Monolithic dome structure
The Monolithic Dome is the most disaster resistant building that can be built at a reasonable price without going underground or into a mountain.
A wind of 70 miles per hour blowing against a 30 foot tall flat walled building in open flat terrain will exert a pressure of 22 pounds per square foot. If the wind speed is increased to 300 miles per hour the pressure is increased to 404 pounds per square foot (psf). Wind speed of 300 MPH is considered maximum for a tornado. It is far greater than that of a hurricane.
Cars can be parked on 100 psf. The side pressure on the building could equal the weight of cars piled 4 high. No normal building can withstand that much pressure. Many Monolithic Domes are buried up to 30 feet deep. They must withstand pressures up to 1 ton per square foot (2000 psf)].
Against tornado pressure a Monolithic Dome 100 feet in diameter, 35 feet tall would still have a safety margin of nearly 1½ times its minimum design strength. In other words, the stress created by the 300 mile per hour wind would increase the compressive pressure in the concrete shell to 1,098 psi. The shell is allowed 2,394 psi using design strengths of 4,000 psi.
The fact is the Monolithic
Dome is not flat and therefore never could the maximum air pressure against it of 404 pounds per square foot be realized. Neither is the concrete only 4,000 psi. It is always much greater. The margin of safety is probably more like three or four.
The initial cost of a Monolithic Dome is usually the same as a custom built, conventional home of equal interior finish. If you planned on buying a $100,000 house, you will probably have to pay $100,000 for your dome home.
Monolithic Domes are built to high standards. All standard US homes are built as Type V fire rated structures. Which means they are built entirely of combustible materials. One match and it’s gone. A dome is fire rated at Type II or better. It just doesn’t burn. The contents inside may, but the overall fire safety is incredibly high. This can save money in the long term by lowering the homeowners insurance policy.
Using three inches of polyurethane foam on the outside of three inches of concrete makes the dome extremely energy efficient. Monolithic Domes require only half or less energy to heat and cool. One homeowner moved from a 1400 square foot conventional home to a 2700 square foot Monolithic Dome. His energy bill remained the same although the dome was twice as big.
A Monolithic Dome is not susceptible to termites and other creatures. It won’t rot. It won’t get blown away or knocked down. Mold is not a serious problem. These are only some examples of the Monolithic Dome’s advantages.
However, the long-term, day-to-day costs of a Monolithic Dome will be always be lower. And the true cost of owning a dome home is substantially less.
The Army’s Rapid Equipping Force is looking at using the domes instead of tents.
Domes may eventually be deployed to forward operating bases at U.S. Central Command. Development is scheduled through August, 2007, testing is slated for September and a final decision would be made in April 2008.
A Mosque in Iraq was built from a monolithic dome. The structure survived a 5000lb bomb, although it will need extensive interior repair.
With the help of Iraqi laborers, it took only 4 1/2 months to complete 28 domes. A large group of Iraqis were taught to spray polyurethane foam while a Canadian crew hung steel and sprayed concrete. With their combined efforts they were able to complete one of the grain storage domes in just 4 1/2 days.
A future alternative is to use nanomaterials for the reinforcement instead of steel rebar. Currently kevlar and other materials could be used but have higher costs
The “planetary surface habitat and airlock unit”
Economists allege that the mean 2006 USA Dollar value of Polar Region land territory is generally low compared to the world total of ~$250,000/km2. For example: Antarctica ~$40/km2, Greenland ~$650/km2, Canada ~$77,000/km2 and Russia ~$106,000/km2. However, world economic productivity data show that the 2006 USA dollar output per capita in the Earth-biosphere is greatest in Polar Regions; cold regions have output per capita that is approximately 10-12 times that of the Earth’s Tropic Zones.
Suggest initial macroprojects could be small (10 m diameter) houses followed by an “Evergreen” dome in the Arctic or Antarctica covering a land area 200 X 1000m, with irrigated vegetation, homes, open-air swimming pools, playground. The house and “Evergreen” dome have several innovations: Sun reflector, double transparent insulating film, controllable jalousies coated with reflective aluminum and an electronic cable mesh inherent to the film for dome safety/integrity monitoring purposes. By undertaking to construct a halfsphere house, we can acquire experience in such constructions and explore more complex constructions. By computation, a 10 m diameter home has a useful floor area of 78.5 m2, airy interior volume of 262 m3 covered by an envelope with an exterior area of 157 m2. It film enclosure material would have a thickness of 0.0002 mm with a total mass of 65 kg. A city-enclosing “Evergreen” dome of 200 X 1000 m could have calculated characteristics: useful area = 2.3 X 10**5 m2, useful volume 17.8 X 10**6 m3, exterior dome area of 3.75 X 10**5 m2 comprised of a film of 0.0002 mm thickness and 145 tonnes. If the “Evergreen” dome were formed with concrete 0.2 m thick, the mass of the city-size envelope would be 173,000 tonnes, which is a thousand times heavier.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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