A performance-based engineering framework for hypervelocity impact events on the lunar surface
- Maria I. Allende.
- [Stanford, California] : [Stanford University], 2019.
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- Allende, Maria Ignacia, author.
- Lepech, Michael, degree supervisor.
- Kiremidjian, Anne S. (Anne Setian), degree committee member.
- Loftus, David (David John), degree committee member.
- Stanford University. Civil & Environmental Engineering Department.
- In July 1969, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set foot on the surface of the Moon, fulfilling a national goal set forth by President John F. Kennedy eight years earlier and effectively winning the Space Race. This feat represented remarkable technological advances and served as a symbol for human achievement, ingenuity, and unity. Returning humans to the Moon, but this time for extended or even indefinite stays, pushes the frontier of human exploration yet again. Not only must we travel to the Moon and return safely as we did during the Apollo program, we must sustain life in an environment that is not naturally habitable for humans. Our physiological needs on the Moon will include oxygen, food, water, pressurized and temperature-controlled surroundings, and shelter from the Moon's hazardous environment. To meet these fundamental needs, we must rethink the resources, processes, and technologies that humans have developed and honed over millennia to meet our needs here on Earth. This dissertation explores meeting one of these needs— the need for shelter from the Moon's hazardous environment— from the perspective of structural engineering. The construction of habitats, landing pads, and other necessary structures poses a unique civil engineering challenge due to limited material and energy resources as well as the cost associated with transporting materials from Earth. One material proposed for Lunar construction applications, known as Biopolymer-bound Soil Composites (BSC), uses a small fraction of biopolymer binder to stabilize Lunar soil into a durable, concrete-like material. Given that BSC may one day be used for the construction of Lunar infrastructure, it is necessary to assess its performance in the extreme and hazardous Lunar environment. Specifically, this dissertation investigates the performance of BSC subjected to one notable hazard, micrometeoroids. Micrometeoroids, which impact the Lunar surface at an average velocity of 20 km/s, can cause significant damage, and thus pose a high risk to surface infrastructure. Mia has conducted over 20 hypervelocity impact experiments on BSC targets and has developed a computational material model of BSC to simulate micrometeoroid impact using CTH, a hydrodynamic code. The outcome of this research is a novel performance-based engineering framework that yields important insights into the durability and life expectancy of BSC as an in-situ construction material and will ultimately enable mission planners to make more informed design decisions.
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- Submitted to the Civil & Environmental Engineering Department.
- Thesis Ph.D. Stanford University 2019.