Analysis of Two Lunar Oxygen Production Processes

by Laura Hernandez, Bechtel Corp, San Francisco, United States,
H. A. Franklin, Bechtel Corp, San Francisco, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Engineering, Construction, and Operations in Space III


Frequently, chemical engineers must evaluate processes, design systems, and size equipment based on a chemical or physical reaction without the benefit of laboratory data or previous industrial experience. In these instances, computer modeling can greatly aid in evaluating processes and developing them to an industrial scale. Moreover, a variety of operating conditions can be analyzed quickly and with accurate results, making it possible to define 'optimum' system design. The lack of laboratory data is especially a problem with developing processing facilities to produce oxygen on the Moon. Although not all aspects of the lunar environment can be easily modeled, computer-aided analysis can give a good idea of how a process will work under the extreme conditions found on the Moon. Two processes for making oxygen on the Moon were selected for study: pyrolysis and hydrogen reduction of lunar ilmenite. Computer modeling allows the chemical engineer to estimate feed, reagent, and energy requirements for an assortment of feeds and at a wide range of operating conditions.

Subject Headings: Chemical processes | Laboratory tests | Moon | Oxygen | Industries | Space colonies | Space exploration | Computer analysis

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