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4.3.3 Glass-Ceramics from Lunar Material

Lunar regolith or basaltic rock can be simply melted and cast to form products with greater mechanical properties than sintered materials. The resultant material is called a glass-ceramic. Additional properties of this material include high resistance to abrasion and chemical elements, and fairly good thermal shock resistance.

There has been an entire "cast basalt" industry common in some countries (mainly Eastern European) for at least 50 years, used to manufacture basaltic pipes, tiles and other industrial products from Earth basalt rocks which have very similar properties to lunar basalt.

To fully melt basaltic rock, the required temperature is around 1350 C. The material may be poured at around 1200 C into sand or metallic molds, and will solidify at around 900 C to 1000 C.

Much like concrete is reinforced with steel rods, the flexural and tensile strengths of this glass ceramic, and ductility and fracture toughness, may be improved by adding fiber reinforcements, either glass or metal fibers. Preparation and testing of samples from ALS (Arizona lunar simulant) were underway by Desai et al. (1993) and a review of the subject is given in Desai et al. (1992).

Other papers to be reviewed in the future:

"Glass-ceramics from lunar resources" by B.D. Fabes and W.H. Poisl






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