Domes of over 100m
One hundred meters. It's a nice round number, about the length of a football field. Or one thousandth the distance to space. And a heck of a long way for any roof to span without columns.
In fact, for an area on the surface of the earth to be clearly seen from the edge of space with the naked eye, it should be about 100m in diameter. Geometrica pioneered technology that made it possible to build structures that clear-span such areas efficiently. So efficient is the design that these long span domes and barrel vaults are often used for their economy in purely functional applications. This paper presents some of these remarkable structures.
Large (100 to 115m)
Domes in this span range cover about a hectare, or roughly the area of one football field. Covering areas of this size without columns was an impossible task until the advent of metal structures in the late 19th century. They are still not very common, but Geometrica has built dozens of such large domes. Following are some examples:
The Veolia Marchwood silver dome is masterful in its architecture and conceals and beautifies an incinerator with twin chimneys stretching upward through the elegantly curved roof. This waste-to-energy facility, designed by renowned French architect Jeanrobert Mazaud, became a reality in 2007.
The Geometrica solution spans 110m and achieved every one of the architect's desired features while minding the budget. Now newly generated power warms nearby homes, and a new architectural jewel, the Marchwood Silver Dome graces the Southampton Water, in Southern England.
Rassini is an autoparts manufacturer in Mexico that needed to cover their new production facility. Their production lines must be rearranged periodically to accomodate changes in technology or fashion. Therefore, they needed 12,000 square meters of column-free covered space.
Geometrica designed a rectangular-plan Freedome® that springs from a perimeter steel frame with clear height of 6m. The dome spans 112m from side to side, and nearly 150m from corner to corner.
Mexico City Velodrome
Another incredible project, this time a long span sports and performance venue, is the 80 x 120m Belem Guerrero Velodrome in Mexico City.
It serves as a training and practice facility for cyclists, but also transforms into an arena of music and interesting lighting for live performances and the production of music videos.
Larger (115 to 130m)
There are several examples of applications in this range.
Geometrica provided the dome structures for the JEA power plant project, which required upgrading two aging, underutilized oil/gas-fired steam plants to solid fuels by utilizing circulating fluidized-bed technology.
The award-winning facility now boasts two 122m pet-coke storage domes near wetlands in northern Florida. Solid fuel storage at the site is designed to protect the environment with a maximum economy of shape and a minimum of wasted space and materials. Each stores about 66,000 tons of solid fuel conveyed from the loading dock to the domes with a 12,000-foot long conveyor system. Internal cladding prevents fuel dust from accumulating on the structure, minimizes dust pollution, and prevents rainwater runoff from contaminating the wetlands. This effort increased efficiency while reducing both emissions and the cost of electricity.
In another instance of multiple structures constructed simultaneously, Geometrica designed four 126-meter-diameter concrete silos for Taiwan’s state-owned Energy Company, Tai Power. As part of its expansion plans, Tai Power needed to store fuel under cover at their Hsin-Ta Fossil Power Station in Kaohsiung Hsien, Taiwan.
The project specified wind gusts of up to 94m/s. Geometrica provided wind tunnel studies to determine the loads on the domes, and designed the structures with linear and non-linear analysis. Due to scheduling constraints, the domes were built after the coal stacking/reclaiming equipment was installed.
Sierra Gorda Stockpile
At one of the largest copper mining projects in the world, this dome was designed to cover the crushed ore stockpile in Sierra Gorda, Chile.
Large openings for the feeder conveyor support structure had to be accommodated on the dome surface. The 122m diameter dome is a key component in the environment-friendly projected production of 120,000 tons per year of fine copper.
Largest (Over 130m)
Ruwais Refinery Dome
Takreer is the oil refining company of Abu Dhabi. For the expansion of its Ruwais refinery it needed a dome and associated equipment to stockpile its sulfur, a byproduct of its refining process.
Takreer selected Dodsal Engineering for these works. Dodsal teamed up with Geometrica for the supply and installation of a 135m aluminum dome in the project. The design had to account for building the dome at the same time as the stacking and reclaiming equipment, as well as the incoming conveyor. Further, the 54m high dome had to raise quickly from its concrete wall support to clear a swinging reclaimer arm.
Nemak Manufacturing Plant
Nemak specializes in the production of highly complex aluminum castings for the automotive industry. It retained architect Carlos Villaseñor to design a facility that would be flexible enough to accommodate continuously changing technology and layout requirements.
Villaseñor's solution called for four immense domes, each to span 18,000 square meters—and he called Geometrica. The resulting domes cover a breathtaking 224m in their major axis without internal columns.
San Cristobal Mine
San Cristobal is the largest mine in Bolivia—an open-pit silver, lead and zinc mine requiring the transportation of 150,000 tons of rock and the processing of 40,000 tons of mineral daily. Seeking to protect the environment from stockpile dust and cover material awaiting transport, the mine consulted with Geometrica and Carlos Caballero SRL to provide a solution.
They teamed up to create a long span application of irregular shape high in the Bolivian Altiplano, located at over 4,000 meters above sea level in the Andes Mountains. The mine was fully functional during the installation of the dome, meaning the fine ore could be processed while construction took place. The finished stockpile containment structure spans 142m in diameter and 59m in height.
At 4000m above sea level, the new Caserones mine in Chile is subject to snow loads that reach 800kg/m2 and wind gusts of 300kg/m2. The stockpile, one of the largest in the world, is set in a steep ravine, and has an elevation change of 20m between its lowest and highest supports. The challenge was to build a 145m x 94m high dome to withstand these brutal site and environmental conditions for a stockpile cover.
Most coal-fired power plants store their fuel in open-air yards and, until recently, Enel's Bocamina facility was no exception. Their coal yards covered 12 acres and stocked 300,000 tons of coal to keep the power plant running. Then, in April 2015, Enel received environmental approval for a plant optimization project that included covering the stockyards with two free-form domes. The initiative would make Bocamina the first plant in Chile with such modern system. These domes would each cover approximately 23,000m2 and establish the world's largest free-form domes for material storage.
And Many Other Large Domes
Each application is custom engineered for barrier-free open vistas and maximum usage within the structure. Absence of barriers improves views, circulation and traffic within the structures. Geometrica’s versatile building system requires no welding and overcomes the limitations of joists and machined joints. Today's long span structures can be developed to new dimensions that were unattainable in decades past. Freedomes stun the eye while offering the most cutting edge global building solutions known to mankind.
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