The Dome Construction Process

Our unique solution begins with an innovative construction process

The steel-reinforced concrete dome is available through construction methods developed and perfected by Dome Technology for more than 35 years. What began as a revolutionary way of thinking about building has yielded one of the strongest and most durable structures available in the world. In addition to our full scope of services, you can discover here the building process that makes the dome uniquely capable.

Initial design & engineering

Unique site conditions, product properties, and operational requirements factor into the initial design of foundations, tunnels, domes, and operational systems. Our team of engineers, experts in dome design and the handling of bulk materials across numerous industries, execute a plan. Located on the same campus as the construction team, our structural, mechanical, and electrical engineers ensure a project is completed with the fewest delays and lowest cost for the customer.

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Foundations & tunnels construction

The inherent strength of the dome allows for diverse foundation and reclaim options. In locations where soil conditions would require deep foundations beneath traditional structures, intermediate options can often suffice with a dome. Innovative precast concrete tunnels can speed up project delivery and, paired with various dome shapes and floor configurations, accommodate efficient underground mechanical reclaim systems. The concrete ring beam serves as both footing for structure and the belt keeping the structure in tension.

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Airform fabrication and inflation

The PVC airform acts as the air-supported structure for applying additional building layers. Upon completion, it remains in place as the waterproof membrane. The airform is one of the few components not sourced locally; it is fabricated at the Dome Technology campus in a state-of-the-art facility to match precise design requirements. Once attached to the ring beam and inflated, the airform creates a protected environment, allowing for construction to continue inside the dome in almost any weather conditions.

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Application of polyurethane foam insulation

Multiple layers of polyurethane foam are applied to the air-supported PVC airform. With fasteners inserted and the foam hardened, this foam serves a structural role in supporting the first layers of steel matting and concrete. Upon completion of construction, the foam acts as a thermal insulator, protecting both the concrete dome structure and the product stored inside.

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Steel-reinforced concrete application

The shotcrete method, with its multiple layers of shotcrete and steel rebar, is what gives our domes their brute strength. This process is the final step in constructing the dome and represents completion of the thin-shell assembly.

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Additional structures and systems

While the dome is an impressive structure, industrial applications require a variety of additional features. Cutouts in the dome accommodate gravity feeding, explosion venting, front-loader access, conveyor access, and other access needs. Headhouses are constructed atop the dome, along with other steel structures. Pneumatic floors, mechanical screws, other reclaim systems, climate systems, and specialized hardware are installed within a dome. In instances where Dome Technology is the design-build contractor for an entire project, the scope of construction goes even beyond these considerations.

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