Geodesic dome
Kind Code:

A geodesic dome construction system utilizing a plurality of prefabricated flanged triangular panels and interior rigid insulation material. The flanged triangular panels are formed from single sheets of rigid material and fastened together on a flange-to-flange basis with sealant between the flanges. Along the interior face of the panel, rigid insulative material is attached with adhesive. The seams or voids along the edges of the rigid insulative material can be filled with foam insulation or other sealer which will further seal the interior flange seam of the flanged triangular panels. In addition, the interior face of the insulative material is covered with a coating to provide an interior finish and protection against damage.

Miller, Robert Todd (San Diego, CA, US)
Application Number:
Publication Date:
Filing Date:
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04B1/32; E04B7/10; (IPC1-7): E04B7/08
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20040103614Composite for storm protectionJune, 2004Hanks et al.
20060144013Insulated panel and glazing system comprising the sameJuly, 2006Rouanet et al.
20150259941Self Contained Vehicle Repair ShopSeptember, 2015Hanson
20040237446Locating device and method for locating tilesDecember, 2004Precey
20040226252System for enhancing the durability of wood constructionNovember, 2004Sheldon
20100050567Grout placement apparatusMarch, 2010Vandewinckel et al.
20090025328MECHANICAL PLUG AND METHOD FOR USING THE SAMEJanuary, 2009Hemminger et al.
20150047282Flooring and Underlayment including Extruded Sheet Material with Expanded MicrospheresFebruary, 2015Ford et al.

Primary Examiner:
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Robert Todd Miller (San Diego, CA, US)

I claim:

1. A geodesic dome consisting of a plurality of flanged triangular panels whereby each panel is formed from a single sheet of rigid material.

2. The dome of claim 1 wherein said panel has flanges which are formed at acute angles in relation to the interior face of said panel.

3. The dome of claim 2 wherein said panels are fastened to one another at said flanges with the flanges facing the interior of said dome.

4. The dome of claim 3 wherein holes are provided in said flanges to accept fasteners.

5. The dome of claim 1, further including rigid insulative material which is attached to the interior face of said flanged triangular panels.

6. The dome of claim 5 wherein seams between rigid insulative material are filled with insulative foam or equivalent sealer.

7. The dome of claim 5 wherein said rigid insulative material is coated with an interior finish.



[0001] This invention relates to a geodesic dome structure composed of flanged triangular panels.


[0002] Geodesic dome structures are already well known and one can refer to the patent of R. B. Fuller No. 2,682,235 (1965) for an understanding of the geometry of such structures. While geodesic domes are inherently efficient structures, they have seen relatively little use in the marketplace. One reason is that they differ greatly from conventional structures and thus there is a reluctance to use such foreign looking designs. In addition, most designs that are available today are expensive to build. Even though the basic design is materially efficient, their construction is extremely labor intensive. Most designs require the cutting of many triangles out of plywood or other wood products including many complicated angle cuts for studs, struts, etc. One can refer to U.S. Pat. No. 4,907,382 (Paul A. Schwam, 1987) and U.S. Pat. No. 4,611,441 (Thomas A. Wickens, 1985) as examples. Furthermore, many designs have had problems with water leakage due to the exposure of seams to the exterior and building materials that degrade over time. Therefore, experience has shown that applying conventional construction methods to the geodesic dome design has met with limited success.

[0003] Several examples of prior art which utilize flanged panel construction systems are known. One such design is U.S. Pat. No. 4,330,969 (Patrick E. Quaney, 1982). It uses molded panels which are assembled on a flange-to-flange basis. The panels are molded from structural foam or similar materials and can include reinforcing ribs integrally molded into the flange for strength. While this design may provide a means of constructing a dome from panels on a flange-to-flange basis, the panels themselves are not necessarily efficient to manufacture.

[0004] My invention overcomes these limitations. A major consideration in my design is cost. The simplicity of design and ease of construction are the biggest cost savers in my invention. Furthermore, the design is oriented to allow for simplified tooling and manufacturing processes. Even with these advantages my invention exhibits superior structural strength characteristics. All of the previous geodesic dome designs suffer from a number of disadvantages:

[0005] (a) Their complicated design or labor intensive assembly process causes them to be cost prohibitive. While many designs may be able to produce a structure that can be built at a comparable cost to conventional structures, they can not be built at a cost that is significantly lower and thus affordable to the lower end of the housing market. Thus, their use is restricted to the very small market of unconventional home buyers who can afford them.

[0006] (b) Most designs require extensive labor to assemble the building components. While some panel designs can be assembled quickly, they usually require extensive labor to manufacture the building panels.

[0007] (c) They use conventional roofing systems which are prone to leak on such unconventional roof structures.

[0008] (d) The use of wood in any building structure eventually allows for possible damage due to decay, rot, water, or termites.

[0009] (e) The use of wood or other organic materials for exterior surfaces also necessitates substantial periodic maintenance such as painting etc.


[0010] Accordingly, several objects and advantages of the present invention are:

[0011] (a) to provide a geodesic dome construction system that will be cost effective and affordable to the low end of the housing market or third world regions;

[0012] (b) to provide a geodesic dome construction system that can be assembled on site with minimal labor and whose panel building components can be manufactured inexpensively;

[0013] (c) to provide a geodesic dome construction system which will not be prone to leaks;

[0014] (d) to provide a geodesic dome construction system which will not be prone to rot, water or termite damage;

[0015] (e) to provide a geodesic dome construction system which will not require substantial exterior maintenance;

[0016] Further objects and advantages are to provide a geodesic dome building system which will make clean comfortable housing affordable for persons who now suffer with substandard housing. Still further objects and advantages will become apparent from a consideration of the ensuing description and drawings.


