IIT Roorkee IIIrd year
• What are domes?
• Types of Domes
• Geodesic Dome
• Advantages and Disadvantages of Geodesic
• Monolithic Dome
• Advantages and Disadvantages of Monolithic
• Future of Domes
What are domes?
A dome is typically an element of architecture
that resembles the upper half of a sphere.
Domes are curved structures -- they have no
angles and no corners -- and they enclose an
enormous amount of space with the minimum
of materials as they don’t require interior
supports. Despite their thinness, domes are
some of the strongest and stiffest structures
in existence today.
There are following benefits of dome structure:-
Shake table test shows the dome shape is virtually earthquake
proof: The following tests have been performed to prove this:
• INITIAL TESTS: Initially, 5.5 tons of sand bags were loaded on
the top of the 24-foot diameter dome before being subjected to
the four different earthquake setups. In each case, the dome
sustained no damage.
• FINAL TESTS: After the passing the initial tests, the dome was
loaded with an additional 10 tons of sand bags as well as 8.5 tons
of steel plates for a total of 24 tons. Still, the dome did not fail.
Serenity(soundproof): Dome shaped structures are quiet. Only a
very small amount of outside sound penetrates a Dome.
Stresses acting on dome shaped structures are uniformly
distributed over the surface because it has no angles and corners.
As a result, stress concentrations do not occur over the surface and
hence crack cannot initiate and propagate easily.
Types of Domes
There are various kind of Domes but I am focusing only on
two types of domes that are:
• Geodesic Dome
• Monolithic Dome
Other domes structure are:
• The geodesic dome was invented in the 1950s by
American engineer and architect Buckminster Fuller. A
geodesic dome is a sphere-like structure composed of a
complex network of triangles. The triangles create a
self-bracing framework that gives structural strength
while using a minimum of material. The term geodesic
is from Latin, meaning earth dividing.
• It being a collection of triangles which, by staying in a
state of tension, together forms in the space a
• The structure becomes more and more
sphere-like as the number of the diverse
sizes of the struts increases
• One of the most fascinating facts in the
geodesic dome is that in the first look it seems
that all the triangles are equilateral and all the
struts have the identical length. Looking
better, we notice that actually the struts have
lengths which are similar, but not identical,
and here begin all the magic behind the
complicity of realizing a geodesic dome.
• The idea of combining triangles with the arch
was first given by German engineer Dr.
Walther Bauersfeld when he designed the
world's first projection planetarium, built in
Jena, Germany in 1922. However, it was
Buckminster Fuller ("Bucky") who conceived
the concept of geodesic dome homes. Fuller's
first patent for a geodesic dome was issued in
Advantages of geodesic domes
• Structure-The geodesic dome was completely
dreamed up in Buckminster Fuller's head using his
knowledge of abstract geometry. It proved to be a
great surprise then when the structure was found in
nature. Fullerene, or C60, a molecule named for Fuller,
was discovered in 1985. It has since been found to have
numerous uses in nanotechnology and materials
science. One of the advantages of a geodesic dome is
the simple fascination of its naturally occurring shape
Doors and Windows-either make or special
order has to be given
Permits-Building the home may also be a
challenge as drainage and fire escapes that
meet code are made more difficult by the
design of the home.
Financing and Resale
• The monolithic dome is made of one solid
piece of material. Its construction begins with a
circular concrete foundation, where a canvas
"airform" is attached to the slab. The canvas is then
inflated using special fans, thus forming the shape
of the dome. After that, the interior is covered with
a layer of polyurethane foam insulation . A steel bar
is enclosed in the foam to give support to the dome.
Finally, a special mix of concrete is spread over the
interior of the building, reports the Architecture
• A Monolithic Dome is a super-insulated, steel-reinforced
concrete structure that can be designed for virtually any
use: office or business complex, school, church, temple;
gymnasium or sports arena:theatre or amphitheatre, airplane
hangar, factory, bulk storage facility, house or apartment
complex, military installations etc
• Domes are energy efficient- With the concrete inside
and the insulation outside, the concrete is protected
from the outside elements. Concrete, which conducts
and holds heat easily, absorbs the differences in the
interior temperature over the day. During the night,
the concrete radiates energy back into the interior.
This flywheel action dramatically reduces the
temperature variations between the day and night.
• Durability- The dome, when finished, is earthquake,
tornado and hurricane resistance. Recently, a number
of monolithic domes constructed using MDI (Monolithic
Dome Institute) techniques have survived major
• Climate control- The spherical sections of the dome
offer minimal surface area for the volume they contain,
so there is less surface for heat transfer with the
• Unsustainable Materials-The three materials
used in monolithic domes are not the most
environmentally products available. Vinyl and
polyurethane are both petroleum-based and
the latter emits toxins when it is burned.
Shotcrete is lasting but has a large initial CO2
• Vulnerability of the Air Form-very delicate and if
damaged may cause water seeping inside and
cause problem. Aluminum can be used however it
will be expensive
• Poor Ventilation-Hole can be Created
• Permits and Property Value
• Fitting Windows and Doors
• In today’s world where there is risk to human life due to
various reasons and one of them is increasing natural
disaster, there is urgent need to protect them as much
as possible and one of the way is by living in ‘domes’
• In the coming future the population is increasing at
tremendous rate and we have limited resources,
therefore there is an urgent need to provide
mankind with the means of sheltering himself from
the elements with the least amount of materials and
resources as said by THE DOME’S MASTER
BUCKMINISTER FULLRENE and thus domes comes into
• Domes can either be used as housing or as a container
to keep toxic products out reach of humans.
• On October 17, 2015 Monolithic Domes Institutes
opening two houses, the offices, their manufacturing
plant, and other domes on their property for tours.
From 10 AM to 4 PM on their campus in Italy, Texas.
• The domes because of its shape is self-supporting and
strong enough to withstand a giant tornado, a monster
hurricane or a powerful earthquake.