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#1 2008-02-28 18:08:45

Swoosh
Member
From: Australia
Registered: 2008-01-28
Posts: 33

Re: New idea for Mechanical CounterPressure suit

MIT researchers have been making great strides with spacesuit that pressurizes the body mechanically, not with air pressure: http://mvl.mit.edu/EVA/biosuit/index.html

The problem, apparently, is the difficulty of putting on the suit since it must be so tight. One idea is to wait until we develop piezo-electric fibres which can contract once the suit is on...

But it doesn't have to be so high tech! Why not just manually tighten the suit's interior network of cabling after the suit is on? It could be done by having a few knobs on the arms, legs, etc which you tighten before heading EVA. This would also allow the suit to function for IVA simply by relaxing the pressure. It may be complex, but nowhere near as much as piezo-electrics, or for that matter the existing gas pressure suits.

Thoughts?

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#2 2008-02-28 20:21:28

JoshNH4H
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From: New York, NY, USA, Earth, Sol
Registered: 2007-07-15
Posts: 2,193
Website

Re: New idea for Mechanical CounterPressure suit

sounds like a good idea to me.  Somewhere, I have one that uses buckles, but it doesn't really matter.  it's a good idea


-Josh

If you try to talk to me about cold fusion or propellantless drives I will ignore you.
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#3 2008-02-28 21:29:53

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 10,650

Re: New idea for Mechanical CounterPressure suit

There are a couple of spacesuit threads of which the MCP are meantioned in them.
I hope when we get fully transistioned that the search functions will start to find what we are looking for instead of coming up empty as it often does.

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#4 2008-03-01 21:44:48

GCNRevenger
Member
From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: New idea for Mechanical CounterPressure suit

MIT researchers have been making great strides with spacesuit that pressurizes the body mechanically, not with air pressure: http://mvl.mit.edu/EVA/biosuit/index.html

The problem, apparently, is the difficulty of putting on the suit since it must be so tight. One idea is to wait until we develop piezo-electric fibres which can contract once the suit is on...

But it doesn't have to be so high tech! Why not just manually tighten the suit's interior network of cabling after the suit is on? It could be done by having a few knobs on the arms, legs, etc which you tighten before heading EVA. This would also allow the suit to function for IVA simply by relaxing the pressure. It may be complex, but nowhere near as much as piezo-electrics, or for that matter the existing gas pressure suits.

Thoughts?

Actually piezo-tightening would be quite simple and light weight, excepting the problem of needing a continuous supply of electricity. Of course, if your suit loses power you would suffocate pretty quickly anyway.

The trouble with cables or straps is that you would need an awful lot of them, with very small spacing between them, making the suit complex and heavy.

Furthermore, piezo-cloth applies only as much pressure as needed, so the suit would stretch when you move unlike a stiff wire or strap.


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#5 2008-03-17 02:58:48

Michael Bloxham
Member
From: Auckland, New Zealand
Registered: 2002-03-31
Posts: 426

Re: New idea for Mechanical CounterPressure suit

Yes, joints always seem to be a difficult area. Perhaps such a suit could be made up of layers which slide over each other; thus allowing changes in shape while maintaining counter-pressure?


- Mike,  Member of the Clean Slate Society

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#6 2008-04-01 05:26:02

Swoosh
Member
From: Australia
Registered: 2008-01-28
Posts: 33

Re: New idea for Mechanical CounterPressure suit

I read recently that the Mars Society of Australia is developing a piezo-electric MCP suit called MarsSkin (see http://www.marssociety.org.au/). The fibres would be relaxed by passing a current through them in order to don and doff the suit. In other words, it only needs electricity when you're taking it off or putting it on. Sounds much safer.

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#7 2008-04-05 12:39:24

Terraformer
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From: Lancashire
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 2,508
Website

Re: New idea for Mechanical CounterPressure suit

The Mars Society? Doing something useful? Something other than staying at tuna can habs and playing Astronaut?


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#8 2008-04-06 08:42:12

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 2,681

Re: New idea for Mechanical CounterPressure suit

Can someone explain why the air pressure suit is considered a disadvantage? Is it the safety concern - a pressure leak? Or something else.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#9 2008-04-06 11:17:08

Terraformer
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From: Lancashire
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 2,508
Website

Re: New idea for Mechanical CounterPressure suit

It's bulky and restricts movement.


