PNNL researchers develop nano-material to remove stink from submarine air

10 November 2014 (Last Updated November 10th, 2014 18:30)

Researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have developed a nano-material that can remove the stink from submarine air and make breathing easier for sailors.

Researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have developed a nano-material that can remove the stink from submarine air and make breathing easier for sailors.

Called self-assembled monolayers on mesoporous supports (SAMMS), the prototype ventilation system integrates material resembling sand that is filled with molecules that extract CO2 out of the air stream.

"The system is currently being tested with lab-simulated sub air and could be deployed on future submarines."

Researchers noted that the pores develop nooks and crannies that allow even a minute amount of the material to absorb a large amount of CO2.

PNNL engineer Ken Rappe was quoted by Wired as saying: "With a slight amount of heat, you can also open that molecule back up and release the CO2, making it possible to use the same material over and over again."

SAMMS can also remove amines that are highly corrosive and can damage anything not manufactured with stainless steel.

Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division (NAVSSES) Naval Ships Engineering Station engineer Jay Smith said: "When you go from a liquid to a solid, you're able to get rid of all the pumps and tanks.

"It's also safer and more environmentally friendly to dispose of."

The system is currently being tested with lab-simulated sub air and could be deployed on future submarines.

It has already completed sea assessments through small-scale test units.

Defence Technology