Geodesic Dome

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Geodesic Dome

The classic Geodesic Dome can be constructed using tensegrity-based techniques.

Polyhedral description of the Geodesic Dome

The geodesic dome as elaborated, patented and fine-tuned by both Fuller and followers of Fuller's techniques is based on the icosahedron. The icosahedron's faces are subdivided--the more subdivisions, the more gently the dome can curve. Fuller called such triangulation "frequency" and his terminology is adopted by the Fuller-inspired dome building community. A 2-frequency dome, in classic geometry, would be called a truncated icosahedron or a icosa-dodecahedron.

When elaborating a dome as a tensegrity, the usual difficulties of mapping tensegrities to related polyhedral forms set in.

The Stiffness and Elasticity of Tensegrity Geodesic Domes

Snelson arguably has the longest experience deploying true tensegrities. He repeatedly asserted that the tensegrity dome was illogical from a structural perspective. He wrote, "Bucky's 'tensegrity dome' or sphere is by its nature as soft as a marshmallow; no way to avoid that as long as one stays with discontinuity. Most important: it's not a triangulated structure." [1]

deJong rendered a 6-frequency tensegrity dome impacting on a surface. You can see the squishiness.

Links and References

[1] Snelson letter to Jáuregui, in Jáuregui's PhD thesis, Appendix D., p.140