Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics (PhD)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Advisor 1

Paul van Susante

Committee Member 1

John Horack

Committee Member 2

Gregory Odegard

Committee Member 3

Laurent Sibille


With the return to the moon in the decade of the 2020s, there has been a renaissance of lunar technology development and innovation. This has been particularly true for the area of lunar ISRU (In-Situ Resource Utilization). One key area in ISRU that has been neglected is lunar regolith storage hopper research. Many lunar regolith ISRU researchers use storage hoppers in their work but do not document the properties when designing the hoppers or do not have the information at hand. Because of this, hopper design and documentation are poorly understood, and more research is needed. Hoppers are vital for ISRU systems as most systems cannot operate without regulating the flow between the system and storage. Optimizing hopper design can improve these systems' efficiency and operability by eliminating arching and rat-holing flow types. Experimentation found that hopper flow in the atmosphere differs significantly from hopper flow in a vacuum – seventeen times higher in a vacuum. From the literature about the flowability of bulk solids, flow factors are not fully characterized in vacuum. This research tests and models the flow of lunar regolith simulant in vacuum to predict flow behavior and inform future regolith hopper design in vacuum.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.