Combustion and compaction of lunar regolith/magnesium mixtures

Armando Delgado, University of Texas at El Paso


Feasible techniques that require low energy consumption and reduced costs are of vital importance to enable humans to explore and occupy space. In-situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) is the branch in the Human Exploration Technology that studies the production of consumables and materials using indigenous lunar and planetary resources. ISRU represents an enabling opportunity for establishing long lasting human exploration missions. Construction materials produced in-situ are of special interest because of the high payload they represent when launching them from Earth. The in-situ production of construction materials that requires low energy input would be advantageous due to the limited energy in exploration missions. Combustible mixtures of lunar regolith with magnesium could be used for the production of construction materials on the Moon and have been demonstrated using JSC-1A lunar regolith simulant; however, the density of the combustion products is not sufficiently high for using them as construction materials. The goals of the present work were to further minimize the content of magnesium and to develop a technology that allowed for the production of dense, and hence strong, structural materials. Both goals were attained by two additional steps to the combustion process of the JSC-1A/Mg system, preheating of initial mixture and compaction of the products after combustion.

Subject Area

Mechanical engineering

Recommended Citation

Delgado, Armando, "Combustion and compaction of lunar regolith/magnesium mixtures" (2012). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1533219.