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Diameters and dome strengthFeatured science projectScience project video

Abstract

This science fair project was done to investigate how the strength of a dome is affected by increasing its diameter while maintaining its height. As the construction of a dome is sophisticated, the tests were done using an arch, which has similar properties to a dome.

Hypothesis

By increasing the diameter of a dome structure while maintaining its height, the strength of the dome will be decreased.

Scientific Terms

Domes, spheres, architectural, cylindrical, compressed

Background

Domes

Domes are architectural structures built to resemble the upper half of a sphere. They can be visualized as an arch that has been rotated around the vertical axis located at its center. These domes can be built over a large area without any need for supporting pillars. The dome construction is also very strong and can withstand hurricanes, tornado and earthquakes.

They are normally used as roofs in cylindrical-shaped buildings or towers. Domes are also used as roofs in buildings that have large floor space but which want to avoid using pillars to support the roof. Some constructions like the monolithic dome are not just roofs, but are buildings by themselves. An example is the igloo, which is built using compressed snow blocks.

Other than their structural soundness, dome-shaped buildings are well known for also being very energy-efficient. The spherical shape results in minimal surface area for the given volume of the building. This means that there is less surface area contact with the surroundings for heat transfer to take place.
 

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Complexity level:
7
Project cost ($):
Time required:
1 day for preparation, 1 day for experiment
Material availability:
Safety concerns: