Coatings Industry News

Main News Page


Research Looking at Cement in Microgravity

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Comment | More

Researchers at Penn State University are working with NASA to explore how cement solidifies in microgravity environments. This understanding, according to Penn State, will set the stage for testing of materials indigenous to other planets as well.

The Research

“It is no longer a question of if we will need to colonize other planets, but a question of when,” said Aleksandra Radli?ska, assistant professor of civil engineering at Penn State and principal investigator on the project.

“Once we begin sending humans on missions to the Moon and Mars, we will have to provide them with safe environments to stay in for the duration of their mission.”

3DSculptor / Getty Images

Researchers at Penn State University are working with NASA to explore how cement solidifies in microgravity environments. This understanding, according to Penn State, will set the stage for testing of materials indigenous to other planets as well.

The research essentially looks at the reaction of cement when it mixes with water when gravity is “taken out of the equation.”

“We’re looking at how cement hydrates and how its microstructure develops over time,” said Radli?ska. “We want to know what grows inside cement-based concrete when there is no gravity driven phenomenon.”

To do this, the study was split into two phases.

In the first phase, researchers sent 120 pre-packaged samples to the International Space Station. Packets included two or three separated compartments containing cement and water, or cement, water and alcohol (used to stop the hydration reaction at a certain interval).

While in orbit, an astronaut was tasked with hydrating each sample by bursting the water packet into the cement packet and then halting the hydration at a given point using the alcohol for certain samples.

The Phase One experiments varied in type of cement, the type of additives, the number of additives, the amount of water and the length of time until the hydration was stopped.

The results of that phase are currently being analyzed at Penn State.

During Phase Two, researchers sent 28 samples to the ISS. In this phase, the astronauts mixed the two-compartment samples as they did in the first phase but then used a centrifuge to simulate three gravity levels, which included the levels of the moon, Mars and 0.7-g, which is in between the two.

Researchers say that this phase will help them determine the differences in the hydration reaction based on varying levels of gravity.

Once all of these results are compiled, the team says it will be able to branch out. The knowledge will help researchers understand how to use cement as a building material in space, it will aid in our knowledge of cement and concrete processing here on Earth and it will set the groundwork for testing on different materials other than Portland cement, such as materials indigenous to Mars.

“That’s why this research is so important,” said Radli?ska. “Once we’ve run the research in space, we know the principles, and we can further test the materials on Earth. … The next stage of industrial development will be colonization of space and civil engineers will play a crucial role.”

   

Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; Cement; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Good Technical Practice; Latin America; North America; Research and development; Z-Continents

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.


Advertisements
 
Modern Safety Techniques

 
Paint BidTracker

 
Tarps manufacturing, Inc.

 
Sauereisen, Inc.

 
HoldTight Solutions Inc.

 
NLB Corporation

 
Strand’s Industrial Coatings

 
CRW

 
 
 

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

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   |   Support   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us