UTEP Joins Project to 3D Print Batteries from Lunar and Martian Soil

UTEP Joins Project to 3D Print Batteries from Lunar and Martian Soil

Portion of $2.5 million initiative led by NASA

EL PASO, Texas (March 22, 2023) – The University of Texas at El Paso has joined a undertaking led by NASA to leverage 3D-printing processes with the purpose of manufacturing rechargeable batteries utilizing lunar and Martian regolith, which is the prime layer of supplies that handles the surface of the moon and Mars.&#13

UTEP has joined a project led by NASA to leverage 3D-printing processes with the aim of manufacturing rechargeable batteries using lunar and Martian regolith, which is the top layer of materials that covers the surface of the moon and Mars. Photo by JR Hernandez / UTEP Marketing and Communications

UTEP has joined a project led by NASA to leverage 3D-printing processes with the goal of production rechargeable batteries employing lunar and Martian regolith, which is the top rated layer of elements that addresses the surface area of the moon and Mars. Picture by JR Hernandez / UTEP Advertising and Communications&#13

“UTEP is a countrywide chief in additive manufacturing for house programs,” reported Kenith Meissner, Ph.D., dean of the UTEP School of Engineering. “I congratulate the crew of UTEP researchers associated in this critical perform. I am self-confident their do the job will insert substantial benefit to this task, obtaining us nearer to a return to the moon and our very first forays past.”

UTEP’s $615,000 grant is aspect of a $2.5 million job that involves Youngstown State University (YSU), 3D printer manufacturer Formlabs, as nicely as ICON, the personal sector corporation presently top the NASA Mars Dune Alpha job aiming to 3D print future habitats on Mars.

The very long-expression intention of the undertaking is to optimize the sustainability of astronauts’ foreseeable future lunar and Martian missions by lowering payload bodyweight and dead quantity. The utilization of regional assets greatly accessible on the moon or Mars is essential to create infrastructure these types of as habitation modules, power technology and energy storage amenities.

“UTEP is a seminal spouse in this NASA-led job with our lengthy and deep heritage in additive production,” explained Eric MacDonald, Ph.D., professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering and affiliate dean in the UTEP College or university of Engineering. “UTEP’s popularity in 3D printing, material science and our point out-of-the-artwork facilities were being critical factors in convincing our NASA partners to go after this possibly transformative study – for place exploration but for terrestrial purposes of batteries as properly.”

ACS Energy Letters, a peer-reviewed journal from the American Chemical Culture, printed an short article titled “What Would Battery Producing on the Moon and Mars Glance Like? in January, detailing the development UTEP and NASA researchers have currently made on this project.

The revealed perform highlights two styles of 3D-printing procedures – substance extrusion (ME) and vat photopolymerization (VPP) – to develop form-conformable batteries on the moon and Mars. 

Shape-conformable batteries are complex 3D battery designs that outperform current industrial batteries due to the fact of their potential to fill the dimensions of objects. These customized batteries are particularly properly-suited for purposes in modest spacecraft, portable electrical power devices, robots, and large-scale electric power systems for moon and Mars habitat missions.

A different likely result of this get the job done is the improvement of condition-conformable batteries that can be made use of on Earth. These batteries could be embedded in 3D-printed concrete walls and linked to photo voltaic electricity era to build compact, self-sustaining households for catastrophe reaction and in producing international locations. 

Whilst industrial lithium-ion batteries can be discovered in most of today’s purposes, production lithium-ion batteries from lunar and Martian soil is not a practical solution considering the fact that lithium is scarcely out there on the moon. For this undertaking, the UTEP analysis workforce is presently concentrating their perform on sodium-ion battery chemistry, centered on the better abundance of sodium.

“This job with NASA is an option to reveal UTEP’s skills in the two energy storage and 3D printing,” stated Alexis Maurel, Ph.D., French Fulbright Scholar in the UTEP Division of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering. “Additive manufacturing appears as a exclusive tactic to manufacture condition-conformable batteries to guidance human functions in space and on the surface of the moon or Mars, wherever cargo resupply is not as easily readily available.”

In addition to MacDonald and Maurel, the UTEP staff also incorporates Ana C. Martinez, Ph.D., postdoctoral researcher in the UTEP Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, and Sreeprasad Sreenivasan, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

In the project’s preliminary stage, NASA, UTEP and YSU will determine and function on the extraction of battery components and precursors from lunar and Martian regolith. The UTEP/YSU crew has now produced and VPP 3D printed composite resin feedstocks for each portion of the sodium-ion battery (i.e., electrodes, electrolyte, present collector). The workforce at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center and Ames Analysis Centre produced and ME 3D printed composite inks for the distinctive battery elements. UTEP and NASA’s Glenn Exploration Heart are then electrochemically screening the completed 3D-printed sodium-ion battery parts.

About the University of Texas at El Paso

The University of Texas at El Paso is America’s foremost Hispanic-serving university. Found at the westernmost tip of Texas, where by a few states and two nations converge along the Rio Grande, 84{e3fa8c93bbc40c5a69d9feca38dfe7b99f2900dad9038a568cd0f4101441c3f9} of our 24,000 learners are Hispanic, and 50 percent are the initial in their families to go to faculty. UTEP provides 169 bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree systems at the only open up-obtain, major-tier investigate university in The usa. 

Last Up-to-date on March 22, 2023 at 12:00 AM | At first released March 22, 2023

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