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building eartbag dome with potato sacks or hessian tubes  RSS feed

 
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I was wondering what the problems are building an earthbag dome with burlap chaff bags instead of the polypropylene. If the building is quickly (a friend does this with an air pressure method) sealed by hemp/lime crete wouldn't that stop the bags from deteriorating and compromising structural integrity? What is the window/door to wall ratio for a classic dome?
 
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T-C Hall wrote:I was wondering what the problems are building an earthbag dome with burlap chaff bags instead of the polypropylene. If the building is quickly (a friend does this with an air pressure method) sealed by hemp/lime crete wouldn't that stop the bags from deteriorating and compromising structural integrity? What is the window/door to wall ratio for a classic dome?


Burlap is actually more vulnerable to deterioration from moisture than polypropylene is, so this is more of issue than UV degradation from sunlight. Typically bags are filled with a damp mix of soil, and this can take quite awhile dry out. And especially with domes there is always the danger of moisture getting into the walls, because they are also the roof. In fact it is best to make domes with stabilized soil just as a precaution, especially in damp climates.

The fewer openings there are in domes, the more secure they are, because any opening disrupts the monolithic nature of  the shape. Domes rely on the tensile strength of the barbed wire placed between each course of bags to maintain its shape, another reason to have fewer openings. Typically a dome might have less than 10% of its surface area devoted to openings.
 
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