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#10 2008-04-11 15:32:01

Commodore
Member
From: Upstate NY, USA
Registered: 2004-07-25
Posts: 1,021

Re: New idea for Mechanical CounterPressure suit


"Yes, I was going to give this astronaut selection my best shot, I was determined when the NASA proctologist looked up my ass, he would see pipes so dazzling he would ask the nurse to get his sunglasses."
---Shuttle Astronaut Mike Mullane

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#11 2008-04-17 06:00:43

Grypd
Member
From: Scotland, Europe
Registered: 2004-06-07
Posts: 1,846

Re: New idea for Mechanical CounterPressure suit

The US army have been developing Exo-Skeletons for use initially in there logistics.

US army develops robotic suits

They are needless to say a few years away from actual deployment as there are still issues over balance and power but this prototype does show the actual ability that an exo skeleton would give.

In the three video's attached to the post you will see the XOS Exoskeleton do a bit of weightlifting and then they had to soldier who was piloting try it without the suit. Needless to say the weight was picking the soldier up.

Still this technology will go out into the civilian side and of course would be an incredible bonus for any Mars explorer.


Chan eil mi aig a bheil ùidh ann an gleidheadh an status quo; Tha mi airson cur às e.

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#12 2008-04-17 16:29:17

GCNRevenger
Member
From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: New idea for Mechanical CounterPressure suit

If the suit is too heavy for human muscles... don't use human muscles to drive the suit. Cool.


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#13 2012-02-06 17:31:32

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 5,043
Website

Re: New idea for Mechanical CounterPressure suit

I have a much simpler idea. Use an elastic suit, but along each arm a patch of non-stretchable fabric. This non-stretch fabric would be folded with a strong zipper. Open the zipper to loosen, to put it on or take it off. Close the zipper to tighten. Need I draw a picture? Would you need a motor to close the zipper, or just fingers?

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#14 2012-02-07 00:55:36

JoshNH4H
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From: New York, NY, USA, Earth, Sol
Registered: 2007-07-15
Posts: 2,193
Website

Re: New idea for Mechanical CounterPressure suit

Would it be possible to apply pressure evenly over the entire body?  And whether the zipper would need more than human strength to move is dependent on the strength of human and zipper, but also on the cross section of the area being enclosed.  I suspect people would be okay for the arms and legs but not the torso.


-Josh

If you try to talk to me about cold fusion or propellantless drives I will ignore you.
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#15 2012-02-07 07:24:14

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 5,043
Website

Re: New idea for Mechanical CounterPressure suit

The suit would have to be designed to provide even pressure when everything's closed. Zipper panels would releave pressure for donning and doffing, but there would be areas that always remain tight, like the shoulders.

Dr. Webb's first prototype used all eleastic fabric, but his test subject found pressure across the chest make breathing difficult. So his second version used a mild elastic across the chest, and an air bladder vest that covered the chest and upper abdomen. The bladder was connected to the hose for breathing air to the helmet to ensure air pressure in the lungs was exactly the same as outside the chest, so no restriction to breathing. We would use the same system. This weak elastic across the chest makes donning and doffing easy.

Note: the helmet would be pressurized, with a neoprene air dam at the neck. This allows a motorcycle style helmet, safe to ride an ATV. And boots would be pressurized with an air dam at the ankles. I visualize a telemark ski boot.

That leaves a zipper along each leg up to the waist, and each arm. Could it extend to the top of a shoulder, where it meets the vest?

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#16 2012-02-07 07:46:32

RobertDyck
Member
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 5,043
Website

Re: New idea for Mechanical CounterPressure suit

Some sort of motorized tool to close the zipper? Or motorized zipper slider?
6238306788_b1b2130190_s.jpg

Last edited by RobertDyck (2012-02-07 07:59:02)

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#17 2012-02-10 16:00:11

GW Johnson
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From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 2,712
Website

Re: New idea for Mechanical CounterPressure suit

Is Paul Webb's elasticspacesuit.com site still in operation?  He had some good stuff up there,  when I was last there months ago,  including video clips from old movie footage.  That was 1969-vintage stuff that they demonstrated with 6 or 7 layers of the then-new-technology pantyhose material. 

