Arabia Weather - A team of researchers at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom has developed a new material known as “Star Crete,” which can be used to build infrastructure on the surface of Mars. This new compound consists of a special mixture that combines space dust, potato starch, and salt. A report published in the journal Open Engineering suggests that using potato starch, space dust and salt can significantly improve the stability of concrete, giving it an overall strength of about 32 megapascals (MPa).
According to Space.com, the Star Crete material was mixed with soil simulating the surface of Mars with a strength of up to 72 MPa, while the mixture used in the artificial moon soil experiment had a higher strength of about 91 MPa.
The researchers conducted a comprehensive survey to evaluate a variety of materials potentially used as loss building agents before deciding whether to use potato starch. Human blood and urine have also been tested as bonding agents for extraterrestrial concrete.
Dr Aled Roberts, a researcher at the University of Manchester in the UK, led a study into the use of unconventional materials as bonding agents for space structure. Regarding potato starch, he said:
“Since we will be producing starch as food for astronauts, it makes sense to look at that as a binding agent rather than human blood.” He pointed out that current building technologies require development and significant energy consumption, which raises costs and complexity.
Researchers were able to prove that potato starch acts as a binding agent with Martian dust, resulting in the production of a material similar to concrete with a compressive strength of up to 72 MPa, compared to 32 MPa for traditional concrete. It should be noted that previous studies used human blood and urine as binding agents, but the use of Potato starch has shown great benefits in terms of strength and less disgust.
Large quantities of Starcrete can be manufactured using small amounts of dried potatoes. A 25-kilogram bag of potatoes is enough to produce more than 213 bricks. To build a three-bedroom house, this requires about 7,500 bricks, which shows the great potential for using this material in space construction. And settlement on Mars.
It is worth noting that the common Martian salt, magnesium chloride, can increase the strength of starcrete, and despite the promising achievements, there is a need to find a way to efficiently grow potatoes on Mars to ensure the sustainability of the future of human settlement in space, and research is now being conducted on Starcrete is used in architecture on Earth, and it is also possible to use it to build settlements on the Moon, and NASA aspires to establish a permanent base on the Moon within the next decade.
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