Direct Formation of Structural Components Using a Martian Soil Simulant.
- Author(s): Chow, Brian J;
- Chen, Tzehan;
- Zhong, Ying;
- Qiao, Yu
- et al.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-01157-w
Martian habitats are ideally constructed using only locally available soils; extant attempts to process structural materials on Mars, however, generally require additives or calcination. In this work we demonstrate that Martian soil simulant Mars-1a can be directly compressed at ambient into a strong solid without additives, highlighting a possible aspect of complete Martian in-situ resource utilization. Flexural strength of the compact is not only determined by the compaction pressure but also significantly influenced by the lateral boundary condition of processing loading. The compression loading can be applied either quasi-statically or through impact. Nanoparticulate iron oxide (npOx), commonly detected in Martian regolith, is identified as the bonding agent. Gas permeability of compacted samples was measured to be on the order of 10-16 m2, close to that of solid rocks. The compaction procedure is adaptive to additive manufacturing.