Part of the problem MIT is having is the NASA requirement for 1/3 of an atmosphere counterpressure.  That's coming from the 1/3 atm they customarily use in the O2 gas suits.  Been standard for years like that.  That's just about 253 mmHg,  or 338 mbar.

But it's more oxygen than we get here on Earth at sea level,  which is 159 mmHg or 212 mbar.  You don't really need 1/3 atm pressure on pure O2.  You don't really even need sea level oxygen.  Most of us do fine up to 10,000 foot altitudes.  Some higher.

One has to account for the displacement of oxygen by water vapor inside the wet lungs,  and should account for exhalation CO2 displacement of O2,  but that's a minor effect.  I did numbers like that and posted them over on http://exrocketman.blogspot.com,  as an article dated 1-21-2011. 

The upshot is that 20-25% of an atm's compression will do.  That's 152-190 mmHg,  or 203-253 mbar.  190 mmHg (253 mbar) is what Paul Webb used in 1969,  so he and I got the same answers decades apart. 

MIT's suit design can already supply compression like that.  What is holding back immediate success is the unnecessary higher compression requirement. How stupid is that?

GW


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#18 2013-12-08 23:15:06

JoshNH4H
Mod and Martian
From: New York, NY, USA, Earth, Sol
Registered: 2007-07-15
Posts: 2,193
Website

Re: New idea for Mechanical CounterPressure suit

Discussion continued from this thread.


-Josh

If you try to talk to me about cold fusion or propellantless drives I will ignore you.
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#19 2013-12-10 23:05:17

RGClark
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From: Philadelphia, PA
Registered: 2006-07-05
Posts: 444
Website

Re: New idea for Mechanical CounterPressure suit

Another recent article on the Dava Newman suit:

BioSuit: The Future of Space Gear Is Being Built Out of MIT.
New materials and designs could allow outer-space travelers to move more freely.
By Steve Annear | Boston Daily     | December 10, 2013 12:08 pm
http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/blog … va-newman/

She says using "active materials" they are able to get to the 30% of an ATM they need for the suit.

   Bob Clark


Nanotechnology now can produce the space elevator and private orbital launchers. It now also makes possible the long desired 'flying cars'. This crowdfunding campaign is to prove it:
Nanotech: from air to space.
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/nano … 13319568#/

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#20 2013-12-11 19:03:49

GW Johnson
Member
From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 2,712
Website

Re: New idea for Mechanical CounterPressure suit

I have no idea what "active material" means.  The article cited gives no hint,  either. 

The 30% of an atm compression is not what is required for life support.  It is what is required to avoid oxygen pre-breathing to purge nitrogen without getting the bends.  That is an artifact of 0.7 to 1 atm of ordinary air.  You could go to just under 0.5 atm at 40% oxygen,  and avoid nitrogen purge,  at a moderate fire danger risk,  and a still-unknown hazard to pregnancies. 

All that is required of MCP is 20-25% atm compression.  15% if you are really acclimatized to high altitude living.  Webb achieved that 25% level with panty hose material in the late 1960's. 

I have to ask why this is still a research issue half a bloody century later. It ought to be prototype test issue by now. 

GW


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#21 2013-12-11 21:47:21

RobertDyck
Member
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 5,043
Website

Re: New idea for Mechanical CounterPressure suit

The Mars Society Spacesuit Taskforce did organize a Spacesuit Symposium one year. Chris Vancil organized it, but just to brag, he did so after I pointed out Dr. Paul Webb's 80th birthday was that year. I wanted to transfer his knowledge to the new generation before it was too late. I noticed Dr. Webb, Dr. Allen Hargens and a couple others organized an MCP group right after that. But their website disappeared in 2011. Too bad.

I wish we could organize a program with leading researchers like that to produce a prototype. It would make a great "next project" for the Mars Society. And I do mean a full-up spacesuit, not just an analogue.

