Monday, October 3, 2022

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Tools Could Be 3D Printed Using Mars Dust, Study Reveals

An exciting new study reveals that engineers could use 3D printing tools on Mars made from the planet itself. It could change the future of space travel.

It’s an important finding because the researchers say they can’t carry everything into space, and if they forget a tool during a mission, they can’t come back for it. Bringing materials there is extremely expensive. It costs $54,000 to put just 2 pounds of material into Earth orbit, the study authors noted.

As a result, Washington State University researchers believe 3D printing is a booming field that aims to make space travel cheaper and easier. The team discovered small amounts of simulated crushed Martian rock mixed with a titanium alloy, making a strong, high-performance material that can be used to make tools and rocket parts on the Red Planet.

They made tools using between 5 and 100 percent Martian regolith, a black powdery substance meant to mimic rocky, inorganic material on the surface of Mars that could be collected by a robotic arm or rover.

When it came to adding just 5% Martian dust into the mix, there were no cracks or bubbles, and it was much better than simple titanium alloys. They think this combination could be used to build lighter parts that are still able to support heavy loads.

“It gives you a better, stronger and harder material, so it can perform significantly better in some applications,” said the study’s corresponding author, Professor Amit Bandyopadhyay.

Meanwhile, the 100% concentration parts were brittle and cracked easily. However, Bandyopadhyay acknowledges that 100% Martian rock material would still be excellent as coatings to defend against rust or radiation damage.

Along with graduate students Ali Afrouzian and Kellen Traxel, Bandyopadhyay used a powder-based 3D printer to mix the faux Martian rock with titanium alloy, a metal commonly used in space because it’s strong and heat-resistant. .

But more is possible and write in the International Journal of Applied Ceramic Technologythe team believes there are even better composites using different metals and printing techniques.

“It establishes that it’s possible, and maybe we should think in that direction because it’s not just about making plastic parts that are weak, but metal-ceramic composite parts that are strong and can be used for any type of structural parts,” Bandyopadhyay said.

Initially, Bandyopadhyay worked on similar experiments using simulated crushed moon rock – or lunar regolith – for NASA in 2011. Since then, space agencies have increasingly worked with 3D printing, and the Space Station International now has its own equipment to manufacture the materials. they need on site and for the experiments.

Produced in association with SWNS Talker.

This story was provided to Pleasemynews by Zenger News.

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