Additive manufacturing of physical assets by using ceramic multicomponent extra-terrestrial materials
2016-03-09T14:54:44Z (GMT) by
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.