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Dome Construction Process(Reproduced with the permission of Dome Technology and Domtec International)
Modern Dome Construction
Air form being inflated
Modern insulated concrete dome construction combines several materials to create a strong, efficient, weather-proof structure. Compared to other types of structures for the same application, the insulated concrete dome is 50-75% more energy-efficient.
Airform as exterior coating
The airform not only determines the final shape of the dome, but serves to shelter personnel from weather during the construction process. The airform stays in place to become the dome's exterior cover. Made of tough, weather-impermeable material, it becomes a protective cover when the dome process is completed.
Urethane foam insulation
Foam insulation beneath the airform/exterior cover creates superb insulating qualities.
High strength concrete, shotcrete, is sprayed in place enveloping the steel reinforcing bars. This comprises the final stage in constructing the dome. The thickness of the reinforced concrete is engineered for the specific application of each dome.
Steel Reinforcement Bars
Engineered steel reinforcement becomes the framework giving superb strength to the structure.
Optional concrete floor
Concrete flooring is easy to incorporate into the construction process.
The foundation is anchored concrete, with embedded reinforcement bars that bind the dome and foundation.
Optional vapor barrier
For applications requiring high levels of moisture resistance, an optional vapor barrier can be placed between the flooring and the earth beneath it.
The Construction Process
Insulated concrete dome construction consists of four main phases. Refinements to the design, largely dictated by application, will determine the work required after construction of the basic dome.
Phase One - Pour Ring Beam Footing. Continuous reinforcing bars are embedded in the ring beam foundation. These rebar dowels securely connect the dome to its footing.
Phase Two - Attach and inflate airform. The airform is attached to the ring beam footing, and inflated with dual inflator fans, each powered by an independent power source. An airlock entrance allows free access to the interior. The airform is a thin, tough membrane that becomes the dome's outer covering when construction is complete.
Phase Three - Apply polyurethane foam. Polyurethane foam is spray-applied from the interior to stiffen the airform, and provide a secure surface to which reinforcement bar is affixed. The foam hardens and creates a superior insulating layer in the final structure.
Phase Four -Reinforced Concrete. After the polyurethane foam is applied and allowed to harden, a framework of reinforcement bar is placed and attached to the interior surface of the foam. This will serve as a skeleton to which concrete is applied. Application of sprayed concrete (shotcrete) to the reinforcement bar framework comprises the final step in construction of the dome. The rebar framework is embedded by the shotcrete, creating an extremely strong, fire resistant and energy efficient structure. Because of the dome's versatility, it can be used for a wide range of applications.