While the Earth is plagued by the novel coronavirus and all the hardships that came along with it, experts are having their eyes set on the Moon.
There’s a recent ESA research that shows the fact that urea which is the main organic compound found in human urine would make the mixture for lunar concrete more malleable before hardening into a final sturdy shape for the future lunar habitats.
Experts found that adding urea to the lunar geopolymer mixture seemed to have worked better than other popular plasticizers that have been used before. These include naphthalene or polycarboxylate in order to reduce the need for water.
It’s been revealed that the mixture that comes out of a 3D printer turned out to be much stronger and also had a great workability.
For instance, a fresh sample could be molded really easily and it managed to retain its shape with weights with up to 10 times its own on top of it.
“The science community is particularly impressed by the high strength of this new recipe compared to other materials, but also attracted by the fact that we could use what’s already on the Moon,” according to Marlies Arnhof, initiator and co-author of the study from ESA’s Advanced Concepts Team.
Using the materials available on site is more efficient
The important thing that Science Daily noted was that using the materials that are available on-site, and these only, would definitely reduce the need to launch massive volumes of supplies from our home planet to the Moon in order to build the much-awaited base.
Just in case you didn’t know by now, the main ingredient would be a powdery soil that’s found on the Moon’s surface, and it’s called lunar regolith.
The superplasticizer urea is limiting the among of water that’s necessary in the recipe.
“Urea is cheap and readily available, but also helps making strong construction material for a Moon base,” according to Marlies.