Granular materials and the risks they pose for success on the moon and mars
Working with soil, sand, powders, ores, cement and sintered bricks, excavating, grading construction sites, driving off-road, transporting granules in chutes and pipes, sifting gravel, separating solids from gases, and using hoppers are so routine that it seems straightforward to do it on the Moon and Mars as we do it on Earth. This paper brings to the fore how little these processes are understood and the millennia-long trial-and-error practices that lead to today's massive over-design, high failure rate, and extensive incremental scaling up of industrial processes because of the inadequate predictive tools for design. We present a number of pragmatic scenarios where granular materials play a role, the risks involved, and what understanding is needed to greatly reduce the risks. © 2005 American Institute of Physics.
Wilkinson, RA; Behringer, RP; Jenkins, JT; Louge, MY
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