First of all, without detracting from the inflatable domes, it´s clear that we are inclined towards the domes with structure, and we prefer these domes with knowledge of the cause, due to previous experiences with inflatable domes.
Both domes can have similar characteristics in terms of “spectacular” services, such as the possibility of making immersive video projections 360 º inside, although it is in the security section where these two types of domes differ, being in opposite poles.
While Geodesic Domes are very safe structures, in fact they are the safest and most effective structures created by humans, Inflatable Domes, lacking a rigid structure inside, make these domes elements at the mercy of inclement weather and therefore more insecure.
Let’s see it graphically:
The following videos are of an installation in which, even though these domes are certified to withstand winds of up to 120Km/h, in this particular case, the anemometer did not mark more than 100 Km/h, and unfortunately, the dome did not withstand this speed.
In the first video you can see how the wind pierces the membrane, which being translucent are less thick, making the dome lose its stability:
Once started the “dance” of the dome, from one side to the other, you can see in this second video as the loss of stability makes the membrane can reach nearby structures, and that’s where a large window opens and only leaves the option to cut the membrane and let it fly to avoid greater evils:
It should be noted that this inflatable dome is not a Chinese dome, but one of the most reputable inflatable dome companies in the UK.
These situations are unfeasible with a geodesic dome, having a structure inside that gives rigidity and security.
It is clear that inflatable domes are much quicker to install, in most cases, more economical, with features similar to geodesic domes, …but ….. Is it worth not sleeping on days when an inflatable dome is installed for fear of being destroyed by a gust of air?
Not for us, and that’s why we dedicate ourselves to renting Domes with structures because we like to sleep peacefully and that our clients also do it.
If with all this, you still think that this case can be a punctual case, it is true, in the previous event made with this dome no problem occurred, so the statistics are at 50/50, … uhmmm, we still do not convince us.
But let’s look at some particularities and differences between both models:
- The inflatable dome, being translucent, allows you to observe the projections both from the inside and from the outside.
- Geodesic domes are not, because having a structure would cast shadows, but it would not be possible because our domes are blackout, composed of a PVC membrane of 3 layers.
- Inflatables are mounted faster. True, the dome is spread on the ground, the sandbags that serve as counterweights are placed inside its base and the air compressors are connected… and voila, we already have our dome in place.
- The Geodesic structures, depending on the model and size, need more or less machinery for their installation, because of their height, it is necessary to have lifting machines to locate and join the tubes of the structure.
- The inflatable domes have pressurized doors to prevent the air from coming out, which on the one hand is a small inconvenience because you have to follow a protocol of entry and exit to not keep these accesses open too long and thus depressurize the dome.
As you are not yet convinced,… we continue:
- Geodesics have fixed accesses, as part of their structure, so there is no problem or protocol of entry and / or exit, as it does not affect the stability of the structure.
- Inflatable domes can be higher than a Geodesic Dome. True, as it is a “Baloon” the height is delimited by the surface given to the membrane and the tension caused by the air inside.
- Geodesic Domes are structures derived from a mathematical form, in which the height is related to the diameter of the structure.
- Can you make different shapes and lengthen the structures or even give more height? Yes, but the original and therefore more stable formula is that the height is equal to the radius of the dome or what is the same, half the diameter of the geodesic dome.
We stop at this point to clarify that there are different types of Geodesic Domes depending on their frequency, 2v, 3v, 4v, 5v, … and so on.
This affects the number of tubes needed in the structure, and therefore, the higher the frequency, the greater the number of tubes and the greater the strength of the structure.
You can see a calculator of geodesic frequencies in the following web:
As you can see in these images, depending on the frequency the number of tubes and rigidity is greater depending on the frequency, and even in some frequencies the ratio of height=radius is not fulfilled. The standard in geodesic domes is their construction with Icosahedron, although it is also possible to manufacture them following the other Platonic models, such as Dodecahedron, Tetrahedron, Octahedron, etc…. As you know, Geodomes Immersive Experiences has the largest Geodesic Dome in Spain, with 515m2 of surface. A Dome with a diameter of 25m and a height of 12.5m with a v6 frequency: