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Production of electronic grade lunar silicon by disproportionation of silicon difluorideWaldron has proposed to extract lunar silicon by sodium reduction of sodium fluorosilicate derived from reacting sodium fluoride with lunar silicon tetrafluoride. Silicon tetrafluoride is obtained by the action of hydrofluoric acid on lunar silicates. While these reactions are well understood, the resulting lunar silicon is not likely to meet electronic specifications of 5 nines purity. Dale and Margrave have shown that silicon difluoride can be obtained by the action of silicon tetrafluoride on elemental silicon at elevated temperatures (1100-1200 C) and low pressures (1-2 torr). The resulting silicon difluoride will then spontaneously disproportionate into hyperpure silicon and silicon tetrafluoride in vacuum at approximately 400 C. On its own merits, silicon difluoride polymerizes into a tough waxy solid in the temperature range from liquid nitrogen to about 100 C. It is the silicon analog of teflon. Silicon difluoride ignites in moist air but is stable under lunar surface conditions and may prove to be a valuable industrial material that is largely lunar derived for lunar surface applications. The most effective driver for lunar industrialization may be the prospects for industrial space solar power systems in orbit or on the moon that are built with lunar materials. Such systems would require large quantities of electronic grade silicon or compound semiconductors for photovoltaics and electronic controls. Since silicon is the most abundant semimetal in the silicate portion of any solar system rock (approximately 20 wt percent), lunar silicon production is bound to be an important process in such a solar power project. The lunar silicon extraction process is discussed.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Agosto, William N. (Lunar Industries, Inc. Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1993
Publication Information
Publication: Lunar and Planetary Inst., Twenty-fourth Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Part 1: A-F
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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IDRelationTitle19940007055Analytic PrimarySixth Annual Workshop on Space Operations Applications and Research (SOAR 1992), volume 219940007543Analytic PrimaryTwenty-fourth Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Part 1: A-F