3D Printing of Architectured Materials using Martian and Lunar Soils (Regolith) for Extraterrestrial Habitats

Interdisciplinary Areas: Smart City, Infrastructure, Transportation, Future Manufacturing

Project Description

One of the recent frontiers in space exploration is focused on building settlements on other planets. As such, there is a strong need to find efficient and technically sound solutions to employ in-situ additive manufacturing (also known as 3D printing) techniques to fabricate structures using Martian and lunar soil materials. However, the process of solidification of these materials as well their brittle characteristics presents a major challenge with respect to achieving resilient structures that can endure a variety of harsh loading conditions. The proposed work will focus on exploring the applicability of additive manufacturing to ‘print’ architectured materials from regolith, an unconsolidated rocky material present on Erath, Moon, mars and some asteroids, . If successful, such approach will lead to the possibility of manufacturing extraterrestrial habitats for future Mars or Moon exploration using materials available on the surface of these planets. The proposers have pioneered direct ink writing (DIW) techniques for creating cement paste ink based architectured prisms and biomimetic helicoidal structures (known as Bouligand structures). The project will focus on the material formulation, printability and design aspects of the architectured materials. It is envisioned that structural elements printed using architectured, regolith-based materials will attain improved mechanical properties compared to elements cast from the same material. 

Start Date

January 2019

Postdoc Qualifications

Postdoctoral researchers with an engineering background in materials and microstructural characterization, mechanics of materials, and some chemistry background. More specifically, PhD in Civil Engineering, Materials Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, or closely related fields. Experience with modeling and/or experiments, 3D printing is desired.


Prof. Jan Olek, olek@purdue.edu, Lyles School of Civil Engineering,

Prof. Jeffrey Younglood, jpyoungb@purdue.edu, School of Materials Engineering,

Prof. Pablo Zavattieri, zavattie@purdue.edu, Lyles School of Civil Engineering,
1. M. Moini, J. Olek, J. Youngblood, B. Magee, P.D. Zavattieri, "Additive Manufacturing and Performance of Architectured Cement-based Materials", Advanced Materials, 2018. in press, DOI: 10.1002/adma.201802123

2. M Moini, J Olek, B Magee, P Zavattieri, J Youngblood, Additive Manufacturing and Characterization of Architectured Cement-Based Materials via X-ray Micro-computed Tomography - RILEM International Conference on Concrete and …, 2018
3. J. C. Weaver, G. W. Milliron, A. Miserez, K. Evans-Lutterodt, S. Herrera, I. Gallana, W. J. Mershon, B. Swanson, P. Zavattieri, E. DiMasi, and D. Kisailus, "The Stomatopod Dactyl Club: A Formidable Damage-Tolerant Biological Hammer", Science, 336 (no. 6086), pp. 1275-1280, June 2012
4. N. Suksangpanya, N. A. Yaraghi, R. B. Pipes, D. Kisailus, P. Zavattieri, "Crack twisting and toughening strategies in Bouligand architectures" Int. J. Solids Structs. 150, pp 83-106 2018
5. N Suksangpanya, NA Yaraghi, D Kisailus, P Zavattieri, "Twisting cracks in Bouligand structures", Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, 76, pp 38-57, 2017