Production of Lunar Oxygen, Iron, Magnesium, and Silicon by Aqueous Hydrofluoric Acid Leaching

by William N. Agosto, Lunar Industries, Houston, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

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


Aqueous hydrofluoric acid (HF) processing of lunar regolith offers the versatile options of lunar iron and oxygen production by room temperature electrolysis as well as the extraction of electronic grade silicon and lunar magnesium. All the above products are derived from distillates (SiF4), leachates (Fe and O2), and residues (Mg) of a single leaching operation done on unbeneficiated soil. Water and all reagents can be recovered by well documented reactions involving evaporations, volatilizations, and vaporizations at temperatures under 500C that are well suited to the lunar environment.

Subject Headings: Lunar materials | Moon | Iron compounds | Magnesium | Silica | Acids | Leaching | Temperature effects

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