Rauschert Manufactures Technical Ceramics for Space Project
Rauschert Heinersdorf-Pressig GmbH/DE, a specialist in technical ceramics and industrial technology, is supporting AIX2SPACE, a student research group at RWTH Aachen University/DE, with advanced ceramics for a project in the field of space research. Customised components made by Rauschert, such as rings made of cordierite material, as well as slotted ceramic rods and insulation tubes made of aluminium oxide, are important parts of the AIX2SPACE project contribution.
Here, the prototype of a spinning system for the production of glass fibres from moon rocks has been developed, in which the technical ceramics are installed in the crucible holder.
Juan Carlos Arano Romero, Team Leader of AIX2SPACE, explained: “The cooperation with Rauschert was pleasant and focused. The company’s employees took the time to listen to us and exchange ideas. This allowed us to benefit from their experience and to learn from it. In addition, the quality of the material used and the processing of the components are tailored to our application. This gives us the confidence that is so crucial for our prototype.” Technical ceramics from Rauschert are used in particular in applications that require resistance to high temperatures, corrosion, erosion or wear. With the help of the spinning system from AIX2SPACE and energy generated by photovoltaics, lunar rock can be melted and spun at the highest temperatures. The fibres obtained can be used, for example, as insulation and reinforcement material for building shelters on the moon, or as a substrate for cultivating plants.
Considering the enormous transport costs involved in space flights – for example USD 1 million for 1 l of bottled water – the aim is for the production of fibres to be fully automated on the moon in the future. Due to the lower weight, it is far cheaper to transport the equipment ready for the production of fibres to the moon than to transport large quantities of the required material itself. The necessary resources are available on the moon. The concept and prototype of the spinning plant have been developed within the context of IGLUNA. This international student project serves as an interdisciplinary platform to work together on the future of space exploration and the improvement of life on earth. As a student initiative of MoonFibre, a research project of the Institutes of Textile Technology and Structural Mechanics and Lightweight Construction at RWTH Aachen University, AIX2SPACE has the necessary know-how to participate in IGLUNA. In total, there are twelve teams participating from various European countries as well as Canada, some of which presented theirwork at Pilatusberg in Switzerland between 16–25 July 2021.