About geodesic domes

Structure

What is a geodesic dome?
One geodesic pattern

One geodesic pattern

A geodesic dome, is a partial spherical structure, which encloses space. The geodesic dome’s design stems from a regular Icosahedron (interlocking pentagons making up 20 equilateral triangles) projected to create an approximated sphere.

Geodesics are a network of great circles on the surface of a sphere, which intersect to form a lattice of triangles that closely and smoothly approximate to a sphere and help distribute stress across the structure.

A Solardome® geodesic dome typically has five geodesic patterns that repeat around the top of the dome.

Why is a geodesic dome so strong?

It is the strength and rigidity of the various sized triangles over a spherical frame that allows even distribution of stress across the structure. The resulting dome is incredibly strong, whilst requiring the minimum amount of material possible. Solardome® geodesic domes are constructed from an aluminium frame and toughened glass cladding meaning they are very light but at the same time extremely robust and can withstand extreme wind and snow loadings.

What is dome frequency?
The term ‘frequency’ relates to the shape or smoothness of the dome. The higher the frequency, the more triangles it has, and so the closer the dome it is to a true sphere.

frequency of the geodesic pattern

How to calculate frequency
To find the frequency of the geodesic pattern we use the central point in the top pentagon, then using the shortest possible routes find the centre of the next two pentagons lower down the dome, this creates a large geodesic triangle. We then count how many times each side of the large triangle is divided by smaller triangles.

Frequency of our domes
Our standard glasshouses range from 2-frequency to 6-frequency. Our SOLARDOME® PRO system ranges upwards from 4-frequency.

Are they structurally sound?

Our outdoor living standard domes comply to, and exceed British wind and snow loading standards. No other glass building is as strong in extreme weather conditions. Please ask if you would like to see our certificate of design conformity or our structural analysis.

All larger bespoke PRO domes (over 10m diameter) are structurally engineered to Eurocode standards and to meet individual wind and snow loadings.

Materials

What are they made of?

Our standard Solardome® glasshouses are made from non corrosive mil finished aluminium profiles (79% recycled) and 4 mm toughened glass known for its clarity, long life and strength.  They have a white powder coated finish to all exterior surfaces and all fittings are stainless steel to prevent rusting or moss build up. At the end of the domes long life, they are almost completely recyclable.

Our SOLARDOME® PRO system is constructed from purpose designed mill-finished aluminium profiles (alloy 6082 T6) for the strut and link arm section with a unique Geo-Lok aluminium nodal clamping mechanism. The domes can be clad with any type of material depending on your building specification and application:

Glass

Single glazing – from 6mm thick panels

Double glazing – depends on your chosen specification. U values of around 1.2w/m² can be achieved. We can also add safety film internally to create a laminated panel if used as a skylight.

Other materials

The PRO system can accommodate any material up to 100mm thick i.e. wood, metal composite or insulated panels (U values down to 0.35 w/m²).  Insulation/acoustic materials can be fitted on the inside, if required.

Do the glass panes break easily?

All our standard glasshouse domes come 4mm toughened glass.

Panes of glass rarely break, even in hurricane force winds, due to the unique way the glass is held in the triangles and is never under tension.  It is much stronger than a standard glasshouse and can generally withstand stones being thrown at it from distance and a ball hitting it.

How long will it last?

Solardome® geodesic domes have been in production for over 40 years and the original models across the country are still going strong. Our geodesic domes are made with non-corrosive materials, are virtually maintenance free and should last several decades if looked after as per our recommendations. They can even be dismantled and rebuilt making them very cost effective over their lifespan.