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#1 2007-04-11 14:10:11

cjchandler
Member
From: canada
Registered: 2006-06-24
Posts: 138

Re: Basalt fiber

Launch vehicles still seem to be made almost entierly of aluminum instead of carbon composites for cost reasons, but here's a pretty new product that might change that. Basalt fiber is not quite as good as carbon fiber as far as tensile strengh and density, but if this website is to be belived it only costs 2.50 $ a kg. It also is a good insulator, cyrogenic compatible, and can handle 1000 C for short periods of time. Could this make large pressure fed rockets possible on the cheap, for tanks and engines? The problem may be the epoxy, which would add weight and might not handle extreme temperatures, but maybe a thin alumium tank or engine could be renforced with filament wraping and no or little epoxy.
http://www.basaltfm.com/eng/fiber/info.html
-density is about 2800 kg/m3


Ad astra per aspera!

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#2 2007-04-14 13:23:31

cjchandler
Member
From: canada
Registered: 2006-06-24
Posts: 138

Re: Basalt fiber

This means that a 60 atm tank could be made to hold 133 m3 for about 1400 kg and thus about 3500 USD in raw materials cost. Some decent turbopump fed engines operate at 60 atm, so no worries about a drop in performance because of low pressure and 133 m3 is enough volume to put a gross 10000 kg to orbit with a methane/lox propellent, so a reasonable payload might be 5 tons. That's with a singe stage by the way. Filiment winding seems pretty automated, so there shouldn't be too much extra cost there once the machine is built.


Ad astra per aspera!

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#3 2020-01-02 20:50:57

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,706

Re: Basalt fiber

This is the topic which I knew we had but there are others and what I need to know is in the others; which I think RobertDyck posted about.
The needed equipment, mass and energy required to make tanks....

This mean with the right equipment and power dropped to mars we will be able to make pressure tanks for holding any excess fuels for use and for making rockets to go to orbit when we are ready.

This same equipment can be used to make sand bags for piling the regolith over our mars shelters and more...

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#4 2020-01-02 22:40:54

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,706

Re: Basalt fiber

Question reposted and answered:

louis wrote:

We know how to protect against radiation - ice/plastic/water/regolith.

How does Mars hab pressure compare with say propane vessel pressure. Am I right in thinking Mars pressure is about 20 x that of a propane holder on Earth?  If so, that is a sobering thought!

SpaceNut wrote:

Beam is there and being tested but we are holding for what?
Lets either make a choice or call it a no go...

kbd512 wrote:

Louis,

The pressure that a prototypical propane tank is capable of withstanding, or at least the ASME-approved ones for use here in the US, equates to 250psi or 17 atmospheres or a 561 foot tall column of water.  US DoT requires 375psi.  The 250psi tanks are about 1/8 inch thick.  The DoT approved tanks are a bit thicker.

We do build specialty habitats capable of withstanding more pressure than that, in compression, by using thicker gauges of high-strength steels like HY-80 or HY-100.  We call them submarines.  I've never heard of one being launched into orbit, though.

As far as radiation is concerned, 1/8 steel wouldn't provide much protection and it may actually make things worse from secondary particle showers in the case of GCR's.

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#5 2020-01-26 19:23:34

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,706

Re: Basalt fiber

Some more votes for insitu made fiber materials from

louis wrote:

Casey Handmer places a lot of emphasis on steel in creating a self-sufficient industrial infrastructure on Mars.

I'd like to put the case for use of basalt:

https://beyondmaterials.com.au/2018/06/ … -concrete/

https://www.made-in-china.com/products- … Slabs.html

http://www.gly.uga.edu/railsback/BS/BS-Loa.html

https://www.tikamoon.co.uk/art-nobu-bas … UEQAvD_BwE

Basalt can be used in a huge variety of ways.

Basalt slabs could be used as lining for habs on Mars (floor, walls and ceilings) - particularly useful I would suggest for cut and cover type of construction.

Lava stone bricks can be used in construction.

Basalt rods can be used to reinforce concrete.

Basalt fibres can be used in the creation of fibre glass.

Basalt slabs can be used as hygienic surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom.

Basalt can be used for wash hand basins, sinks, bowls and various utensils.

Lava rocks are more often than not very impermeable to water.  Gas impermeability seems to vary as far as I can make out. Whether they could be made suitable for sealing pressurised environments is an interesting question...I would think there could be applications which would seal the nano holes through which gas can escape. 

Anyway, basalt is a versatile material that is readily available on the Martian surface. I am sure it makes sense to use it to its full potential.

