Monday, July 5, 2010

American Ingenuity, Dome Builders

American Ingenuity (AI) is a company that builds (or provides kits for building) concrete domes. This is a successful company with a good product, and their approach is what we’ll be looking at today.

AI uses triangular foam forms which house steel-reinforced concrete panels, which assemble into a geodesic structure. The panels are fairly large, and must be placed with heavy equipment (as opposed to simple manual installation). The Panel approach is very similar to Insulating Concrete Form (ICF) which is commonly used for more conventional construction methods.

AI has been around since 1976, and has a long and successful history of providing affordable, high performance, energy efficient structures based on geodesic geometry. Their website states “In over 30 years American Ingenuity's domes have survived all major USA hurricanes, tornados and a Hawaiian earthquake, with no structural damage! If more homeowners and government officials in Haiti, Africa, the Pacific Fire Rim, USA earthquake areas of western & middle America, built American Ingenuity Domes, there would be less deaths and home destructions.”

AI provides a good solution for constructing geodesic domes. For a more complete summary of AI’s products, just navigate through their website. They have a very useful website.

The approach I’ve developed differs from AI’s in that mine is a true masonry system. That is, masonry units are kept small enough to be handled by an individual mason. I also use a unique interlocking feature which their system lacks. My interlock allows for the incorporation of conjugate shearing, as described several times in this blog.

The masonry system I’ve developed can also be used to build vaulted arches, straight walls, square corners, arches at right angles, and arches merging into larger domes. AI’s system exhibits nice design flexibility also, although our approaches are different. AI’s requires more custom forms and carpentry, whereas my approach simply uses a couple of different shaped masonry units to build arches, cylinders and straight walls.

Finally, the masonry system I’ve developed can be provided at a lower cost due to the high efficiency, high strength and low cost of manufactured block provided by today’s block manufacturers.

If anyone is looking for a good construction solution, take a look at American Ingenuity. They have a very good system.

No comments:

Post a Comment