A Novel Material for In Situ Construction on Mars: Experiments and Numerical Simulations

Status Report From: e-Print archive
Posted: Friday, January 8, 2016

Cube specimen (a) before and (b) after unconfined compression test. 

Lin Wan, Roman Wendner, Gianluca Cusatis
(Submitted on 17 Dec 2015 (v1), last revised 7 Jan 2016 (this version, v2))

A significant step in space exploration during the 21st century will be human settlement on Mars. Instead of transporting all the construction materials from Earth to the red planet with incredibly high cost, using Martian soil to construct a site on Mars is a superior choice. Knowing that Mars has long been considered a "sulfur-rich planet", a new construction material composed of simulated Martian soil and molten sulfur is developed.

In addition to the raw material availability for producing sulfur concrete, while its strength reaches similar levels to conventional cementitious concrete, fast curing, low temperature sustainability, acid and salt environment resistance, 100% recyclability are appealing superior characteristics of the developed Martian Concrete. In this study, different percentages of sulfur are investigated to obtain the optimal mixing proportions. Three point bending, unconfined compression and splitting tests were conducted to determine strength development, strength variability, and failure mechanisms. The test results are compared with sulfur concrete utilizing regular sand. It is observed that the particle size distribution plays a significant role in the mixture's final strength.

Furthermore, since Martian soil is metal rich, sulfates and, potentially, polysulfates are also formed during high temperature mixing, which contribute to the high strength. The optimal mix developed as Martian Concrete has an unconfined compressive strength of above 50 MPa, which corresponds to a roughly 150 MPa concrete on Mars due to the difference in gravity between Mars and Earth. The formulated Martian Concrete is then simulated by the Lattice Discrete Particle Model (LDPM), which exhibits excellent ability in modeling the material response under various loading conditions.

Comments: 28 pages, 16 figures
Subjects: Materials Science (cond-mat.mtrl-sci)
Cite as: arXiv:1512.05461 [cond-mat.mtrl-sci] (or arXiv:1512.05461v2 [cond-mat.mtrl-sci] for this version)
Submission history
From: Lin Wan
[v1] Thu, 17 Dec 2015 04:32:43 GMT (8910kb,D)
[v2] Thu, 7 Jan 2016 20:05:22 GMT (8911kb,D)

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