Dr. Houssam Toutanji, a professor at The University of Alabama in Huntsville, has published an article that will demonstrate a concept of creating concrete structures on the lunar surface without the use of water.
Traditional concrete comprises a binder — cement and water — mixed with aggregates. While some parts of the Moon may have water, that resource may be more valuable for astronaut’s consumption rather than building structures.
His research shows that those astronauts can turn to a new type of waterless concrete that uses lunar soil as the aggregate and sulfur as a binding agent.
Toutanji, who is also chair of the civil and environmental engineering department at UAHuntsville, has spent years studying the characteristics of cementitious materials, said he anticipates concrete to play a major role in constructing facilities on the lunar surface to survive the harsh environment on the Moon’s surface.
NASA is searching for a means to use resources that are available from the surface of the moon, according to Toutanji.
“The difficulty of transporting materials from Earth will place a premium on resourcefulness and ingenuity,” he said.
Toutanji was co-author of the article along with Dr. Richard N. Grugel, a geological engineer at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.
- Unconventional Approach. Civil Engineering, October 2008
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