Design codes for lunar structures

H. Benaroya, M. Ettouney

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Engineers utilize various codes in the process of structural, mechanical, or aerospace design. Reliance on a code for design is based on the knowledge that a tremendous amount of time and effort has been spent by experienced engineers to codify theories and “good practice” in a particular design discipline. Good practice in structural design implies cognizance of materials, structural behavior, environmental loadings, assumptions made in analysis and behavior, and the uncertainties inherent in all of these. The American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) Manual of Steel Construction, for example, is such a codification for the design and construction of steel structures. It includes information, some tabular and the rest in the form of specifications and commentaries, necessary to design and provide for the design and safe erection of steel framed structures. Thu design equations are generally semi-empirical, that is, they are based on a mix of theoretical analysis, experimental data, and factors of safety. Each of these components has associated explicit and implicit assumptions. Some of these assumptions will be explored with a goal to understand how and if the Earth-based design code can be used for the design and construction of a lunar outpost. Topics discussed come from the AISC Code of Standard Practice, the Commentaries, and briefly discussed arc issues such as scaling of loads and strength in the lunar 1/6g environment, thermal cycling effects and fatigue, stiffening and buckling. Important topics for further detailed study include: (i) the relationships between severe lunar temperature cycles and fatigue, (ii) very low-temperature effects and the possibility of brittle fractures, (iii) outgassing for exposed steels and other effects of high vacuum on steel/alloys, (iv) factors of safety, originally developed to account for uncertainties in the Earth design/construction process, undoubtedly need adjustment for the lunar environment, (v) dead loads/live loads under lunar gravity, (vi) buckling/stiffening, bracing requirements for lunar structures which will be internally pressurized, and (vii) consideration of failure modes such as those due to high-velocity micrometeorite impacts.

Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 1992
EventAerospace Design Conference, 1992 - Irvine, United States
Duration: Feb 3 1992Feb 6 1992


OtherAerospace Design Conference, 1992
Country/TerritoryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering


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