Building Concrete Structure on the Moon: Lunarcrete

You cannot use the normal concrete you know on the moon. First of all, you can produce cement (and we have to produce it) by building the necessary facility on the surface of the Moon, but you cannot find the sand we use to make concrete. Besides, the pressure on the surface of the Moon is almost zero, and the water inside the concrete (since the concrete is porous) quickly gases and disrupts the concrete structure and “evaporates”…
In addition, we need to talk about the external temperatures on the Moon's surface. During the daytime, the surface heats above 100 degrees Celsius. At night, the temperature “suddenly” drops below minus 150 degrees Celsius. These extreme temperatures (and temperature differences) are also factors that disrupt concrete. Although, as we said above, the concrete is destroyed before it can already form, but it is also worth noting the damage caused by temperature differences, namely sudden expansion and contraction.

Note: One day on the Moon takes about 29 days according to Earth time. So, 14.5 days day, 14.5 days night.
The "regolit" in a powdery structure covering the lunar surface may be our primary human material there.
However, there are concrete-like materials that can be poured in zero-pressure areas such as the Moon. Scientists have been working on these for many years. The most promising of these is called "Lunarcrete".

The lunar surface is largely covered with a powdery powder, which we call “Regolit”. This powder is mainly composed of oxygen, silicon, calcium, iron and aluminum. We can say that the reason why it has a powdery structure in this way is that the surface of the Moon has been bombarded by meteorites and micrometers for millions of years. This meteor bombing caused the layer on the surface to take on such a fine powder structure.

If you want to produce concrete on the moon, you should use this cheapest and abundant material. In doing so, scientists attempted to produce concrete in 1986 using about 40 grams of regolith brought by the Apollo 16 crew from the lunar surface. Scientists heated the mixture (regolite + cement) to 800 degrees Celsius by adding hydrogen and ilmenite mineral, which can be found on the Moon, to regenerate the regolite. The water, titanium dioxide and iron released as a result of this process helped to produce a building material close to the strength we know from regolite.

Of course, you cannot perform all these operations in the open space on the surface of the Moon. As we mentioned at the beginning, there is no pressure in the Moon, where there is no atmosphere, and the solvent (water, etc.) required to bring the concrete together and adhere cannot remain in liquid form. For this reason, you have to carry out all the operations in a pressure-closed environment. This shows that you must first build a "pressurized area" for building construction on the Moon.

However, water is still a problem for concrete to be produced from regolite. We just mentioned that scientists use ilmenite to get water. Of course, this is a cost because you have to engage in an extra mining activity to find ilmenite on the Moon. So it is necessary to produce a solution that does not need water.
There is no air, ie atmospheric pressure, to the moon. Therefore, it should be our priority to build structures that can provide the required pressure.
Scientists have also worked on this solution. In 2008, researchers at the University of Alabama discovered that when the sulfur, which is abundant in regolite, is mixed with the regolite and cement mixture at a temperature of around 140 degrees Celsius, it can be produced without using water. However, this emerging concrete offers half the durability less than the concrete we know on earth. Still, this loss of durability on the low-gravity Moon surface is negligible.

Of course, with the use of this lunarcrete, it is necessary to pay attention to a few things while building and building the moon surface. First of all, lunarcrete (if not thick enough) is not an airtight material. That is, structures built with lunarcrete must be insulated with airtight materials. Also, sulfur melts at 115 degrees Celsius. That is, lunarcrete obtained using sulfur means that it will deteriorate when it is heated by the Sun during daytime. Therefore, it is necessary to cover this produced concrete with a layer that will protect it from sunlight.

As a result, we have the technology to build structures (houses, buildings, etc.) on the surface of the Moon as we know it, even if we haven't experienced enough yet. When we create residential areas on the surface of our satellite in the future, we will be able to do this comfortably with the materials we will find there.

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