Agata Mintus

Sustainable Design Graduation Studio

Production process and recycling loop of rammed regolith blocks

Rammed regolith, a low energy material for building on Mars

In the past decade, increased concern about sustainability has resulted in increased attention for low-energy earth-based building materials. Adobe and rammed earth are typical examples. In a Martian building scenario, low-energy building with local materials is even more important. In this scenario, a primary function is radiation protection, which requires bulk mass. Clearly, shipping bulk mass from Earth to Mars is prohibitively expensive. Using local resources, such as surface regolith is therefore essential. A second problem is the need to reduce energy consumption. The essential assumption is therefore that a regolith-based building block needs to consume very little energy to manufacture.

This leads to the question whether rammed regolith can be used as a building block. Regolith substitute has been produced and compressed into blocks. These have been tested in compression until failure. The failure strength is compared to the strength requirement for a vault build on Mars.

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