Design and optimisation of a multifunctional monolithic filter for fire escape masks

Jonathan Barnard, Stuart Scott, Steve Tennison, Martin W. Smith, Michael W. Harral, Andrew Burrows, Semali Perera, John Chew

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Commercial fire escape masks (FEMs) use packed bed filters to remove gaseous and vaporous toxic components in the event of building fires. Packed bed filters incur a high pressure drop and commercial masks have no method to remove environmental (fire) or process (reaction and adsorption) heats. Here we derive a computationally efficient numeric model based on a bi-linear driving force (LDF) model to investigate the purification of gas streams in a square channelled monolith filter containing an impregnated activated carbon (AC) section to adsorb and react toxic components, and a section consisting of shape stable phase change materials (SS-PCMs) to absorb heat. The modelled test gas mixture contained an adsorbing component, cyclohexane, and a reacting component, carbon monoxide, permitting the combined effects of heat generation, heat absorption, component reaction and component adsorption to be studied for a novel filter. The bi-LDF model was validated against a three-dimensional model and provided excellent accuracy at significantly reduced computational time ca. 99.7%. Additionally, the bi-LDF model was used to optimise the dimensions and configuration of the filter, specifically finding an optimal channel diameter, 𝑑𝑐ℎ, to wall thickness, 𝑡𝑤, aspect ratio of 𝑑𝑐ℎ = 1.3𝑡𝑤. The optimal configuration consisted of an initial 2.0 cm long mpregnated AC section followed by a 2.5 cm SS-PCM section at the outlet, providing 18 min of thermal protection whilst preventing cyclohexane vapour breakthrough for 21 min. Pt/TiO2 was confirmed to be a viable CO oxidation catalyst with a minimum weight fraction within the impregnated monolith of 2.5 wt%. The success of this work represents a step change in FEM design and more widely in air purification devices where heat absorption is important.
Original languageEnglish
Article number132775
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
Early online date8 Oct 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Oct 2021

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