The potential of utilizing lunar regolith as the raw material for manufacturing structural members is very appealing for future exploration and settlement of the Moon. Future lunar missions will depend on in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) for structural components, among other things. Sintered lunar regolith has been proposed as a structural material. In general, it has been assumed that the regolith would be at least minimally processed before use. We propose the possibility of manufacturing structural components directly using unrefined sintered lunar regolith with the advantage of requiring fewer specialized material processing equipment. Our purpose in this study was the quantification of the material properties of unrefined sintered lunar regolith simulant. Two batches of sintered lunar regolith simulant JSC-1A samples, with porosities of 1.44% and 11.78%, underwent compression testing using an Instron series 4500 Universal Test System machine. Material properties were evaluated from the acquired load vs. deflection data. Stress vs. strain, modulus of elasticity, toughness, bulk modulus and compressive strength were evaluated as a function of porosity. The average compressive strength of the 1.44% porosity material was 218.8 MPa, and 84.6 MPa for the 11.78% porosity material. Our tests show that even unrefined sintered 11.78% porosity lunar regolith holds the possibility of being a useful structural material for lunar construction. Comparing our experimental results with those of other ISRU derived structural materials, unrefined sintered lunar regolith is expected to be one of the strongest material derived from lunar sources.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Aerospace Engineering
- In-situ resource utilization (ISRU)
- Lunar in-situ-resource utilization
- Lunar regolith
- Structural in-situ-resource utilization