[0017] In the accompanying drawings:

[0018] FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of a building structure embodying the present invention;

[0019] FIG. 2 is a top plan view of a typical flanged triangular panel embodying the present invention prior to the flanges being formed at their proper acute angles;

[0020] FIG. 3 is a top plan view of a panel after flanges have been formed at their proper acute angles;

[0021] FIG. 4 is a side view of FIG. 3;

[0022] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a typical flanged triangular panel embodying the present invention;

[0023] FIG. 6 is a top plan view of two panels attached at their flanges;

[0024] FIG. 7 is a cross sectional view of FIG. 6 along line 7-7;

Reference Numerals In Drawings

[0025] 1

20rigid insulative material28holes
22foam insulative sealant30interior coating
24flange sealant32adhesive


[0026] The description presented herein describes an improved and simplified means of building a geodesic dome structure through the use of one piece flanged triangular panels and rigid insulation system. A typical embodiment of a geodesic dome construction system of the present invention is illustrated in FIG. 1. Geodesic domes can be built in varying configurations and percentages of a sphere and can also utilize an almost unlimited number of different geometric designs. Therefore, this invention relates closely to the panel design which can be utilized for the varying configurations of geodesic domes. The panel can be made from a single piece of any rigid material which can be formed or bent with the preferred material being a sheet-metal such as galvanized steel. Other metals such as aluminum or stainless steel, etc. will also work. Before a panel's flanges 34 are bent or formed it will have a shape consistent with FIG. 2. FIG. 3 shows a top plan view of a panel after the flanges 34 have been formed. Take note of the fact that flanges 34 will be formed at acute angles in relation to the interior face of the panel (as shown in FIG. 7) with each angle determined by the mathematical geometric formula of the dome constructed. The flanges 34 can be easily formed with a press-brake which is a tool common to most all sheet-metal fabrication shops.

[0027] FIG. 4 shows the panel from the side with holes 28 in the flange 34 to accept fasteners 26 (shown in FIG. 7). The holes 28 can be preformed with a punch which is also a common sheet-metal tool. It should be noted that the panels will work without the holes 28 preformed as they are shown. It is preferred that they be preformed with similar flanges having similar hole patterns to facilitate proper and speedy alignment during the assembly process. However, with the use of fasteners 26 such as self-drilling screws the panels can be erected without holes 28 preformed in the flanges 34. FIG. 5 shows a perspective view of a typical panel with flanges 34 formed and holes 28 preformed.

[0028] During the assembly process the flanges 34 are coated with sealant 24 and the panels are attached to one another at their flanges 34 and fastened with fasteners 26 as shown in FIG. 7. FIG. 6 shows two panels so attached. The sealant 24 seals the seam between the flanges 34 to form a water-tight seam. In the preferred embodiment the sealant is a flexible neoprene sealant. However, the sealant can be any material which will form a permanent seal between the joined flanges 34. This process of fastening panels together will start at the base of the structure and continue in a spiral fashion until the top panels are assembled. After the structure is erected, the insulation material 20 can be attached to the interior of the structure with adhesive 32 as shown in FIG. 7. The insulation 20 can be made from any rigid insulative material with expanded polystyrene foam being the preferred material. The thickness of the insulation can be selected depending upon the use of the structure, but 4 to 9 inches would be average. It is preferred that the insulation be cut or formed into triangular shapes in accordance with the shape of the flanged triangular panel that it is to be attached to. This rigid insulation material is attached to the interior face of the panels with an acrylic latex adhesive contact cement available from DAP Inc., Dayton, Ohio. There are other adhesives available that will also work.

[0029] As shown in FIG. 7, there is a space or void left between the pieces of rigid insulation material 20 where they meet along the seam of two flanges 34. This space can be filled with a urathane foam such as Froth-Pak manufactured by Insta-Foam Products Inc., Joliet, Ill. This foam can fill the entire void but should at least fill the void to the extent that the edges of the attached flanges 34 are completely covered. This will act as a secondary seal for the flanges 34. The interior face of the rigid insulation material may be finished with an interior coating 30 such as plaster.

[0030] Summary, Ramifications, and Scope

[0031] My geodesic dome invention consists of triangular panels that are formed from single sheets of rigid material and that have flanges formed along their edges at acute angles in reference to the interior face of the panels. The panels are fastened together flange to flange with screws, bolts or other suitable fasteners. The panels can be made of sheet-metal or any other rigid material which can be formed by bending or other means. The seams where the panel flanges meet are sealed with a permanent flexible sealant against water leakage. Insulation can be provided by rigid insulation material which can be attached to the interior face of the of the flanged triangular panels with adhesive. Any gap or void between the rigid insulation along the panel seams can be filled with a foam sealer or foam insulation which will furthermore seal the interior seam of the connected flanges. The interior face of the insulation panel can be coated with a fire-resistant coating to provide an interior finish.

[0032] Although the description above contains many specificities, these should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention but as merely providing illustrations of some of the presently preferred embodiments of this invention. Thus the scope of the invention should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents, rather than by the examples given.

Previous Patent: Energy-saving housing

Next Patent: Deadman ground-anchor