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  • 1.
    Goulas, Athanasios
    et al.
    Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical & Manufacturing Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, United Kingdom.
    Binner, Jon G.P.
    College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, United Kingdom.
    Harris, Russell A.
    Mechanical Engineering, University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom.
    Friel, R. J.
    Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical & Manufacturing Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, United Kingdom.
    Assessing extraterrestrial regolith material simulants for in-situ resource utilisation based 3D printing2017In: Applied Materials Today, ISSN 2352-9407, Vol. 6, p. 54-61Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This research paper investigates the suitability of ceramic multi-component materials, which are found on the Martian and Lunar surfaces, for 3D printing (aka Additive Manufacturing) of solid structures. 3D printing is a promising solution as part of the cutting edge field of future in situ space manufacturing applications.

    3D printing of physical assets from simulated Martian and Lunar regolith was successfully performed during this work by utilising laser-based powder bed fusion equipment. Extensive evaluation of the raw regolith simulants was conducted via Optical and Electron Microscopy(SEM), Visible–Near Infrared/Infrared (Vis–NIR/IR) Spectroscopy and thermal characterisation via Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA) and Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC). The analysis results led to the characterisation of key properties of these multi-component ceramic materials with regard to their processability via powder bed fusion 3D printing.

    The Lunar and Martian simulant regolith analogues demonstrated spectral absorbance values of up to 92% within the Vis–NIR spectra. Thermal analysis demonstrated that these materials respond very differently to laser processing, with a high volatility (30% weight change) for the Martian analogue as opposed to its less volatile Lunar counterpart (<1% weight change). Results also showed a range of multiple thermal occurrences associated with melting, glass transition and crystallisation reactions. The morphological features of the powder particles are identified as contributing to densification limitations for powder bed fusion processing.

    This investigation has shown that – provided that the simulants are good matches for the actual regoliths – the lunar material is a viable candidate material for powder bed fusion 3D printing, whereas Martian regolith is not. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd

  • 2.
    Goulas, Athanasios
    et al.
    Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical & Manufacturing Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough, United Kingdom.
    Engstrøm, Daniel S.
    Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical & Manufacturing Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough, United Kingdom.
    Friel, Ross J.
    Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical & Manufacturing Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough, United Kingdom.
    Harris, Russell A.
    Mechanical Engineering, University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom.
    Investigating the additive manufacture of extra-terrestrial materials2016In: Proceedings of the 2016 Annual International Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium - An Additive Manufacturing Conference / [ed] Bourell, D. L., 2016, p. 2271-2281Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The Powder Bed Fusion (PBF) additive manufacturing process category, consists of a group of key enabling technologies allowing the fabrication of both intrinsic and complex structures for a series of applications, including aerospace and astronautics. The purpose of this investigation was to explore the potential application of in-space additive manufacturing/3D printing, for onsite fabrication of structures and parts, using the available extra-terrestrial natural resources as feedstock. This study was carried out by using simulants of terrestrial origin, mimicking the properties of those respective materials found extra-terram (in space). An investigation was conducted through material characterisation, processing and by powder bed fusion, and resultant examination by analytical techniques. The successful realisation of this manufacturing approach in an extra-terrestrial environment could enable a sustainable presence in space by providing the ability to build assets and tools needed for long duration/distance missions in deep space.

  • 3.
    Goulas, Athanasios
    et al.
    Wolfson School of Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, United Kingdom.
    Harris, Russell A.
    Wolfson School of Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, United Kingdom.
    Friel, Ross J.
    Wolfson School of Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, United Kingdom.
    Additive manufacturing of physical assets by using ceramic multicomponent extra-terrestrial materials2016In: Additive Manufacturing, ISSN 2214-8604, Vol. 10, p. 36-42Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Powder Bed Fusion (PBF) is a range of advanced manufacturing technologies that can fabricate three-dimensional assets directly from CAD data, on a successive layer-by-layer strategy by using thermal energy, typically from a laser source, to irradiate and fuse particles within a powder bed.

    The aim of this paper was to investigate the application of this advanced manufacturing technique to process ceramic multicomponent materials into 3D layered structures. The materials used matched those found on the Lunar and Martian surfaces. The indigenous extra-terrestrial Lunar and Martian materials could potentially be used for manufacturing physical assets onsite (i.e., off-world) on future planetary exploration missions and could cover a range of potential applications including: infrastructure, radiation shielding, thermal storage, etc.

    Two different simulants of the mineralogical and basic properties of Lunar and Martian indigenous materials were used for the purpose of this study and processed with commercially available laser additive manufacturing equipment. The results of the laser processing were investigated and quantified through mechanical hardness testing, optical and scanning electron microscopy, X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, thermo-gravimetric analysis, spectrometry, and finally X-ray diffraction.

    The research resulted in the identification of a range of process parameters that resulted in the successful manufacture of three-dimensional components from Lunar and Martian ceramic multicomponent simulant materials. The feasibility of using thermal based additive manufacturing with multi-component ceramic materials has therefore been established, which represents a potential solution to off-world bulk structure manufacture for future human space exploration. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.

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