Granular Materials and Risks In ISRUWorking 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 execute these operations on the Moon and Mars as we do on Earth. We discuss how little these processes are understood and point out the nature of trial-and-error practices that are used in today's massive over-design. Nevertheless, such designs have a high failure rate. Implementation and extensive incremental scaling up of industrial processes are routine because of the inadequate predictive tools for design. We present a number of pragmatic scenarios where granular materials play a role, the risks involved, what some of the basic issues are, and what understanding is needed to greatly reduce the risks. This talk will focus on a particular class of granular flow issues, those that pertain to dense materials, their physics, and the failure problems associated with them. In particular, key issues where basic predictability is lacking include stability of soils for the support of vehicles and facilities, ability to control the flow of dense materials (jamming and flooding/unjamming at the wrong time), the ability to predict stress profiles (hence create reliable designs) for containers such as bunkers or silos. In particular, stress fluctuations, which are not accounted for in standard granular design models, can be very large as granular materials flows, and one result is frequent catastrophic failure of granular devices.
Behringer, Robert P. (Duke Univ. Durham, NC, United States)
Wilkinson, R. Allen (NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
August 22, 2013
January 1, 2004
Publication: Space Resources Roundtable VI Program and Abstracts