This content is not included in your SAE MOBILUS subscription, or you are not logged in.
A Matrix-Based Porous Tube Water and Nutrient Delivery System
ISSN: 0148-7191, e-ISSN: 2688-3627
Published July 01, 1992 by SAE International in United States
Annotation ability available
A system was developed which provides nutrients and water to plants while maintaining good aeration at the roots and preventing water from escaping in reduced gravity. The nutrient solution is circulated through porous tubes under negative pressure and moves through the tube wall via capillary forces into the rooting matrix, establishing a non-saturated condition in the root zone. Tests using prototypes of the porous tube water and nutrient delivery system indicate that plant productivity in this system is equivalent to standard soil and solution culture growing procedures. The system has functioned successfully in short-term microgravity during parabolic flight tests and will be flown on the space shuttle.
Plants are one of the components of a bioregenerative life support system required for long duration space missions. In addition to being a food supply, plants can remove atmospheric carbon dioxide, release oxygen, and transpire water from the leaf surfaces that can serve as a source of potable water. Providing a favorable root environment for plants in a space environment is essential in maintaining the growth rates necessary for an effective life support system. Consequently, supplying water and nutrients to plant roots in a microgravity environment is a major concern in the development of space-based plant growing facilities.
Several methods for providing water and nutrients to plants in a reduced gravity environment have been proposed and have been evaluated in ground-based, 1 g, conditions (Koontz et al., 1990; Schwartzkopf, et al., 1989; Dreschel and Sager, 1988; Wright, et al., 1988). Evaluation of the effectiveness of some of these concepts to provide water and nutrients to plants under reduced gravity conditions has been limited to parabolic flight experiments.
CitationMorrow, R., Bula, R., Tibbitts, T., and Dinauer, W., "A Matrix-Based Porous Tube Water and Nutrient Delivery System," SAE Technical Paper 921390, 1992, https://doi.org/10.4271/921390.
- ASTM 1989 Standard test method for maximum pore diameter and permeability of rigid porous filters for laboratory use
- Bula, R.J. Tibbitts T.W. Morrow R.C. Dinauer W.R. 1992 Commercial involvement in the development of space-based plant growing technology Adv. Space Res. 12 5
- Dreschel, T.W. Sager J.C. 1989 Control of water and nutrients using a porous tube: A method for growing plants in space HortScience 24 944 947
- Hammer, P.A. Tibbitts T.W. Langhans R.W. McFarlane J.C. 1978 Base-line growth studies of ‘Grand Rapids” lettuce in controlled environments J. Amer. Hort. Sci. 103 649 655
- Koontz, H.V. Prince R.P. Berry W.L. 1990 A Porous Stainless Steel Membrane System for Extraterrestrial Crop Production HortScience 25 707
- Morrow, R.C. Bula R.J. Corey R.B. Tibbitts T.W. Richards E.E. 1988 A Porous-Tube Nutrient Delivery System for Plant Growth in Space ASGSB Bulletin 2 35
- Schwartzkopf, S.H. Oleson M.W. Cullingford H.S. 1989 Conceptual design of a closed loop nutrient solution delivery system for CELSS implementation in a micro-gravity environment ASME Paper # 891586 , 19th Intersociety Conference on Environmental Systems San Diego, CA
- Wright, B.D. Bausch W.C. Knott W.M. 1988 A hydroponic system for microgravity plant experiments Trans. Amer. Soc. Agr. Eng. 31 440 446