PaintSquare.com
Follow us on Twitter Follow us on LinkedIn Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram Visit the TPC Store
Search the site

 

Advertisement

PaintSquare


Coatings Industry News

Main News Page


3D Printing Shoots for the Moon

Friday, February 15, 2013

More items for Program/Project Management
More items from Europe

Comment | More

The possibilities of using 3D printing for construction has researchers over the moon—or literally on it, if all goes according to plan.

The European Space Agency set up a consortium to explore the potential for 3D printing to construct lunar habitations. The study, which partners with Foster + Partners, is investigating the use of lunar soil, called regolith, as building matter.

A multi-dome lunar base is being constructed based on the 3D printing concept. Once assembled, the inflated domes will be covered with a layer of 3D-printed lunar regolith to protect occupants against space radiation and micrometeoroids.

European Space Agency

The European Space Agency and a team of researchers are exploring 3D printing to construct buildings on the moon "as a potential means of facilitating lunar settlement," according to one official.

"3D printing offers a potential means of facilitating lunar settlement with reduced logistics from Earth," said Scott Hovland of ESA's human spaceflight team.

"The new possibilities this work opens up can then be considered by international space agencies as part of the current development of a common exploration strategy," he said.

'Printing' a Lunar Base

D-Shape is a brand created by Monolite UK Ltd. It is a new robotic building system that uses new materials to create stone-like structures. Using a stereolithography 3D printing process, making full-size sandstone buildings requires only sand and a special inorganic binder, without any human intervention.

The D-Shape printer has a mobile printing array of nozzles to spray a binding solution onto a sand-like building material. The 3D "printouts" are built up layer by layer.

"By simply pressing the 'enter' key on the keypad, we intend to give the architect the possibility to make buildings directly, without intermediaries who can add interpretation and realization mistakes," according to Monolite's website.

D-Shape
Monolite UK Ltd.

D-Shape is a new robotic building system that uses a 3D printing process to create stone-like structures.

While regolith is produced by specialty companies for scientific testing, it is typically sold by the kilogram—a problem, since this project would requires tonnes.

Instead, researchers discovered that basaltic rock from a volcano in Italy was nearly a perfect match for lunar soil.

The simulated lunar material was first mixed with magnesium oxide to turn it into "paper" for printing. Then for structural "ink," a binding salt was applied to convert the material to a stone-like solid.

The lunar base is designed to house four people. The base is first unfolded from a tubular module transported by a space rocket, then the inflatable dome extends from one end of the module to provide a support structure for construction. Next, a robot-operated 3D printer builds layers of regolith over the dome to create a protective shell. To ensure strength, the shell is made up of a hollow, closed cellular structure similar to foam.

"Terrestrial 3D printing technology has produced entire structures," said Laurent Pambaguian, who is heading the project for ESA. "Our industrial team investigated if it could similarly be employed to build a lunar habitat."

Monolite UK Ltd.

D-Shape technology could eventually allow architects to build an entire structure with the press of a button.

'Groundbreaking' Potential

The geometry of the structure is "groundbreaking in demonstrating the potential of 3D printing to create structures that are close to natural biological systems," according to Foster + Partners, which designed the shell structure.

"Our current printer builds at a rate of around 2 m per hour, while our next-generation design should attain 3.5 m per hour, completing an entire building in a week," said Enrico Dini, founder of Monolite.

Alta SpA, an Italian space research firm, and Pisa-based engineering university Scuola Superiore Sant' Anna collaborated to adapt the 3D printing technique for a moon mission. Since the moon's atmosphere is a vacuum, and the printing process is based on applying liquids, the researchers inserted the printer nozzle under the regolith layer, discovering that the small droplets stayed trapped in the soil.

The robotic building machine uses CAD-CAE-CAM Design Technology. According to Monolite, D-Shape competes with the traditional construction industry that uses cement, reinforced concrete, bricks and stones, and it has been designed to make the industry more environmentally friendly.

   

Tagged categories: Building materials; Confined space; Construction; Green building; NASA; Research

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

Advertisements
 
CHLOR*RID International Inc.
 
SOLUTIONS THAT WORK
 
Companies that invest in corrosion control use CHLOR RID products
  • Soluble salt removal liquid
  • Test kits to verify contamination levels
  • Surface passivation to hold the blast
INFO@CHLOR-RID.COM 800.422.3217
 

 
SEMicro Division, M.E. Taylor Engineering, Inc.
 
Coatings Adhesion Testers
 
The PATTI® accurately measures the bond strength between coating & substrate. Outfitted properly, the surface can be rough, porous, or curved & >10K psi strong!
 

 
Strategic Materials Inc.
 
Crushed Glass Abrasives
 
Competitively priced, high-performing crushed glass abrasive. Available today. Toll-free 1-866-775-6226
 

 
Detail Masters
 
Overspray Removal
 
We offer professional, turnkey service and unparalleled quality!
Our process can save hundreds— even thousands of dollars. It's fast, environmentally safe and 100% guaranteed.
 

 
SABRE Autonomous Solutions
 
Safety
 
Removing blasting operators from harmful environments is our key objective.
 

 
PPG Protective and Marine Coatings Group
 
We Protect and Beautify the World
 
PPG is widely recognized as a world leader in protective and marine coatings, developing innovative, cutting-edge products and services.
 

 
Modern Safety Techniques
 
Modern Safety Techniques
 
With our unique LTCat, we can help to provide clean, safe breathing air to your workers. Take a look at our Breathing Air Systems, we supply at least twice as much charcoal as our competitors! Modern
 

 
Polygon
 
POLYGON - Temporary Humidity Control
 
We specialize in innovative climate control solutions for industrial painting, utilizing alternative energy sources and combining desiccants with heating or cooling.
 

 
Tnemec Company, Inc.
 
Online Coating Courses from Tnemec
 
For decades, Tnemec has offered its expertise to clients presenting face-to-face coatings courses. Now, these presentations are available to anyone for CEUs at Tnemec University.
 

 
Atlantic Design, Inc.
 
BUILDING INNOVATION, NOT IMITATION
 
The smallest version of our Blast Vacuum Recyclers, this ADI 2300CFM 2-Pot is a cleverly designed power package for those smaller jobs. 866.Call.ADI
 

 
 
 

Technology Publishing Co., 1501 Reedsdale Street, Suite 2008, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

TEL 1-412-431-8300  • FAX  1-412-431-5428  •  EMAIL webmaster@paintsquare.com


The Technology Publishing Network

Durability + Design PaintSquare the Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings Paint BidTracker

 
EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About PaintSquare.com   |   Privacy policy   |   Terms & conditions   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us