Coatings Industry News

Main News Page


Research to Look Closer at Concrete in Space

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Comment | More

A civil engineering student an Penn State University has been granted a three-year NASA Space Technology Graduate Research Opportunity, along with a one-year Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium NASA Gradate Fellowship, to study how concrete can be developed in space.

Peter Collins, a doctoral candidate, is a member of the Concrete Research Group at Penn State, led by Aleksandra Radlinska, associate professor of civil engineering. The group’s ongoing project, Microgravity Investigation of Cement Solidification, investigates how concrete, typically made with a mixture of small rocks, sand, water and Portland cement, solidifies under different gravitational forces, according to the university.

“Civil engineering is not a heavily represented field in the realm of space technology, but the future goals for human space exploration are starting to change that narrative, and I am proud to be a part of it,” Collins said.

Concrete Research Group

A civil engineering student an Penn State University has been granted a three-year NASA Space Technology Graduate Research Opportunity, along with a one-year Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium NASA Gradate Fellowship, to study how concrete can be developed in space. (Above: A scanning electron microscope image of a concrete sample falsely-colored to highlight the "lunar regolith simulant" in a hydrated Portland cement matrix.)

In 2019, NASA and the MICS team sent a variety of cement mixtures to the International Space Station to be mixed and solidified. The samples were returned and compared with identical mixtures developed on Earth and found that cement’s solidification reaction and resultant microstructure is dependent on the level of gravity.

Collins plans to continue this research by sending more samples to the ISS, which will be used to develop a new concrete mixture that uses more materials found on the moon’s surface while also maintaining concrete’s current strength and durability levels.

“Thus far, our work has focused on mostly Earth-based cementitious systems,” Collins said. “The lunar regolith composition is advantageous to create an alkali-activated concrete material that does not contain a traditional Portland cement as the binding component.”

As part of the program, Collins has been matched with Richard Grugel, a materials scientist with NASA and investigator on the MICS project, via the program’s “visiting technologist experience.” Together, they will have the opportunity to perform their research at a NASA center each year and collaborate with other relevant engineers and scientists, the university said.

Other Recent Space Projects

Back in February, Westminster, Colorado-based space technology company Maxar Technologies was awarded a $142 million contract from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to develop a robotic technology capable of assembly and manufacturing whilst in orbit.

The company was previously part of NASA’s Tipping Point partnership—announced back in 2015—but now includes partners Tethers Unlimited (Bothell, Washington), West Virginia Robotic Technology Center (Morgantown, West Virginia) and NASA’s Langley Research Center (Hampton, Virginia).

Also in 2017, NASA announced that it planned to use 3D printing robots to create homes for future astronauts on different planets—however, the agency needed ideas for construction materials.

In the administration’s 3D Printed Habitat Challenge, a call was released for ideas for the fabrication of habitats, geared toward being built on the moon, Mars and wherever interplanetary exploration goes. The challenge lies in what materials to use for the 3D printing process, as the materials cannot be carried on the spaceship into orbit.

In April 2019, top three finalists for the challenge were named: first place was SEArch+ and Apis Cor, followed by Zopherous (second place) and Mars Incubator (third place). In the next round, slated for early May, finalists will be competing for $800,000 in prize money for the creation of 3D-print scale models of their designs.

   

Tagged categories: Cement; Colleges and Universities; concrete; Good Technical Practice; NA; North America; Research and development

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.


Advertisements
 
DeFelsko Corporation

 
KTA-Tator, Inc. - Corporate Office

 
Sauereisen, Inc.

 
SAFE Systems, Inc.

 
Tarps manufacturing, Inc.

 
Strategic Materials Inc.

 
 
 

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