Compressed regolith is one of the construction materials that may be available on Mars from in situ resources.
Compressed Earth Blocks are a cheap building material that is seeing some interest on Earth. Compressed regolith on Mars, including iron oxide in the mix, might be stronger than its counterpart on Earth(). The exact performance will not be known until the material can be tested in-situ. There are standards for the production of compressed Earth blocks, in particular on water resistance of the material. The material is mainly viewed as a low cost construction material for developing countries.
Recent tests with Martian regolith simulants have shown encouraging results for the use of compressed regolith to produce blocks. Strengths between 30 and 50 MPa were reached, that are comparable with the 5 to 50 MPa range for regular concrete. The binder was found to be Nano sized iron oxide particles, while the main fill was basalt.
- ASTM D1633 - 17 Standard Test Methods for Compressive Strength of Molded Soil-Cement Cylinders
- Chow, B. J., Chen, T., Zhong, Y., & Qiao, Y. (2017). Direct formation of structural components using a martian soil simulant. Scientific reports, 7(1), 1-8.