive racing, and soldiers.