Additive manufacturing using extra-terrestrial multi-component ceramic materials
posterposted on 18.08.2015, 15:22 by Athanasios Goulas, Andrew J. Gaunt, Ross Friel
Powder Bed Fusion (PBF) based Additive Manufacturing (AM) is a category 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 from a laser source, to irradiate and fuse particles on a powder bed. The aim of this research was to investigate the application of this advanced manufacturing technique to laser process ceramic multicomponent materials into 3D layered structures. These ceramic materials matched those found on the Lunar and/or Martian surface. These indigenous extra-terrestrial 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. JSC-1A Lunar and JSC-Mars-1A Martian soil simulants, mimicking the mineralogical and basic properties of these planetary 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 (SEM) and energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDS). The research resulted in the identification of a range of 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 due to there being no requirement for additional materials and resources other than the manufacturing equipment to be shipped off-world.
- Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering