Oxygen from Lunar Soil via Fluorination

by Wolfgang Seboldt, German Aerospace Research, Establishment, Cologen, Germany,
Stephan Lingner, German Aerospace Research, Establishment, Cologen, Germany,
Stephan Hoernes, German Aerospace Research, Establishment, Cologen, Germany,
Wolfgang Grimmeisen, German Aerospace Research, Establishment, Cologen, Germany,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Engineering, Construction, and Operations in Space IV

Abstract:

This paper considers oxygen extraction from lunar soil via fluorination, for reasons of its high effectivity of oxygen release from most silicates. In addition to theoretical investigations, the process was also studied experimentally. Nearly total O2-release from small samples of lunar soil simulants was achieved. In addition, stepwise fluorination of a larger sample (12 g) gave first insights into continuous processing modes. Reaction products besides O2- and SiF4-gas are solid metal fluorides. X-ray diffraction patterns of these solid residuals could be interpreted by the existence of both simple and mixed-element fluorides. For economical reasons, fluorine recovery from most by-products is essential and proposed to be carried out by reduction with atomic H and subsequent HF-electrolysis and/or by direct electrolysis of the fluorides slag.



Subject Headings: Fluoride | Lunar materials | Solid mechanics | Soil analysis | Space exploration | Wave diffraction | Resource management | Soil properties

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