Universal bricks

From Marspedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Universal bricks for building construction on Earth are usually made from clay, and the masonry is build from bricks and grout. Many identical bricks can be arranged to any big structure. Even domes and barrel vaults can be made. On Mars it might not be possible to produce grout. This article wants to collect ideas how to make universal bricks that do not need grout.

Six hole cube

six-hole-cube with pin
sectional view of the connection principle with two short pins (green) and one long pin (blue) per brick

The six-hole-cube allows the construction of three dimensional objects, e.g. buildings. The object can be extended in all three dimensions by putting additional bricks in place and connect them with the cylindric pins to the other bricks. The pins are manufactured to fit into the holes of the brick firmly. A certain force is required to insert the pins.

The connection between the bricks is held only by the cylindric pins (from the same material). Three pins for each brick are used to extend the construction in all three dimensions, two pins with half the length of the brick and one pin with the length of the brick.

building a wall from six-hole-cubes on Mars

After putting the brick in place the two short pins are inserted through the center of the brick, eventually leaving the center free. Then the long pin is inserted, making the third connection, filling the center and thus securing the two short pins.

The wall under construction poses holes in regular intervals, which can be used as a foothold for an automatic construction machine. A whole building can be built this way automatically with a planned position for each brick.

Ten hole cuboid

ten-hole-cuboid with pin

The ten-hole-cuboid provides better stability, because it can be used for overlapping bond. The pressure from above is not only held by the pins, but also by the brick itself.


Sintered regolith is not elastic. Additional means to introduce elasticity to the wall is necessary to avoid destabilization by compression settlement of the underground, temperature tension, etc.

  • Coating of brick and pin with a layer of elastic material
  • Zoning of the building with sliding layers in between
  • The brick is made from elastic materials, e.g. a composite of plastics and regolith.

Closing a gap

gap-closer-brick with pins

A gap or rift in the wall can be closed with a special gap-closer-brick, which does not require other materials. The gap is cut to the exact size of the gap-closer brick. Then the gap-closer-brick is inserted. Holes are drilled in appropriate positions at the rim and pins are inserted.

See also