Europlanet Science Congress 2021
Virtual meeting
13 – 24 September 2021
Europlanet Science Congress 2021
Virtual meeting
13 September – 24 September 2021
EPSC Abstracts
Vol. 15, EPSC2021-535, 2021
https://doi.org/10.5194/epsc2021-535
European Planetary Science Congress 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

3D printing the Sittampundi anorthosite - Indian lunar soil simulant

Sejal Budholiya1, Vigneshwaran Krishnamoorthy2, Aayush Bhat1, Thirukumaran Venugobal2, Kannan Lalgudi Subramanian3, Santhanam Lakshmi Narayan3, Saravana Prashanth Murali Babu4, Vijayan Sivaprahasam5, Anil Bhardwaj5, Jaya Krishna Meka5, and Bhalamurugan Sivaraman5
Sejal Budholiya et al.
  • 1Vellore Institute of Technology, Vellore, India
  • 2Government Arts and Science College, Salem, India
  • 3L&T Constructions B&F IC, Chennai, India
  • 4Italian Institute of Technology, Pontedera, Italy
  • 5Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad, India (jayakrishna@prl.res.in,bhala@prl.res.in)

If we are going to colonize the moon, then we must be in a position to build stable structures on-site and manufacture needed items with the resources that are available on the lunar surface/subsurface. Currently, we are limited by the amounts of lunar soil to research and explore the necessary technologies prior to colonization. Therefore, we need to look at the best analogues available as lunar simulants. Perhaps, such efforts have been made in the past [1] and recently new lunar simulants are also being produced in the laboratory [2]. Indeed, our understanding of building structures by 3D printing using lunar simulants is limited so far, and much more needs to be explored.

 

Sittampundi anorthosite complex in South India is reported to be the most appropriate lunar simulant [3] and has been used in bio-cementation studies [4]. We collected more than 100 kg of the anorthosite rock samples from Sittampundi as raw material. After grinding the sand corresponded to IS383 zone II (medium sand) with Fineness Modulus 3.16 and fine aggregate 5 mm down. For initial studies, the raw material composite was prepared with water, cement, class-F ultra fine fly ash, superplasticizer, viscosity modifier, and polypropylene microfiber were then added to the anorthosite sample in varying proportions.

 

The slurry obtained by mixing the seven ingredients including the lunar simulant was then poured into an empty plastic canister. The slurry was manually pressed to extrude layer by layer to produce a 240 mm dia, 40 mm wide, and 31 mm thick structure from four layers. After 14 days of curing and drying process at nominal atmospheric conditions, the strength of the layered 3D printed structure was found to be 39 N mm-2. In this session, we will present more details of the slurry preparation including the proportions of the ingredients used, the 3D printing technique employed, and its implications for future lunar exploration/colonization.