Lunar application regolith study
The autonomous construction of shelters using in situ resources (ISRU), such as via additive manufacturing of regolith feedstock, is a necessary prerequisite and priority to sustain longer duration human presence on the Moon from both a cost and risk perspective. Further applications address separation of metals and volatiles. Researchers at TU Berlin design and produce lunar regolith simulants and develop 3D printers mounted on rovers.
The main goal of the PhD project is to understand and link inner properties of various regolith types with use cases for lunar applications in construction. At TU Berlin, methods for directly processing the regolith by melting and sintering processes are being investigated and prototypes have been developed. The detailed study of regolith mixtures under lunar conditions is of paramount importance to assess that the developed surface processes will function once deployed. In-situ and operando measurements under conditions mimicking lunar environment can only be implemented in powerful neutron and synchrotron facilities.
During the project we aim at emulating the print process at elevated temperatures to track phase and grain behaviour (using mainly diffraction techniques) and correlate with mechanical properties. To place neutron and synchrotron techniques as international space definition and verification tools is a target pursued by OHB.