Design of a Light-Weight Low-Volume High Oxygen Storage Density Material
Schwartz, Nicholas Robert
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A compact, lightweight, dense and safe method for storing and supplying oxygen remains a large hurdle for closed-circuit self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) and respiratory protective equipment. No filter that can protect against airborne chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) contaminants exists, which presents the need for an isolated oxygen source. Heavy and high maintenance oxygen cylinders are typically used. The most important criteria for a smart and effective CBRN protection device are safety, weight, size, and cost, level of maintenance, ease-of-use and reliability. This study focused on nanomaterials for high capacity gas storage. Nanocapillary arrays composed of anodic aluminum oxide (AAO) were evaluated as high pressure storage materials. Carbon nanotubes (CNT) were integrated in the pores to increase pressure tolerance and act as an electrical conductor. A membrane electrode assembly (MEA) was used to seal the nanocapillaries and to allow for electrochemical gas compression within the system. The volumetric and gravimetric storage capacity of the nanomaterials was calculated to be 1,139 g/L and 0.616 g/g, respectively. Micropore blowout pressure experiments estimated a 500 nm membrane cap in the AAO could seal against 45,000 psi. Nanocapillaries were integrated with membrane material with penetration depths between 1−400 μm within 100 nm wide nanocapillaries. Electrochemical oxygen pumping and compression with open and closed pore nanocapillary-MEAs was performed.