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#6 2020-01-26 19:26:00

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,706

Re: Basalt fiber

kbd512 wrote:

Louis,

Well, for once we agree on something.  Casey Handmer either doesn't have a realistic answer to or profoundly underestimates the difficulty of making useful quantities of structural quality steels with consistent mechanical properties, as compared to basalt fibers, which would require less energy and equipment to process into useful construction materials in the quantities required to support a sizable colony.

RobertDyck posted about the equipment to process to make the fiber for use and somewhere else is a post on the resin which wouild be needed to make composite products from it.

Here is the other topic ISRU Fiberglass?

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#7 2020-01-26 19:51:23

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,706

Re: Basalt fiber

It is good to find we sometimes are on the same page and speaking of here are a few more from other topics.

RobertDyck wrote:

ROCKWOOL, this site emphasizes their manufacturing plant in West Virginia, although they also have factories elsewhere.
https://cdn01.rockwool.com/dam.papirfly/photos/rw-na/20181214-rwna-pho-565?f=20190325122722&width=928&format=LandscapeContent
production process fact sheet

raw materials fact sheet

Raw materials used to manufacture our stone wool insulation
Production involves several raw materials, the best-known of which is basalt rock– the bedrock of our products.

Material List

  • Basalt: Volcanic rock.

  • Dolomite: Rock composed mostly of the mineral dolomite.

  • Bauxite: Rock with high aluminum content.

  • Slag: A by-product of making steel, slag is left over after the desired metal has been separated from its ore. It is used as a raw material due to its energy efficiency (because it’s been melted before, it hasa high melt efficiency).

  • Recycled Mineral Wool: Our facility will include recycling plants to recover internal wool waste, whichis added back into the process.

  • De-dusting Oil: Added to reduce dust from the products.

  • Binder: Mixed from pre-made compounds including resin, binder acts like ‘glue’ to hold the fibers together. The standard resin is a urea-modified phenolic resin which is cured during the mineral wool process.The resin we use is a pre-made material from an external supplier and is classified as non-hazardous material.

  • Coal: A fuel to melt the raw materials. The coal arrives at the facility in milled form and is transferred through a closed system into our storage silos. The source of coal for the Ranson, WV factory has not yet been determined.

Note: ROCKWOOL does not use coal slag and will not utilize coal ash ponds as coal ash will not be generated at this facility. Petroleum coke will not be used at the Ranson, WV facility

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#8 2020-01-26 19:52:21

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,706

Re: Basalt fiber

RobertDyck wrote:

That company burns hydrocarbons for the heat necessary to melt rock. You could burn coal, West Virginia has a large deposit of coal, mining coal is the major traditional industry there. Or you could burn natural gas. Traditional cement rotary kiln uses natural gas. But there are other sources of heat. You could use nuclear. We have often talk of using Mars thorium to fuel nuclear reactors on Mars, so we would have a local fuel. Processes to keep temperature down to +900°C or less are important so you can directly use heat from a nuclear reactor. That's so you don't melt stainless steel pipes used for primary coolant from the reactor core to the "use" chamber. To smelt steel from ore, the "direct reduced iron" method is roughly 900°C, but it requires a second step to refine the product. The link says melting basalt requires >2700°F, that's 1482°C. That's too hot for steel, it's even too hot for inconel. But you could use a nuclear reactor to generate electricity, then use an electric furnace of some sort with refractory liner to melt the rock. Again, take current processes used on Earth and adapt them for Mars.

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#9 2020-01-27 19:07:47

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,706

Re: Basalt fiber

Calliban wrote:

Would agree with Louis on the use of basalt as a structural material.  In terms of melting it into fibres designed to take tensile loads, it would appear to be a much better option than steel.

The limited information I can find puts the melting point of basalt at 1500C and latent heat of melting of 840kj/kg, assumingsimilar qualities to glass.  Let's take specific heat to be 1KJ/KgK.  To melt 1kg of basalt would take 2.3MJ if perfectly efficient.  That is about a tenth the energy cost of virgin steel.
https://www.researchgate.net/post/What_ … _rock_wool

But basalt has about one third of the density of steel and about 4-8 times its tensile strength.  So, building a tensile structure using basalt ropes, would consume less than 1% of the energy needed to make it from steel.  What's more, because basalt is an ionic substance, it can be melted in an electric induction furnace with very little heat loss.  It therefore makes little sense using steel to make tensile members.  Basalt fibres should be far more cost effective.
https://www.build-on-prince.com/basalt-fiber.html

For cut and fill underground habitats, basalt can be cast into beams and columns simply by pouring it into steel moulds.  It could be reinforced using higher melting point fibres.  Alternatively, it could be cast into arches for entirely compressive elements.  It would appear to be relatively easy to assemble a cast basalt form work within a crater or other depression and then bulldoze a few metres of overburden over the top of it.  Hexagonal blocks could be assembled into free standing domes, which could either be covered with overburden or placed under tension using basalt fibres.

