Investigation of Sulfur Concrete Mixes for Mars Infrastructure

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Brinegar, Joshua
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University Honors College Middle Tennessee State University
Space is a vast and enticing place known as the final frontier. As the world progresses through time, it becomes more interested in the frontier of space. Much research is conducted on different facets of life in space, and this research project’s intent is to make habitats on Mars more plausible. By creating a Martian soil simulant using commercially available materials and then comparing how that simulant performs in a series of tests that another Martian soil simulant was put through, this project would find if it was able to create and utilize an accurate facsimile of Martian soil. The Martian soil simulant facsimile was combined with sulfur in this project to create a sulfur concrete that was then placed through testing to determine the compression strength of the created sulfur concrete. The sulfur and Martian soil simulant concrete is then recast and tested again to determine the strength gain. This process is similar to a project that utilized a Martian soil simulant that was contracted by NASA for use in Martian research. The results of this project were compared to the results of that project, and it was observed that the strength of the sulfur concrete that utilized the Martian soil simulant made from commercially available materials failed under lower compressive loads. One possible reason for this is that the facsimile did not contain all the oxides present in the original Martian soil simulant, due in part to lack of accessibility of the materials and budgetary limitations. This result meant that this project’s Martian soil simulant had a lower compressive strength in a sulfur concrete mixture than that of a sulfur concrete that utilized a control Martian soil simulant. The Martian soil simulant created in this research did not produce statistically significant similar results of a NASA contracted Martian soil simulant due to the research deviations that are noted within this document.
Basic and Applied Science, Mars, simulant, Sulfur, concrete