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#22 2013-12-12 22:00:06

RobertDyck
Member
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 5,043
Website

Re: New idea for Mechanical CounterPressure suit

I saw this on the Spacesuit Taskforce email list. I responded before RGClark posted here. I pointed out the "active materials" thing. But my email bounced. So we both noticed this. Hmm...

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#23 2014-01-09 21:30:14

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 10,650

Re: New idea for Mechanical CounterPressure suit

Here is an update from an old newmars friend

Shaun Barrett wrote:

The link provided by Kev at this thread on the 25th of October 2007 showed Dava Newman wearing one of her spacesuit prototypes.
That was over 6 years ago.

Well, she's still at it; researching, refining, developing, improving. smile
[See THIS SITE.]

dava-newman-02.jpg

In order to survive in the vacuum of space, human bodies require pressure. EMUs [Extravehicular Mobility Units] solve this problem by creating a pressurized vessel, sort of like a mini airplane cabin.
By contrast, the BioSuit employs semi-rigid ribs traced across the body to provide mechanical counterpressure while letting the wearer retain a full range of movement.

Providing that life-preserving pressure requires over a thousand feet of ribbing, which is threaded through the suit at critical strain points and held in place with over 140,000 stitches. Gold fibers are woven through the outfit and paired with biometric sensors to collect data that helps mission control keep tabs on the crew.

The sewing of the 140,000 stitches in the elastic ribbing looks very painstaking and, given that the article mentions each suit must be individually tailored to fit each individual astronaut, it may be difficult to streamline the process using mass production (?). :huh:

dava-newman-07.jpg

The degree of flexibility provided by this suit is shown in the following photo, which depicts Dr. Newman sitting quite comfortably in a cross-legged position.
Such ease of movement is going to be critical for the hundreds of EVAs on Mars over the duration of a 500-day stay on the surface, in order to avoid the kind of fatigue reported by the Apollo astronauts on the later multi-day missions.

dava-newman-01.jpg

It seems that many of the separate threads (no pun intended) of technology needed for manned Mars exploration seem to be coming together these days.
Spacesuit design is just one of them.
Re-usable rockets from SpaceX, the British 'Skylon' jet/hybrid Single-Stage-To-Orbit aircraft, plus all the detailed data being gathered by orbiters and rovers at Mars itself, are further examples of what's going on year by year.

Mars One's stated plans to put the first four settlers on Mars in 10 years may not be as far-fetched as many people believe. smile

I do agree that it does appear that things are coming together....

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#24 2014-01-10 12:49:19

GW Johnson
Member
From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 2,712
Website

Re: New idea for Mechanical CounterPressure suit

If NASA were serious about this,  she wouldn't be the only fundee,  and budgets would be higher.  After all these years,  that suit should be flying,  at least experimentally.  Does that tell you something about their intentions for men on Mars?  When you consider that the suits we have are too heavy and restrictive,  and too vulnerable to dirt-induced damage,  to be used on Mars. 

As far as I can tell,  the MIT MCP suit pretty much as it is will protect humans against vacuum death.  But the compression it can achieve is below the 1/3 atm standard they have used for the gas balloon suits.  It's adequate to protect,  but inadequate to use with existing cabin atmospheres without a long decompression to blow off blood nitrogen. 

GW


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#25 2014-01-10 18:44:57

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 2,681

Re: New idea for Mechanical CounterPressure suit

GW Johnson wrote:

If NASA were serious about this,  she wouldn't be the only fundee,  and budgets would be higher.  After all these years,  that suit should be flying,  at least experimentally.  Does that tell you something about their intentions for men on Mars?  When you consider that the suits we have are too heavy and restrictive,  and too vulnerable to dirt-induced damage,  to be used on Mars. 

As far as I can tell,  the MIT MCP suit pretty much as it is will protect humans against vacuum death.  But the compression it can achieve is below the 1/3 atm standard they have used for the gas balloon suits.  It's adequate to protect,  but inadequate to use with existing cabin atmospheres without a long decompression to blow off blood nitrogen. 

GW


Sadly it does tell you all you need to know about NASA and Mars! 

That MCP suit should have been ready 20 years ago!!

I don't think decompression is a problem is it? - you can do plenty of useful work while decompressing. How long would it take?


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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