Coating News, Articles, Industry Resources,

Castagra’s Veggie Plastic Approved for Moon and Martian Use

Castagra’s veggie-plastic foam Ecodur has been certified as an Extraterrestrial Construction Composite (ECC) by NASA, paving the way, says CEO Peter Roosen, for its possible use in Lunar or Martian building programs.
“Ecodur is comprised of gypsum and vegetable oil and tests with Moon dust have shown it works just as well as gypsum, providing near identical thermal, insulating and fire retarding qualities as basic Ecodur even in radically reduced gravitational and near zero vacuum conditions,” said Roosen.
“A variety of tests not only included the ability to make building panels on lightweight, aluminum and titanium lattice-works in near-vacuums, but also its ballistic qualities when used as an emergency hole repair foam for structure walls when breached artificially.”
Roosen said permanent habitations are one of the most critical challenges if surface colonies are to have any hope of success.
“To put it simplistically, you can’t be lugging bricks and mortar into outer-space, you have to be able to fundamentally exploit naturally-occurring, easily available materials at the landing sites. The one thing the moon has in limitless abundance, is fine dust.”
The bulk chemical composition of lunar dust varies across the lunar surface, but is about 50%
SiO2, 15% Al2O3, 10% CaO, 10% MgO, 5% TiO2 and 5-15% iron, with lesser amounts of sodium, potassium, chromium, zirconium.
“Fortuitously, with 50% of the surface dust as sand, it is literally there for the taking. When combined with oil, small amounts of catalytic chemicals, it forms a rapidly-setting foam around metal lattices to form a rigid shell that is gas tight, and hence can maintain atmospheric pressures that can sustain human life.
“An additional advantage is the fact that it can be used to ensure all panels are gas-tight by being sprayed along seams. Ecodur has remarkable sticking ability, even to such surfaces as Teflon, while retaining a degree of flexibility,” commented Roosen.
Pyroxene minerals are also widespread across the Martian surface. Both low-calcium and high-calcium pyroxenes are present, with the high-calcium varieties associated with younger volcanic shields and the low-calcium forms (enstatite) more common in the old highland terrains, making for suitable feedstock for Ecodur Martian foams.
A spokesperson for NASA’s Lunar Transportation Infrastructure Committee (LUNARTIC), Avril Uno, said “It is absolutely fundamental that for the viability of extraterrestrial colonisation or even shorter-term science missions, that habitations make vital use of in-situ materials. In this case, exhaustive testing has shown that Castagra’s foam product has mission-critical capabilities to answer the most important question outstanding: how to make permanent, safe living accommodation.”
Castagra Products Inc., which has its headquarters in Reno, Nevada, has toll production facilities in Haslet and Houston in Texas. It is focussed on providing ultra-protective VOC-free, BPA-free, non-toxic coatings for the oil and gas industries’ storage tanks and pipes, particularly the fracking industry where maximum corrosion protection is required.