Space hardware for concrete sample production on ISS “MASON concrete mixer”

Advances in space flight technology will enable the construction of Moon or even Mars bases in the not-too-distant future. Thus, materials will be needed that are suitable for building in microgravity environments. One idea is to use concrete, the most used construction material on Earth, for these challenging tasks. The hardening and the properties of concrete under the boundary conditions prevailing on Earth are well understood, but there is only limited research on concrete produced in microgravity. Hence, a research project called MASON was established, which aims to mix and harden concrete on the ISS and to investigate the properties of the specimens made in microgravity extensively. Since a defined geometry of the specimens would be favorable for these investigations, a special hardware was developed, called the MASON Concrete Mixer (MCM), which allows the production of concrete specimens fulfilling the requirements on the geometry as well as the safety requirements. Subsequently, the development, design, tests, and qualification of the MCM as well as its usage are presented.


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