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Space bricks: From LSS to machinable structures via MICP

Dikshit, R and Dey, A and Gupta, N and Varma, SC and Venugopal, I and Viswanathan, K and Kumar, A (2020) Space bricks: From LSS to machinable structures via MICP. In: Ceramics International .

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Official URL: https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ceramint.2020.07.309


In this work, we show that Microbial Induced Calcite Precipitation (MICP) can be used for making consolidated structures � space bricks � using lunar soil simulant (LSS). Sporosarcina pasteurii was used as a bacterial strain to initiate MICP process via ureolytic pathway. An admixture of a naturally occurring biopolymer (guar gum) and a structural reinforcement material (glass fibre) was used to enhance the mechanical properties of the bio-consolidated bricks. When supplemented with guar gum, the compressive strength of the resulting bricks was found to be significantly higher � by nearly six-fold � making them comparable to commercially used mud bricks. The addition of glass fibre reduced this strength a little, but had the benefit of making the space bricks machinable on a conventional lathe. This latter fact enabled the fabrication of precise and free-form shapes post-consolidation, without the need for specialized casting molds or dies. Details of the MICP process were investigated using field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM), energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) analyses. The route demonstrated here holds great potential for making strong structures in extra-terrestrial habitats, while adhering to the principles of in situ resource utilization.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Ceramics International
Publisher: Elsevier Ltd
Additional Information: The copyright of this article belongs to Elsevier Ltd
Keywords: Biopolymers; Calcite; Compressive strength; Field emission microscopes; Glass fibers; Life support systems (spacecraft); Scanning electron microscopy, Calcite precipitation; Energy dispersive x-ray; Field emission scanning electron microscopy; In-situ resource utilizations; Lunar soil simulant; Naturally occurring; Structural reinforcement; Terrestrial habitat, Brick
Department/Centre: Division of Mechanical Sciences > Mechanical Engineering
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2020 11:16
Last Modified: 02 Sep 2020 11:16
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/66446

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