In all geologic time, the responsibilities are on our generation ... including you ...

4.3.2 Sintering of Lunar and Asteroidal Minerals

Sintering is a simple process whereby bulk basalt or a particular mineral or set of minerals in powder form are heated to a high temperature less than the melting point, whereby the particles bond to each other, producing a porous (on a microscopic scale) material. The material usually shrinks significantly, and often the sintering process occurs in a die with a compaction pressure. The vacuum in space generally helps this process. The heat can come from either direct solar energy and/or microwave. Microwave heating allows quicker uniform heating.

The result is a fairly low density material which can be cut and shaped fairly easily, can hold small loads in compression, and provides good thermal insulation, but cannot take much stress in tension and is brittle.

Sintering allows production of parts without melting and liquid casting processes, i.e., dealing with only powder or fine sand.

Examples of everyday items produced by sintering include sanitaryware (sinks, toilets, tubs) and some kinds of pottery.

Pletka gives an excellent analysis of the properties of lunar materials as they relate to various sintering methods, and performed laboratory analysis on sintered MLS-1 (Minnesota lunar simulant 1). Desai et al. ((1993, 1992, 1992a, 1992b) developed a "vacuum triaxial device" which was used to produced sintered samples from ALS (Arizona lunar simulant), performing tests to help determine stress-strain-strength behavior of materials under the expected loads and environmental conditions of space, including such properties as deformation moduli, strength parameters, elastic, plastic and creep response, fracture toughness, ductility, flexural response, and dynamic and impact response. Meek et al. used microwaves to heat three different lunar simulants approximating the returned soils of Apollos 11, 15 and 16, each to a variety of temperatures, and the resultant products were tested for compressive strength, Young's modulus, percent strain to failure, thermal shock, hardness and density.

Simonds (1988) proposed a small solar powered sintering plant for producing various products as well as oxygen and a little hydrogen (liberated by the heating process). Battelle produced a report for Lockheed on a lunar sintered regolith production facility which was very well received by the community.

The NASA Johnson Space Center has a technical paper online on sintering. > Manufacturing, Industry > Bulk Construction Materials > Sintering


PERMANENT needs a PHP / MySQL (actually, MariaDB) programmer. Are you a PHP / MySQL programmer interested in getting into space development as a career, or already working in space development? Or do you know somebody else who might be interested?

There is an ongoing process to update this website in 2019 with a target relaunch in 2020.
This website is actually very out of date. Much of the website text content was written in the 1980s to early 2000s, but that's a different matter. As regards PHP / MySQL, some offline databases go into the 2010s, as regards professional publications, engineers, companies, etc., and this is what we need programming help with. We are updating our databases on people, organizations, publications, and other things, for open source space development for all.

The current status is we have some working databases which we have been using internally for a long time for organizing professional publications, and to track people (authors, R&D people, other professionals, quality volunteers, journalists, etc.) and organizations. We want to put information online for the general public pending a security review of the programming code.

Step 1 is fixing some bugs in what we already have, the PHP code. It is functional, and been used a long time, but there are some bugs.
Step 2 will be improving the system. Some small improvements would help its usability.
Step 3 will be a security check for putting it online for the general public to be able to access and use, but with reasonable protection against hackers.
After Step 3, the main mission is accomplished, as regards PHP / MySQL, though of course we hope to keep people engaged and happy, and the sky's not the limit.

This is a volunteer, unpaid role at this point in time. A limited paid role would be considered on a tight budget, such as for at least bug fixing with some minor improvements, and/or a security review of our code before it goes online publicly. If you or one of your friends or associates may be interested, please send an email to spaceprogrammer at ... of course this domain.

Reasons to do something yourself:

  • It will help save life on our special planet -- be part of the solution in your generation.
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  • It could be an interesting, cool, and a fun adventure for your life!

You can join us and volunteer to help out,

... or ...

If you're short on time, you can just donate:

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