Microwave heating experiment of lunar simulant (JSC-1A) using a bespoke industrial microwave apparatus

Lim, Sungwoo; Jiang, Yachen; Morse, Andrew; Anand, Mahesh; Bowen, James and Holland, Andrew (2019). Microwave heating experiment of lunar simulant (JSC-1A) using a bespoke industrial microwave apparatus. In: European Lunar Symposium (ELS) 2019, 21-23 May 2019, Manchester, United Kingdom.

URL: https://els2019.arc.nasa.gov

Abstract

The Space Instrumentation Group at The Open University is investigating microwave sintering of lunar regolith/simulant as a potential fabrication method of 3D printing on the Moon to build lunar habitats. This has enabled us to integrate our existing expertise in 3D Concrete Printing and knowledge of lunar science and ISRU potential on the Moon to perform a series of microwave sintering experiments aiming to develop a potential fabrication method of an extraterrestrial construction process.
As part of this initiative, we have designed an industrial bespoke microwave heating apparatus. This apparatus will allow a thorough experimental investigation of the sintering mechanism of lunar regolith/simulant in the cavity. The mechanical properties of sintered specimens produced under optimal conditions can then be explored. The experiment will also be validated using COMSOL Multiphysics simulation software. In this contribution, we discuss the first outcomes using the bespoke microwave heating apparatus, and how COMSOL has been employed to understand the different characteristics of lunar regolith when subjected to microwave heating.

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