Insulated domes built over inflated forms are being used for storage for potatoes, grain, fertilizer, salt, glass sand, carbon and coke. They are also useful for animal shelter. In addition, they are now used for residences and for civic, retail and commercial purposes. Standard dome diameters offered range from 50 to 150 feet. Smaller domes can be used as connecting links between larger storage units, or serve as farm shops or homes. A typical 50-foot dome home provides about 2600 square feet of living space on two levels.
The basic process in constructing the dome begins with pouring a circular concrete footing as a reinforced continuous beam around the structure. Embedded in it are vertical bars which will subsequently connect the shell to the footing. A fabric air form is then attached to the footing and inflated by a pair of diesel-powered blowers. Most of the rest of the construction is done from the inside of this inflated membrane.
In domes to be used as bulk storage areas, bins can be provided by partitions of reinforced concrete. It is simple to install a circulating conveyor that rotates on a track mounted on the dome and pivots in the center. By adding an electric shovel or slide on the conveyor, material can be dropped off at any point within the building. Construction of these domes is not a do-it-yourself project. Usually a five-man crew is involved, three of whom should be experienced in the dome building process. A well-equipped licensee would need a hydraulic crane, air blowers, an air compressor, shotcreting equipment, an electric scaffold, a urethane foam machine, spray paint equipment and support equipment.