The intent of this thesis is to explore the pressure-sinkage relationship for simulated lunar regolith (simulant). The simulants used in this experiment emulate the lunar highlands (LHS-1) and the lunar mare (LMS-1). The ultimate ability of a terrain or regolith to support a load without shear failure is vital to the planning and construction of permanent infrastructure. This relationship can be measured by applying a normal load to the regolith until shear failure, from which allowable and ultimate bearing capacity can be deduced. An understanding of the pressure-sinkage of lighter loads on the higher ‘fluffy' layer of regolith is of great importance to low mass projects. The experimental hardware consisted of a test bed filled with simulated lunar regolith. The focus was to create a mechanism to apply a known load to a simulant surface normal to a square box filled with a regolith simulant. A known mass of each simulant was placed into the bearing capacity box and gently agitated to encourage natural settling and the density was measured. The simulant was only packed as much as was caused by gravity and settling. Normal loads of increasing weight were put into the box, putting pressure on the simulant. It was determined that widely accepted models for pressure-sinkage reasonably anticipate sinkage in both LHS-1 and LMS-1, though this study recommends improvements to the experimental design.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
College of Sciences
Millwater, Catherine A., "Understanding the Pressure-Sinkage Relationship for Simulated Lunar Regolith and Implications on Bearing Capacity and Trafficability" (2023). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 1387.