Dome Airform

The inflated Airform for the dome, showing the airlock system at the entrance. (Mike South)

Timelapse shows construction of ammonium nitrate storage dome

A new 29-foot-tall Monolithic Dome has been erected in Whitewright, Texas to provide storage for ammonium nitrate. The dome is located at the EDC Ag Products Company LLC (EDC Ag) facility and will give storage for 1,000 tons of the chemical. The construction of the 58-foot diameter dome was a cooperative effort among the community and EDC Ag.

This kind of structure is important for EDC Ag, but also for the safety of the surrounding community. Ammonium nitrate is a source of nitrogen fertilizer and by itself is not explosive. However, it is an oxidant and when it comes in contact with a burning substance, it can add fuel to a fire. Storing products such as ammonium nitrate in domes offers a greater measure of safety from fire and possible explosion.

Monolithic Domes are fire resistant structures that are ideal for storing chemicals such as ammonium nitrate. Domes help neutralize blasts created from inside, and block fires from the outside. There are approximately 1,300 facilities across the country that store ammonium nitrate and Monolithic Domes offer a greater amount of protection to the communities when compared to the traditional types of facilities used to store this material.

Many people are pushing for more safety precautions to be made regarding the chemical after a recent incident. In April 2013 a fertilizer plant in West, TX containing 30 tons of ammonium nitrate exploded, killing 15 people and damaging 150 buildings. The U.S. Chemical Safety Board found that many communities across the country are at risk for a similar disaster to the West, TX explosion.

Monolithic Domes are the optimal structure to provide protection should an explosion occur. They meet or exceed FEMA’s standards for providing near-absolute protection. They have proven to withstand tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and fires. The exterior coating of a Monolithic Dome can be fireproof.

Watch the video below to see the Airform inflation on this dome.

Related Links:

Airform back side

The inflated Airform from the back side. (Mike South)

Airform on ground

The Airform set on the foundation before being blown up. (Mike South)

Steel rebar at top of dome

Detail of the top of the dome, where the steel reinforcing rebar can be seen. (Javier Figueroa)

Steel rebar inside dome

The interior of the dome, where the steel reinforcing rebar is added. (Javier Figueroa)

Monolithic Dome concrete foundation

The concrete foundation for the Monolithic Dome, the first step in the dome-building process. (Mike South)

Monolithic Dome construction site

An aerial view of the construction site. (Mike South)