Methods for measurement and control of leakage in CELSS and their application and performance in the biosphere 2 facility
Atmospheric leakage between a CELSS and its surround is driven by the differential pressure between the two. In an earth-based CELSS, both negative and positive differential pressures of atmosphere are created as the resultant of three influences: thermal expansion/contraction, transition of water between liquid and vapor phases, and external barometric pressure variations. The resultant may typically be on the order of 5000 pascals. By providing a flexible expansion chamber, the differential pressure range can be reduced two, or even three, orders of magnitude, which correspondingly reduces the leakage. The expansion chamber itself can also be used to measure the leak rate. Independent confirmation is possible by measurement of the progressive dilution of a trace gas. These methods as employed at the Biosphere 2 facility have resulted in an estimated atmospheric leak rate of less than 10 percent per year.