Geometric Models of Deployable Metal Domes

Publication Details

This article was originally published as: Schmidt, LC & Li, H, Geometric Models of Deployable Metal Domes, Journal of Architectural Engineering, 1995, 1(3), 115-120. Copyright 1995 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The journal homepage is available here.


This paper presents a new method for constructing metal domes. The method is basically one in which the whole structure is assembled initially at ground level in an essentially flat condition. By the use of posttensioning in an appropriate way, the space structure can be erected by deflecting into its final shape and into position. From the principle of deployable structures, this paper concludes that the basic problem of such a method is the geometric compatibility condition between the initial and final configurations. The geometric models that reflect the relationship between the planar layout and the space shape is established to describe the geometric compatibility condition of domes. An example of such deployable metal domes, taking into account the geometric models, mechanism condition, and appropriate posttensioning method, is given to illustrate the method. The finite-element analysis results of the example show that the proposed shape-formation method is feasible and the established geometric models are reliable. Potentially, this procedure can offer economics over traditional methods of construction of metal domes.

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