Mainstream Engineering Awarded Contract from Chemical and Biological Defense to Develop Enhanced SCBA Systems

ROCKLEDGE, FL – November 5th, 2014 – Mainstream Engineering Corporation, a 28-year Brevard County research and manufacturing company, has been awarded a contract from the Chemical and Biological Defense (CBD) agency to enhance self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) equipment. The users of this improved SCBA system will benefit from the increased comfort, mobility, and safety incorporated in Mainstream’s new design.

Chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) environments pose a direct threat to military personnel, first responders, rescuers, and victims. For protection against airborne contaminants, people in these situations can wear full-face respirators and SCBA equipment.

Current military respirators and SCBA systems use an isolated oxygen source and an adsorption-based CO2 scrubber. Unfortunately, the removal of CO2 by adsorption adds heat to the breathing gas. The heat from the scrubbing system makes the user environment uncomfortable. Users also add their own heat and moisture to the air while breathing. Heat and moisture increase the physiological burden on the user, which can eventually harm the user, and decreases the performance of the protection equipment.

The technology proposed by Mainstream will replace the CO2 absorber with a moisture-removing CO2 scrubber that nearly eliminates the heat added to the system. A complete micro-sensor and controller will be developed for continuous monitoring of breathing and optimized control over system components.

In addition, Mainstream will investigate configurations for advanced gas delivery to enhance visibility through the respirator mask. Minor alterations to the mask to partition and deliver cool and dehumidified air to the upper region of the lens will increase circulation and prevent fogging. This technology requires no moving or mechanical parts, making it robust and low-maintenance.

The synergistic enhancement of the sensors, mask and CO2 removal system will ultimately reduce equipment size and weight while minimizing the heat and moisture in the system. These enhancements, along with monitoring and controlling the equipment, will yield higher performance for the SCBA respiratory protection equipment.

Mainstream Engineering has a history of leading-edge research and development that has resulted in advanced, lean-manufacturing, cost-competitive products, which are all made in the USA.

About Mainstream Engineering
Mainstream Engineering Corporation is a solutions-oriented research, development, and manufacturing small business with a history of leading-edge research and development that has resulted in advanced, lean-manufacturing, cost-competitive products, which are all made in the USA. Founded in 1986, Mainstream’s mission is to transition advanced thermal control, energy storage, and energy conversion technology into high-quality, cost-effective, environmentally safe green, commercial products. Products include lightweight diesel/JP8-fueled engines (including generators and hybrid vehicle drive trains), advanced thermal control units, advanced biomass conversion technologies, refrigerators/freezers for shipping containers, and the QwikProducts™ line of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC/R) products. Areas of advanced research include thermal control, energy conversion, engine and emissions research, turbomachinery, chemical technology, and materials science.