Published: Oct. 10, 2019

James NabityJames Nabity
Associate Professor, Smead Aerospace
Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019 | 2:30 P.M. | AERO 111

Abstract: Human spaceflight poses many challenges to regenerable environmental control and life support (ECLS) and In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU).  In particular, robust systems for atmosphere revitalization are still being sought.  Elevated levels of CO2 onboard the International Space Station have been hypothesized to adversely affect crew cognitive performance, and cause headaches and lethargy.  While the findings are not conclusive, NASA has established a goal to reduce the partial pressure of CO2 to below 2 mmHg; a level that cannot be met by the zeolite sorbent used in the Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA).  To meet this need, I have been researching the use of ionic liquids as regenerable sorbents for CO2 removal as well as for humidity control and application to ISRU on the Lunar or Mars surface.  These novel fluids have negligible vapor pressure, are thermally and chemically stable, and many pose little or no risk of toxicity to the crew.  Here, I will describe the development of ionic liquid membrane contactors for the above applications with results from engineering design, analyses from first principles and laboratory experiments.  The seminar will focus on the highly selective capture of CO2 with supported ionic liquid membranes. 

Bio: James A. Nabity is an Associate Professor in the Smead Aerospace Engineering Sciences department with research focus in the field of Bioastronautics – the study and support of life in space.  Prior to joining CU in 2013, he was a Principal Engineer for TDA Research and before that at the Naval Air Warfare Center (NAWC).  He investigates robust space habitat designs and environmental control and life support system (ECLSS) technologies for human spaceflight.  Current research focuses on ionic liquid membranes for atmosphere revitalization and CO2 capture, effects of space radiation on habitat layout and crew performance, bioregenerative systems, heat transport and fluid flow in microgravity, and in situ resource utilization.  For his contributions to aerospace, Dr. Nabity has been recognized as a NAWC Technical Fellow (1996) and AIAA Associate Fellow (2016).