Plus, an AI system for assessing material strength, the 2020 AIA COTE Top Ten Award winners, and more design-tech news from this week.
Researchers from the European Space Agency have released a study that found mixing urea, the main organic compound found in human urine, with a lunar geopolymer mixture results in lunar concrete that could be used to construct future lunar habitats. Extruded using a 3D printer, the material was easily moldable and able to retain its shape even when bearing up to 10 times its own weight. “The science community is particularly impressed by the high strength of this new recipe compared to other materials, but also attracted by the fact that we could use what’s already on the Moon,” said study co-author Marlies Arnhof in a press release. [ESA]
Researchers from MIT have developed an artificial intelligence–based approach to assess the strength of protective coatings or structural materials in a matter of milliseconds—a process that historically has taken hours or even days to complete. By analyzing the cracks in a material’s molecular structure, the team focused on “predicting the way a material would break or fracture,” according to a press release. The engineers generated hundreds of simulations with a variety of structures and then fed the data to an AI system to assess any trends. [MIT]