Strength and stability of earth covered dome shells

Richard A. Behr, Kishor C. Mehta, Ernst W. Kiesling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Earth sheltered housing is a viable means of achieving superior energyperformance, lower maintenance cost, and protection from extreme weather.Despite demonstrated potential for large-scale acceptance in the housing market,initial costs are currently too high to realize this market potential. At leastpart of the cost problem in earth sheltered construction is attributable to thecommon practice of using conventional, rectilinear structural systems intendedprimarily for lightly loaded aboveground buildings. Thin concrete dome shellsare logical alternative structural forms to efficiently support relatively massivesoil loads. This paper evaluates the strength and stability of 50-ft (15-m) diameter,4 in. (102 mm) nominally thick concrete spherical domes under 3 ft (0.9m) of saturated soil cover. Domes having diameter-to-rise ratios between two(hemispherical) and twenty are analyzed for stress levels and buckling characteristics.Neither stress levels nor stability considerations severely limit therange of feasible dome profiles, making the thin concrete dome shell an effectivestructural system for earth sheltered residential applications. From the perspectivesof both structural and architectural design, thin concrete dome shellsoffer significant potential for application in earth sheltered housing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-30
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Structural Engineering (United States)
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1984


Dive into the research topics of 'Strength and stability of earth covered dome shells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this