A dynamic human water and electrolyte balance model for verification and optimization of life support systems in space flight applications.
In this paper we report on the development of a dynamic MATLAB SIMULINK® model for the water and electrolyte balance inside the human body. This model is part of an environmentally sensitive dynamic human model for the optimization and verification of Environmental Control and Life Support Systems (ECLSS) in space flight applications. An ECLSS provides all vital supplies for supporting human life on board a spacecraft. As human space flight today focuses on medium to long-term missions, the strategy in ECLSS is shifting to closed loop systems. For these systems the dynamic stability and function over long duration is essential. However, the only evaluation and rating methods for ECLSS up to now are either expensive trial and error breadboarding strategies or static and semi-dynamic simulations. In order to overcome this mismatch the Exploration Group at Technische Universität München (TUM) is developing a dynamic environmental simulation, the “ Virtual Habitat” (V-HAB). The central element of this simulation is the dynamic and environmentally sensitive human model. The water sub-system simulation of the human model discussed in this paper is of vital importance for the efficiency of possible ECLSS optimizations, as an over- or under-scaled water sub-system would have an adverse effect on the overall mass budget. On the other hand water has a pivotal role in the human organism. Water accounts for about 60 In a system engineering approach the human water balance was worked out by simulating the human body’ s sub-systems and their interactions. The body fluids were assumed to reside in three compartments: blood plasma, interstitial fluid and intracellular fluid. In addition, the active and passive transport of water and solutes between those compartments was modeled dynamically. A kidney model regulates the electrolyte concentration in body fluids (osmolality) in narrow confines and a thirst mechanism models the urge to ingest water. A controlled exchange of water and electrolytes with other human sub-systems, as well as with the environment, is implemented. Finally the changes in body composition due to muscle growth are accounted for. The outcome of this is a dynamic water and electrolyte balance, which is capable of representing body reactions like thirst and headaches, as well as heat stroke and collapse, as response to its work load and environment.