Date of Award

Summer 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering

Committee Director

Xiaoyu Zhang

Committee Member

Robert L. Ash

Committee Member

Drew Landman


Carbon dioxide in the Martian atmosphere can be converted to oxygen during high temperature electrolysis for use in life-support and fuel systems on manned missions to the red planet. During electrolysis of carbon dioxide to produce oxygen, carbon can deposit on the electrolysis cell resulting in lower efficiency and possibly cell damage. This would be detrimental, especially when the oxygen product is used as the key element of a space life support system. In this thesis, a theoretical model was developed to predict hazardous carbon deposition conditions under various operating conditions within the Martian atmosphere. The model can be used as a guide to determine the ideal operating conditions of the high-temperature oxygen production system. A parallel experimental investigation is underway to evaluate the accuracy of the theoretical model. The experimental design, cell fabrication, and some preliminary results as well as future work recommendations are also presented in this thesis.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).