Dr. Arnold Wilson doesn’t credit human ingenuity for the invention of a dome — he credits the egg. Wilson, who retired after completing a 40-year career as Civil Engineering Professor at Brigham Young University, says, “The egg has always fascinated me. You can see that it’s the shape and structure of the shell that gives it its strength. Much the same is true for a dome, and I think we borrowed from nature when we began building domes.”
After reviewing the FEMA requirements for a structure capable of providing a safe shelter for people in areas where hurricanes and tornados represent a real danger, the Monolithic Dome, because of its very nature, heads the list for economy and strength to resist extreme loads.
Referring to his 40-year teaching career as a Professor of Civil Engineering at Brigham Young University (BYU) and his more than 30 years as Monolithic’s Senior Consulting Engineer, Dr. Arnold Wilson said, “It’s just been a wonderful trip for me. It’s been exciting. I have done things that I had never even dreamed that I would do.”
The concrete dome is similar in shape and structure to an egg which has always been a fascination. The egg shows us that a relatively soft and weak material can be used to create a very strong structural shape. A simple demonstration illustrating the strength of an egg was made using a 2′ × 10′ wood plank, supported on one end by a rigid support and on the other end by one hard boiled egg. Four bags of Portland Cement were placed on the plank, at center span, one at a time, for a total of 376 pounds or 188 pounds on one egg. The shell did not crack! Such is the strength of some domes.
“It was a very good building for a very long time – but that’s progress, I guess,” said Dr. Arnold Wilson about the February 11, 2006 razing of a historic, thin shell concrete dome in Provo, Utah.
After Dr. Wilson completed a 40-year teaching career and earned the title of Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering at Brigham Young University (BYU) and after he completed more than 30 years as Monolithic’s Senior Consulting Engineer, he wrote a book.