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Published August 12, 2015 | Submitted
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The Bearing Capacity of Simulated Lunar Surfaces in Vacuum


The static bearing capacity of a granular material consisting of dry, crushed olivine basalt was determined in air and in a 10^(-6) mm Hg vacuum by means of cylindrical probes with a range of diameters. Samples with various particle size distributions (all below 35 mesh) were used for these tests. It was found that the packing density of these granular materials was the factor which had the greatest effect on the bearing capacity. The minimum bearing capacity of a loosely packed sample with a density of 1.25 g/cm^3 was about 0.1 kg/cm^2. The maximum bearing capacity of a densely packed sample with density of 2.1 g/cm^3 was about 7 kg/cm^2. The effects of vacuum were insignificant compared with the effect of packing density. Direct shear tests indicated the cohesion in a few densely packed samples to be 1-2 X 10^4 dynes/cm^2. For the small probes used, the cohesion was estimated to contribute 85 to 95% of the observed bearing capacity for the densely packed samples, but much less for the loosely packed samples.

Additional Information

Copyright © 1963 Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology. Prepared Under Contract No. NAS 7-100 National Aeronautics & Space Administration. R. F. Scott, co-author of this report is an Associate Professor of Civil Engineering, California Institute of Technology.

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