Modern Techniques for Constructing Domes
The stressed skin technique is one more modern building method. This uses metal or fiberglass panels riveted together. The method saves costs and doesn’t require any beams or support structure. However, to prevent any kind of condensation, it becomes necessary to install insulators in the structure.
The monolithic, yet modern type of dome construction is made of three phases. This involves using a special type of membrane that is inflated and placed on the dome, giving it a finish that serves like a weather-proof skin, but that can also be damaged very easily. Unlike the previous method, this style involves the spraying of polyurethane foam to insulate the structure. However, the materials used in the process are not environmentally friendly as they have oil-based chemicals.
The space frame type of dome construction, generally observed at airports and exhibition halls, heavily relies on connecting struts to spherical structures that have slots machined into them.
One of the oldest techniques of earth architecture is the brick strategy, which was often used to construct bridges and arches. In this technique, concrete, brick or stone are put on top of a wooden frame, which is molded according to the desired shape. The mold helps in holding the stone or brick in place until it settles and supports the whole structure.
One more recent technique is the foam and render method using polystyrene foam. The dome shape is made by cutting and sticking the foam together. Chicken wire serves the purpose of reinforcing mesh. Lastly, in order to ensure that the structure is weatherproof, a thin layer of cement is spread over the entire building. These conditions only favor construction of small domes.
Of all the methods, the geodesic type of dome has been the most famous and extensively used in the last century. The main advantage of this dome structure is that it provides a massive enclosed space without any type of hindrance or support system. Moreover, geodesic dome construction can be erected easily and quickly using lightweight materials and a very small crew. There have also been several advancements made in geodesic dome construction methods in the past few years. Nowadays, several companies sell plans and dome materials along with instruction so that the owners can make the dome themselves.
Dome structures, though advantageous, don’t match urban planning styles and do not mix well with walls and angled rooftops. However, unlike other construction designs, domes are strong and resistant enough to bear bad weather conditions such as electrical storms, lightning, and earthquakes.