The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effect of the main process parameters of laser melting (LM) type additive manufacturing (AM) on multi-layered structures manufactured from JSC-1A Lunar regolith (Moondust) simulant powder.
Laser diffraction technology was used to analyse and confirm the simulant powder material particle sizes and distribution. Geometrical shapes were then manufactured on a Realizer SLM™ 100 using the simulant powder. The laser-processed samples were analysed via scanning electron microscopy to evaluate surface and internal morphologies, X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy to analyse the chemical composition after processing, and the samples were mechanically investigated via Vickers micro-hardness testing.
A combination of process parameters resulting in an energy density value of 1.011 J/mm2 allowed the successful production of components directly from Lunar regolith simulant. An internal relative porosity of 40.8 per cent, material hardness of 670 ± 11 HV and a dimensional accuracy of 99.8 per cent were observed in the fabricated samples.
This research paper is investigating the novel application of a powder bed fusion AM process category as a potential on-site manufacturing approach for manufacturing structures/components out of Lunar regolith (Moondust). It was shown that this AM process category has the capability to directly manufacture multi-layered parts out of Lunar regolith, which has potential applicability to future moon colonization.
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