SUBJECT: Ph.D. Dissertation Defense
BY: Garrett Schieber
TIME: Friday, February 12, 2021, 11:00 a.m.
PLACE: Virtual, N/A
TITLE: Experimentation and modeling of mass and heat transport for the design of lunar in-situ resource utilization technology
COMMITTEE: Dr. Peter G. Loutzenhiser, Chair (ME)
Dr. Thomas M. Orlando (CHEM)
Dr. Devesh Ranjan (ME)
Dr. Zhuomin M. Zhang (ME)
Dr. Brant M. Jones (CHEM)


In-situ resource utilization (ISRU) is a key technology that will provide a launching pad for humanity’s further exploration into the solar system. ISRU is the collection and use of space resources on space missions. H2O is a primary focus of In-situ resource utilization and is predicted to be present in high concentrations in the form of H2O(s) at the lunar poles. The extraction of H2O(s) from the lunar poles presents a significant engineering challenge, characterized by the harsh lunar environment. Studies of heat and mass transport at lunar conditions were conducted to lead to better models and engineering design of lunar H2O extraction technology. First, mass transport was studied with a purpose-built experimental vacuum chamber that simulated the transport conditions through the lunar regolith subsurface. Diffusivity of non-condensing gasses and H2O(v) with porous media characterization metrics (e.g., tortuosity) were measured, with fit and prediction models outlined. This work provides the methods to predict H2O(v) evolution related to ISRU extraction technology. Next, a novel indirect receiver for the thermal extraction of volatiles was modeled. The H2O(v) transport model was coupled to heat transfer to evaluate the receiver. The indirect receiver effectively transferred heat to the regolith causing transport and collection of H2O. The thermal extraction concept and model are important contributions to the field and the results provide a pathway to further optimization. Meeting link: