Dome homes are sphere shaped, and have many advantages over traditional homes. They tend to be eco-friendly, cost-efficient, and they are engineered to withstand the elements. Dome homes have been proven to survive things like hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes.
There are two types of domes, Monolithic and Geodesic. Monolithic domes are made from concrete and polyurethane foam. The walls, both interior and exterior, are sprayed over with the material to create a smooth and thick wall.
Geodesic domes are built with triangular panels to create the structural integrity. The triangle paneling is usually visible in the structure because each triangle has its own covering.
Both monolithic and geodesic have their individual strengths and weaknesses. Both are spherical shaped but there are some major differences between them.
Monolithic domes are smooth whereas geodesic domes use individual triangles for support.
Dome Homes are generally Monolithic, while Geodesic are used for larger structures, such as;
- Emergency Shelters
You could use a Geodesic dome for your home, they’re just less commonly used.
Monolithic domes have a lot of potential and are used for a lot of different purposes, such as residential, industrial, and commercial. The common reasons for going with dome structures are economics, strength, and durability.
They’re used for storing large amounts of products such as in cultivation, power, mining, cement, fertilizer, salt or some other medium for snow melt when plowing in winters. Their structural integrity is great enough that they are also used as containment buildings at nuclear power plants.
Monolithic dome kits will typically come in pieces to assemble the sphere of the dome. Some examples of Monolithic dome use are:
-Ice skating rinks
If you were to bury a monolithic dome thirty feet deep, it will need to withstand pressures of one ton per square foot (or two thousand pounds per square foot). To compare, the pressure that a tornado would create on a monolithic dome that is one hundred feet in diameter, and thirty-five feet tall would still provide a margin of safety close to one and a half times its minimum overall strength.
Tornados can create wind speeds up to 300 miles per hour. The stress from that on a concrete monolithic dome shell will increase the pressure on the shell to 1,098 pounds per square inch.
Typically the shell will handle about 2,394 pounds per square inch.
The most common natural disaster that a monolithic dome will encounter is an earthquake. The United States worst area of seismic activity is classified as a seismic zone 4.
The ranking goes from two to five.The lower end of the scale is the safer zone, with 5 being the most dangerous.
The force of an earthquake doesn’t come close to the structural strength that a monolithic dome can withstand.
It would take a force many times stronger than an earthquake to weaken, or even level the design strength of a monolithic dome home.
Geodesic is defined as relating to, or denoting the shortest possible line between two points on a sphere, or other curved surface. An example of geodesic is an icosahedron (a polyhedron with twenty faces).
Any stress that is applied to a geodesic dome is evenly distributed across it. This includes stress from things like storms, snow load, tornadoes, and earthquakes. The bigger the geodesic dome, the stronger the structure will be.
Kits for dome living, whether you go with monolithic or geodesic, will allow for the strength of the unit to be distributed through their joints into the structure of the sphere for monolithic, and through the joints of the triangles that make up the geodesic dome.
It is extremely important when setting up your dome home that the joints are properly assembled. If it is installed incorrectly it will create a weakness in the dome. It is imperative that the joints are made perfectly and match up correctly.
When measurements are made, they need to be exact to create as smooth monolithic dome. The same goes with geodesic domes, the joint structure needs to be even among the shape of the sphere to be able to withstand external forces.
If not installed correctly neither type of dome will hold up to the elements. Set-up correctly and it will last through even the most extreme storms or natural disasters.
A monolithic dome home can also be used as an earth shelter, providing a little more protection for your home. This is when soil, turf, or other earth elements are added to the exterior of the home. Not only is it eco-friendly, but it has the added benefit of insulating the dome home and saving some cost from heating in winter months.