The Aidome shown at bottom of this data was built in the British Virgin Islands &

in 2017 withstood Hurricane Irma’s 200 mph winds with no damage.

The strongest and most efficient shapes are spherical in nature. The spherical shape allows for enclosing the greatest volume with the least amount of surface area.  The design of diatoms, honeycombs, and molecular structures of nature often utilize this energy efficient shape which is also a structurally sound configuration.

The geodesic dome is a copy of a structure called a Fullerite or Bucky ball, a small geodesic shaped carbon molecule, which exists in nature.  Most organic compounds form complex geometric shapes in relation to the strongest chemical bonds, examples would be pentane and hexane molecules.  The geodesic dome also utilizes  pentagon (five triangles make a pentagon configuration) and hexagon configurations (six triangles make a hexagon configuration)  

The bases for the geodesic shape comes from early attempts to understand pi.  Triangles were truncated in circles and spheres.  Ratios were then developed in regards to the actual geometry used.  The Triangulation’s in the sphere can also be seen in certain structures utilizing a truss1Trusses are composed of triangles (simplest, strongest, most efficient building shape). Trusses make up most roof structures.  Trusses may also be seen at work in exotic structures such as suspension bridges, the Eiffel tower, radio towers, space stations, geodesic domes, and even oil rig platforms2.  

The geodesic dome is a series of interlocking arches that make the structure very strong by utilizing compressive strength3By using cement and steel reinforcement the dome can develop multidirectional load carrying capacity4.     Basing his planetarium design on the ratio of the thickness of an egg shell to its diameter,  Dr. Walter Bauersfeld built the world’s first lightweight thin shell concrete dome.  He also produced the first dome comprised of geometric shapes which are now referred to as a geodesic dome – dome made from triangle shapes. The Zeiss I planetarium in Jena is also considered the first geodesic dome derived from the icosahedron, more than 20 years before Buckminster Fuller reinvented and popularized this design.   Buckminster Fuller advanced the dome concept more than anyone and is known for giving the name “geodesic” to this type of polyhedral dome.

In 1976, Michael Busick, the founder of American Ingenuity, applied the polyhedral “geodesic” construction principal, in combination with the thin shell steel reinforced concrete technique and the use of expanded bead polystyrene (EPS) rigid foam insulation to advance the geodesic dome design even further.  For the first time a concrete dome could be built economically from a kit of prefabricated component panels.  Because the EPS is rigid, it is the center core of the panel where steel reinforced fiber concrete is applied to its exterior and 1/2″ Georgia Pacific DensArmor drywall is applied to its interior to make a “sandwich panel”. Because the EPS can be cut with a hot wire, a triangle shape can be formed that has a precise angle cut so adjacent triangles fit flush against each other.  The geodesic dome design also exceeds all conventional housing in strength, energy efficiency and durability.

The dome is often lectured about in classical architecture schools from around the world for its unique ability to take a compressive load. The triangles compress against each other resulting in a free span dome needing no interior load bearing posts to support the dome panels.

The sphere is a very unique structure and often inspires people with the simplicity of nature, most efficient shape and the complexity of the structure.   Domes have been around for thousands of years and they have survived earthquakes, hurricanes, nuclear blasts, and time.

The domes hold a unique place in the worlds architectural heritage.   As a country evolved in the world, one way to prove their status-quo was with architecture. The mastery of the mathematics necessary to build domes proved to visitors the countries technological advances.  Listed below are just a few domes people tend to recognize: The Taj Mahal (Agra), The Basilica of St Peter (Rome), The Capital Building Rotunda (DC), The Baptistery (Pisa), St. Sophia’s (Istanbul), Les Invalides (Paris), The Temple of Borobudur (Java), and The Pantheon (Rome)

Geodesic domes as a residence can provide super energy efficiency and protection from nature’s strongest forces.  One of the most powerful earthquakes to hit the Yucca Valley, California in 40 years, registered 7.4 on the Richter scale. The Yucca valley quake was nearly ten times more powerful than the Loma Preito quake which killed 60 people and was over 60 miles from the epicenter.  The only home left standing undamaged within 12,000 feet of the epicenter of the Yucca Valley Quake was a dome5.   Hurricanes have been known to cause massive structural damage due to high winds.  Andrew a Category 4 hurricane destroyed billions of dollars of property.  However, the domes that faced the north eye wall of the storm survived the 200 mph plus winds were virtually unscathed when compared to the neighbors’ homes6

Examples of Aidome’s strength:

  1. An Aidome in Homestead Florida withstood Hurricane Andrew and a tornado with no structural damage. Only minor damage occurred where a two wide steel horse trailer was slammed on the dome.   
  2. An Aidome withstood Hurricane Katrina with no damage. 
  3. An Aidome shown below withstood Hurricane Irma’s 200 mph winds with no damage. 
  4. An Aidome withstood the impact of a 30″ in diameter hickory tree with no damage. 

Domes do not develop resonance in the structures like conventional homes 7.

One of only a hand full of structures left intact at ground zero after the first nuclear bomb was dropped on the city of Hiroshima, Japan was the dome structure atop the capital building it stands today as monument, a calamitous testament.

The dome lends the structure to being the most energy efficient structure on the housing market today8.   Not many conventional houses today can match the strength or energy savings just by their shape.  As we advance the requirements of the housing industry will shift towards energy efficiency and durability 9

 

References:

  1. Helper, D.E. , Helper D.J., and Wallach P. Architecture Drafting and Design (New York:  Mc Graw-Hill, 1991).
  2. Helper, D.E. , Helper D.J., and Wallach P. Architecture Drafting and Design (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1991).
  3. Catanease, A. and Snyder, J. Introduction to Architecture (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1979).
  4. Cowan, H.J. Architectural Structures: An introduction to Structural Mechanics (New York: American Elsevier Publishing Co. 1971).
  5. Tyler, C. Hurricane and Earthquake Resistant Housing (Dome, Wheat Ridge CO. Vol. 6 #1 Haflin Publishing 1993).
  6. Tyler, C. Hurricane and Earthquake Resistant Housing (Dome, Wheat Ridge CO. Vol. 6  #1 Haflin Publishing 1993).
  7. Salvadori, M and Levy, M Structural Design in Architecture (Englewood Cliffs NJ. Prentice Hall 1967).
  8. Wright, D. Natural Solar Architecture (New York Van Nostrand Rienbold CO. 1978).
  9. EIA 2000 Annual Energy Outlook 2001 With Projections to 2020 Office of Integrated Analysis and Forecasting December (DOE/EIA-0383(2001)

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