III. Maximally processed regolith (chemical extraction)

    A. Elemental oxygen (product of reduction of lunar material) B. Residues from oxygen smelting (e.g., from the ilmenite reduction process): rutile (TiO2), elemental iron, silicate impurities, all intimately mixed C. Products from carbonyl processing of metal concentrates
    1. High purity iron metal
    2. High purity nickel metal
    3. Rutile plus silicate impurities
    D. Products of electrolysis of basalt
    1. Iron metal, with perhaps up to 2 percent manganese and chromium
    2. Iron metal with several percent titanium
    3. Iron metal with several percent silicon
    E. Products from solar furnace evaporation of silicates
    1. Calcium aluminate cement
    2. Metals, including iron and silicon

Indigenous conditions assumed are vacuum, sunlight, low gravity on the Moon, and microgravity in near- Earth space. Tools and facilities that should be available include solar furnaces and electrical power at megawatt levels.

From this set of starting materials and facilities, the following classes of products are possible. These are evaluated with respect to properties attainable without further change or purification. Additional equipment needed to produce the products from the starting materials is identified. Also, additives that in small quantities could greatly improve the caliber of these products are identified. Gases, such as oxygen, hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and helium, are useful as generated and do not require further processing.

I. Metal-based

    A. Extruded products - beams, rods, wires

    B. Cast products-beams, rods, containers

    C. Rolled parts-plates, foils, beams

    II. Silicate-based

    A. Glasses-fibers, rods, light pipes, beams, bricks, coatings, sheets

    B. Ceramics, cermets*- containers, bricks, pipes

    C. Composites-cement, concrete

    D. Sintered silicates-bricks, plates


Table of Contents

Curator: Al Globus
NASA Responsible Official: Dr. Ruth Globus
If you find any errors on this page contact Al Globus.
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