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Supercritical Water Mixture (SCWM) Experiment  


Objectives include (i) observe/quantify the critical point of a liquid-gas phase transition for a  salt/water mixture, (ii) observe/quantify the onset of precipitation in a supercritical homogeneous phase as a function of temperature , and (iii) observe/quantify the transport processes of the precipitate in the presence of temperature and/or salinity gradients


  • Application of supercritical  water oxidation (SCWO) technologies are limited in application because of fouling/corrosion caused by from salt deposits on critical heat transfer surfaces

  • Investigation extends current understanding of the diffusive transport processes of precipitates in a supercritical medium in the presence of temperature gradients and rapidly changing surface temperatures

Development Approach:

  • Testing to be performed in the DECLIC facility's  High Temperature Insert (HTI); designed for supercritical water studies on ISS

  • The HTI is to be returned from ISS and refurbished with a water/salt mixture; this refurbished insert is referred to as the HTI-Reflight (HTI-R)
  acrobat icon Supercritical Water Mixture (SCWM) Experiment

Supercritical  Water Oxidation (SCWO)    
Supercritical water oxidation or SCWO is a process that occurs in water at temperatures and pressures above a mixture's thermodynamic critical point. Under these conditions water becomes a fluid with unique properties that can be used to advantage in the destruction of hazardous wastes such as PCBs. The fluid has a density between that of water vapor and liquid at standard conditions, and exhibits high gas-like diffusion rates along with high liquid-like collision rates. In addition, the behavior of water as a solvent is altered (in comparison to that of subcritical liquid water) - it behaves much less like a polar solvent. As a result, the solubility behavior is "reversed" so that chlorinated hydrocarbons become soluble in the water, allowing single-phase reaction of aqueous waste with a dissolved oxidizer. The reversed solubility also causes salts to precipitate out of solution, meaning they can be treated using conventional methods for solid-waste residuals. Efficient oxidation reactions occur at low temperature (400-650 °C) with reduced NOx production.
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