For tent like structures, basalt could be woven into nets, supporting transparent polymer membranes.  Given the relatively high energy cost of polymers, the most energy efficient solution involves short spans in the netting, supporting a relatively thin polymer sheet.

It is easy to imagine cast basalt becoming the most important structural material on Mars.

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#10 2020-01-27 19:33:41

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 532

Re: Basalt fiber

We have discussed the use of liquid CO2 as an energy storage medium, which would produce high pressure gas when evaporated with a low temperature heat source.

One of the drawbacks is the need to keep the CO2 under pressure to maintain it as a liquid.  Cast basalt blocks and basalt fibres, could be used to produce a pre stressed ceramic pressure vessel.  This could contain huge volumes of liquid CO2 and would be much cheaper than an equivalent steel vessel, as it does not require forging or welding of thick steel segments.  The embodied energy would be much lower as well.


Interested in space science, engineering and technology.

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#11 2020-01-27 19:41:04

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,706

Re: Basalt fiber

The landers for getting to the mars surface all have cyrogenic tanks that can be reused for liqiod co2 to be stored in just as easily as it was for Lch4 or for Lox when we landed in them.

But yes spinning the fibers to make composite tanks is the way to go with insitu construction. If fact using the larger version of manufacturing process we can make even pressurized habitat spaces to live in.

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#12 2020-01-27 20:28:32

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,706

Re: Basalt fiber

Here are some Basalt rock to fiber cloth:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basalt_fiber
http://www.sudaglass.com/
Basalt Fiber Properties

Thinking for the future when mars needs a Blunt heat shield Mars entry, I would bet that basalt/carbon fiber cloth, perhaps composited with silica aerogel (the basalt/carbon fiber provides compressive strength while the aerogel reduces heat conduction, of course with a TiO2 coating, would be easily sufficient for a heat shield. I'm thinking either basalt OR carbon fiber, though if there are reasons to mix the two then of course it should be done.

Other important resources include Bauxite (Aluminium), Basalt (Bricks, cast Basalt, Basalt Fiber), Sulfur/Sulfates (Can be extracted from dirt), Salt (Ditto), Phosphorous-- unknown but probably possible to find.  Chromium, Manganese, and Vanadium (For Stainless Steel-- perhaps in volcanic outflows). Basalt Fiber will probably be the material of choice if you're looking for something with tensile strength or something to composite with.

Lets not forget that we have the soil as well to get resources from such as silicon, aluminum, calcium, iron and oxygen and with the dust storms the air may contain magnesium, sodium, potassium and chloride just to meantion a few.  The elements titanium, chromium, manganese, Sulphur, phosphorus, sodium, and chlorine are less abundant. Secondary minerals requiring liquid water include hematite, phyllosilicates (clay minerals), goethite, jarosite, iron sulfate minerals, opaline silica, and gypsum. Basalt contain the minerals olivine, pyroxene, plagioclase, and magnetite.

There are at least seven ISRU capabilities to refine regardless of where we go:
(i) resource extraction,
(ii) material handling and transport,
(iii) resource processing,
(iv) surface manufacturing with in-situ resources,
(v) surface construction,
(vi) surface ISRU product and consumable storage and distribution, and
(vii) ISRU unique development and certification capabilities.

http://fti.neep.wisc.edu/neep533/SPRING … ture19.pdf
There are Dark sand dunes common on the surface of Mars that are areas of Basalt Andesite.

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#13 2020-02-07 17:37:02

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,706

Re: Basalt fiber

Calliban wrote:

Solar power for asteroid mining and mineral processing would appear to have excellent power-weight ratio, as it can be in sunlight 100% of the time and no storage is needed.  At Earth orbit with 1350W/m2 insolation, a thin film space solar panel weighing 0.1kg/m2 would deliver 2-3kW/kg.

The only downside is that it does limit operations to asteroids that have relatively circular orbits with apogee not too far beyond Earth orbit around the sun.  Many candidate NEOs have highly elliptical orbits that go beyond the orbit of Mars.  But these wouldn't be our first choice anyway, as the dV requirements to match orbit with them from Earth would be much higher.

We could cast nickel into hollow spheres, sputter it with some sort of molten oxide as a re-entry shield, and drop them either onto land or into the ocean.  Ideally, we want the terminal velocity on impact to be low enough that they survive intact.  Aluminium might be a more profitable asset for building space based structures, at least initially.  It takes 20kWh of electric power to produce 1kg of aluminium.  So a 10m2 solar panel, weighing 1kg, could produce about 8766 times its own weight in aluminium over a 10 year lifespan.  Even if we have to transport the solar panel from Earth, that sort of ratio could make space based aluminium production quite profitable.

