This invention facilitates collection, storage, concentration, and drying of liquid or mixed liquid/solid waste material. The invention may serve as a portable toilet or may be used to dry biological specimens or concentrate water samples for analysis. It can replace diapers, special plastic bags, and airflow waste disposal systems used in space missions. The resulting products are clean, but not potable, water and dried, compacted, bagged material that may be human waste or other matter. The bag simplifies collection and reduces disposal cost.

It may be set up with a membrane-lined bag with several sealed and one unsealed edges. One sealed edge has a vacuum source connected to a port. A first end of the port includes a spacer mechanism holding it away from adjacent portions of the inner layer so that the vacuum force created at the first end of the port reaches most of the inner layer. The inner bag includes a liquid-impermeable and vapor-impermeable outer layer, and a liquid-impermeable but vapor-permeable inner layer membrane. Activation of the vacuum source causes the vapors to pass through the membrane liner. Liquid components of the waste solids within the bag may be vaporized and transported across the membrane. Waste solids then remain partly dried in an inner layer, or the membrane. Solids are thereby trapped and sealed in the bag while the vapors pass through the membrane and are then received by an outer bag, i.e., the membrane and the bag outer layer.

This work was done by Eric Litwiller, John A. Hogan, and John W. Fisher of Ames Research Center. NASA invites companies to inquire about partnering opportunities and licensing this patented technology. Contact the Ames Technology Partnerships Office at 1-855-627-2249 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Refer to ARC-15900-1.

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the October, 2015 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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