Monolithic Dome Advantages
Size and Shape
Monolithic Domes can be built in virtually any size, but, in general, cement storages need to be large and economical. That is where the Monolithic Dome really shines. The dome imitates nature’s strongest shape: the egg. And shape is enormously valuable when building storages.
A concrete dome built with two inches of concrete has a huge amount of strength. Using four inches of concrete, we can construct a tornado shelter of a size and with the strength to protect an entire town’s population.
This strength carries over to cement storages. In effect, the dome’s compound curve gives us two arches through every point on the dome, and, as we know, the arch is nature’s strongest shape.
Therefore we can design a dome that will store thousands of tons of cement, but that is constructed with a fraction of the steel reinforcing needed by a silo or a square structure with the same storage capacity.
To meet certain needs, we can combine technologies and build a silo under a dome. That works, but the silo portion has to be twice as reinforced as the dome portion to compensate for the single curve verses the double curve.
It’s another important advantage of a Monolithic Dome cement storage. Here’s why: As the cement is loaded and settles in the dome, it will not slide the dome into the ground. The weight of the cement falls away from the dome rather than sliding the dome downward into the earth.
This advantage radically reduces the amount of foundation that is needed. By radically reducing, we are talking about changing footings from two and three feet thick on a big dome to ten feet thick on a vertical silo.
This is especially useful in locales where storages are built on land that is not particularly strong or firm. Cement storages are often needed on waterfront properties with poor soil, so the lighter the footprint, the better.
The Monolithic Dome is relatively simple to construct; that doesn’t mean it’s easy or that construction crews don’t work hard. It means that you don’t have posts, poles, and shape variations that create excess stresses. The Monolithic Dome’s simple egg shape simply sets on a simple foundation.
Loading and Unloading
Obviously, a cement storage facility needs a system for getting the cement in and out. We can simply pour the cement in through the dome’s top by using air or conveyors, and we can get it out through the dome’s bottom. It’s also relatively simple to put tunnels under the dome’s floor to help extract the cement.
A number of extraction systems work extremely well with Monolithic Domes. Some are called air slides, and some are called scrapers. In modest-size storages, cement can also be extracted by front-end loaders. Giant mechanical retrieving conveyors (reclaimers) can also be used. The type of reclaiming system that’s chosen can be adjusted to location, amount of storage, etc.
A Monolithic Dome cement storage has enormous strength. That superior strength allows heavy equipment to be located on or suspended in the dome. These include conveyors coming from ships, or distributing conveyors within the dome, or reclaiming equipment within the dome.
Obviously, the amount of equipment suspended from the dome needs to be considered in the engineering, but in general it does not create a problem.
For instance, some reclaimers can be put on the floor to travel horizontally around the building, delivering the cement to the center. Others can be suspended from the dome and lowered to empty the pile. These reclaim systems vary from one supplier to another, but the Monolithic Dome makes it possible for virtually any of them to be utilized.
And, of course, the floors can be sloped to accommodate air slides for air slide removal of the cement.
Monolithic Dome cement storages are insulated. Theoretically you can build the dome without insulation, but, in reality, Monolithic’s polyurethane insulation provides noteworthy advantages.
The insulation is absolutely waterproof and therefore totally leak-proof. So you don’t have to worry about leaks through the shell. That’s definitely an advantage since any water that gets into the stored cement creates problems.
In addition, the insulation dramatically helps with the actual, structural engineering. A dome is a huge piece of concrete. When the sun hits one side of it, it tends to expand, while the other, shady side may be contracting. This process creates enormous stresses in the concrete that the insulation totally eliminates.
The polyurethane insulation protects the dome from temperature variations that often encourage condensation on the dome’s interior. For the stored cement, condensation can spell disaster.
An insulated Monolithic Dome rarely collects enough condensation to make stored cement set-up. In many locales, this is a huge asset as the setting of stored cement is not something we want. Just a bit of setting can mean disaster for handling the cement.
Protection from Natural Disasters
Obviously disasters come and go, but the Monolithic Dome’s strength is such that there is no tornado, no hurricane, no wind that will hurt it because the dome has no moment connections.
To a Monolithic Dome, an earthquake is not even on the horizon as a problem.
A tsunami might put water inside the dome, which would not be good for the stored cement, but it would have to be one heck of a tsunami to move the structure or cause any other physical damage.