Calliban wrote:

I did a little research into basalt fibre technology.  This is a key technology for the 'asteroid wrapping' topic, because it would allow ISRU and avoid the need to lift polymer-based nettings from Earth.  Basalt fibres would be enormously useful everywhere as a low-energy alternative to steel in tensile structures, especially pressure shells.  So a key enabling technology for space colonisation is being able to take raw basalt from other solar system bodies and melt it into high tensile material without the need for chemical change.  But there are significant barriers to achieving this on a large scale.

Whilst the raw materials are abundant, to produce a fibre of consistent and predictable mechanical properties, the ratio of iron, magnesium and silicon oxides must fall within a specific range.

The manufacture of basalt fibres is surprisingly expensive.  The material forms a melt at about 1600C and must be drawn through bushings (dies) to produce a fibre ~10microns in diameter.  Because of the temperatures involved and the acidity of the melt, bushings must be made from platinum rhodium alloy.  Not a cheap thing to make.

The process of melting consumes about 5kWh (18MJ) of electricity per kg of basalt melt.   That is about 2/3rd of the equivalent energy needed to make steel.  Given that basalt fibres are about 5 times stronger than steel and have only a third of the density; it takes only 1/20th the energy to produce tensile elements from basalt fibres compared to steel.

For basalt fibre to become a truly cheap material that can challenge steel as a bulk structural component; it will need to be manufactured without the use of platinum-rhodium bushings.  This means finding an alternative bushing material that is much cheaper.  Some type of sintered, high temperature ceramic perhaps?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titanium_nitride

Or maybe a different manufacturing process altogether.  In a zero-g vacuum, maybe we can vaporise the basalt using a laser and allow vapours to condense onto some form of pre-existing fibre substrate?

Some links for further reading.
http://basalt.tech/
www.technology.matthey.com%2Fpdf%2Fpmr-v21-i1-018-024.pdf
https://www.compositesworld.com/blog/po … composites

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#14 2020-02-07 19:19:43

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,868

Re: Basalt fiber

That sounds pretty feasible to me - we know how volcanic rocks keep huge, huge pressures under control (barring the occasional Mt St Helens type pressure failure!). I am sure with processing, addition of fibres, these could be very effective "brute force" pressure holds.

Calliban wrote:

We have discussed the use of liquid CO2 as an energy storage medium, which would produce high pressure gas when evaporated with a low temperature heat source.

One of the drawbacks is the need to keep the CO2 under pressure to maintain it as a liquid.  Cast basalt blocks and basalt fibres, could be used to produce a pre stressed ceramic pressure vessel.  This could contain huge volumes of liquid CO2 and would be much cheaper than an equivalent steel vessel, as it does not require forging or welding of thick steel segments.  The embodied energy would be much lower as well.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#15 2020-02-07 20:24:52

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 3,527

Re: Basalt fiber

My Question for Calliban seems to have gotten lost in the move to this topic.

Is it correct to understand the manufacturing process as creating a single thread, which is spooled for later combination with other threads.

Is it necessary to produce a lot of fiber at one time, in (what I assume is) a continuous process, or is it feasible to extrude a single thread from a small dedicated piece of equipment?

(th)

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#16 2020-02-07 20:32:24

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,706

Re: Basalt fiber

The question is still where it was and still is the topic is how do we make use of basalt means energy, materials insitu and the machinery to make it. The other topic is more to what can you do with it once you make it. It was a great post of number content for making that has been placed here.

basalt-Plant-diagram-768x432.jpg

https://www.slideshare.net/hzharraz/basalt-rock-fiber

machinery to make basalt fabric making images


We have talked about its use for http://technobasalt.com/our-products/basalt-rebar/

production-plant-768x432.jpg
The Mars Incubator construction relies heavily on materials produced from the Martian surface.

Poly-Plant-diagram-768x432.jpg


https://isru.nasa.gov/2nd_Field_Test.html

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#17 2020-02-07 22:06:57

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 3,527

Re: Basalt fiber

For SpaceNut ...

Thanks for the links provided in #16

I found an image of coiling basalt "thread" on coils.

http://basaltfm.com/eng/fiber/technology.html

That definitely answers my question.

The paper at the link you provided seems to originate from Egypt.  it includes discussion of the chemical composition of Basalt.

(th)

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#18 2020-02-08 07:01:08

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,868

Re: Basalt fiber

Interesting links!

Seems like basalt fibre is already used in composite pressure vessels (NASA has been involved in their development, it's worth noting):

https://basalt.today/2017/10/13318/


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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