Tags: mars | dirt | bricks

Mars Dirt Bricks Easy as Legos?

Image: Mars Dirt Bricks Easy as Legos?
Mars-like soil (screengrab)

By    |   Monday, 01 May 2017 09:28 AM

Mars dirt brinks are stronger than the average brink on Earth and resesarchers said astronauts could produce them by simply applying pressure to compact the soil, then use the bricks to build habitats on the planet.

The research study done by engineers at the University of California, San Diego was published last week in Nature Scientific Reports.

"The team has concluded that the iron oxide in Mars' soil composition is acting as a binding agent, with tiny iron particles coating bigger rocky basalt particles and easily binding to each other under pressure," said Forbes magazine contributor Bird-Aine Parnell. "Without any reinforcement, these bricks are stronger than concrete run through with rebar."

"Engineers have previously looked at using nuclear-powered brick kilns or turning organic compounds found on Mars into binding polymers. This study started out trying to cut down on the amount of polymers needed to turn Martian soil into bricks – and accidentally discovered that they didn't need any at all."

"The people who will go to Mars will be incredibly brave," said Yu Qiao, a professor of structural engineering at the university and the study's lead author. "They will be pioneers. And I would be honored to be their brick maker."

Richard Kiefer, professor emeriti in College of William & Mary's Department of Chemistry, was working in 2016 with others to help develop bricks out of materials on Mars, as well. He said building such brick structures will be needed because of thin Martian atmosphere.

"Mars has a tenth of the atmosphere that we have," Kiefer said in 2016. "And it doesn't have magnetic fields. So once you get to Mars, you're not shielded very much."

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Mars dirt brinks are stronger than the average brink on Earth and resesarchers said astronauts could produce them by simply applying pressure to compact the soil, then use the bricks to build habitats on the planet.
mars, dirt, bricks
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2017-28-01
Monday, 01 May 2017 09:28 AM
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