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Sintering of ceramics for clay in situ resource utilization on Mars

Karl, David; Kamutzki, Franz; Lima, Pedro; Gili, Albert; Duminy, Thomas; Zocca, Andrea; Günster, Jens; Gurlo, Aleksander

FG Keramische Werkstoffe

The sintering of wet processed Mars global simulant green bodies is explored. Green bodies shaped using slip casting, throwing on a potter’s wheel and additive manufacturing, including material extrusion (robocasting) and layerwise slurry deposition (LSD) are sintered in terrestrial and simulated Mars atmosphere. A sintering schedule is developed using hot stage microscopy, water absorption, sintering shrinkage and sintering mass loss. Sintered parts are characterized in respect to their density, porosity, phase composition, microstructure and mechanical properties. Densification behavior for different green bodies was generally similar, enabling the fabrication of larger green bodies (tiles, cups, bowls) and parts with fines details (test cubes and cuneiform tables) with low water absorption. Sintered LSD discs had a bending strength between terracotta and typical porcelains with 57.5/53.3 ​MPa in terrestrial/simulated Mars atmosphere. Clay ISRU for sintered ceramics can be considered an eminently favorable construction technology for soft and hard ISRU on Mars.