Hurricane Harvey, which passed over the Texas coast and caused massive flooding in the city of Houston, probably made its residents think about the project of a giant dome to protect the city center from wind and rain.
The dome over Houston could protect the city from climatic disasters. And instead of fleeing, making their way through the streets, flooded with a meter layer of water, or sitting on rooftops waiting for rescuers, Houston residents would simply spend several days listening to the sound of rain falling on the dome.
But … the project of a giant dome 500 meters high and 160
0 meters wide is extremely difficult and expensive to implement.
Instead of one giant dome, Houston could be closed by a system of many domes covering individual houses and streets, and connected within a single network.
Such a dome system is not a giant project, but a cross between the facade decoration of buildings and a complex of large industrial greenhouses. From a technical and financial point of view, nothing is inaccessible. But it can perform the same protection functions and create a comfortable microclimate as giant domes.
More details about the concept in a previous post:
According to preliminary data from Hurricane Harvey, about 7 million people were affected, the total damage was about $ 40 billion. This amount is quite comparable to the construction of a dome, climate protection system in Houston and the region. In theory, instead of spending money on repairing damage, one could spend it once on building domes and forget about the damage during the next hurricanes.
In terms of each victim, 40 billion is about $ 5.7 thousand. For infrastructure construction projects, the money is not big. But domes, according to my concept, should be cheap.
Unlike Fuller’s domes, a geodesic dome with load-bearing walls. I propose to make the walls of the domes non-load-bearing.
Why design domes that can support themselves when their main task is to cover houses and buildings? Domes can be supported by these buildings, and their walls can be hung from the roof of houses or from several steel structures.
Domes should generally consist of lightweight composite frames or special plywood and steel cables. Several layers of plastic film should be stretched over the frames, two outer layers of a strong, thick film, preferably ETFE. The inner layers can be thin and made of cheap polyamide. The outer layers of the film must be reinforced with fiberglass strips. Such a reinforced plastic film can easily withstand any hurricane wind, or a layer of water of one and a half meters.
But in practice, the domes do not need to contain water; this role should be played by concrete walls several meters high on the periphery of the domes, combining the functions of anti-vandal and anti-water protection.
Non-load-bearing domes are much lighter and cheaper than Fuller’s geodesic domes. They have less metal. They do not need massive concrete foundations. They will be built faster, as they are easier to assemble and require less manual labor. Therefore, the cost of building dome systems may well be within such amounts as $ 5,000 per individual.
Residents of individual houses living on the outskirts of the city of Houston, or on the Texas coast can also close their homes with protective domes.
Making an awning made of plastic film and cables, and a supporting structure on the roof of a house, is not a difficult task for builders.
And in addition, serial industrial greenhouses can be used as domes for individual houses. That does not require any technical innovations at all. You just need to choose a sufficiently durable and cheap model of greenhouses, and take care of protection from water on the ground.
To protect against water currents on the ground, you can use peripheral walls made of thick plastic film, on a steel frame reinforced with strong cords or fiberglass strips.
To prevent water from penetrating under the dome through the ground, you can bury a plastic film on the periphery of the dome and to a depth of 1.5-2 meters. This is enough to prevent water from penetrating the ground during a short-term flood. Of course, it is better to make a complete seal, remove a layer of soil, one and a half meters deep, lay a plastic film, and then fill the soil back. But this method is only suitable when building a house from scratch, designed under the protection of a dome.
If you build houses inside domes or greenhouses, you can significantly reduce the cost of building a house by using not building materials, but finishing materials. And due to this, compensate for the cost of the dome.
You can also use the domes themselves, or greenhouses as living quarters. With additional anti-vandal wall protection. Such houses – domes, or houses – greenhouses, are one of the promising areas of the construction industry, since they are not expensive and can be quickly erected.
Dome climate protection systems are relatively cheap and easy to implement protection against hurricanes and floods on the coasts of the southern seas. Having built such domes once, it is possible to carry out all the following rains and hurricanes in comfortable conditions, looking at natural disasters from behind the sealed walls of the domes.