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Domed Stadium

 

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Overview
If you've ever done the "moon jump" at the fair or slept on an air mattress, then you know that fabric filled with air can support hundreds of kilograms of weight. This same principle is used at the Hubert H. Humphrey Stadium, also called the Metrodome, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The stadium is an air-supported structure. The structure is covered with 10 acres of teflon -coated fabric. This flame-retardant coating on the outside is strong enough to protect the fabric from ultraviolet radiation from the Sun, air pollution, acid rain and other sources of physical damage. The stadium has 20 electric air fans to maintain a positive air pressure inside the structure, although only three usually operate at one time. A computerized peumatic system continually monitors the air pressure and engages extra 100-horsepower fans when the air pressure drops. These fans can blow air into the structure at about 100,000 cubic feet per minute. While positive air pressure keeps the Metrodome up, 26 cables are connected to the fabric to keep the entire structure in place. Full-sized, air-supported sports stadiums are no longer being built in the United States. Too many problems with wet snow conditions and inadequate heating systems have had architects reconsider the design of large fabric-enclosed structures. Cable-supported or tensile structures are currently the preferred design for stadiums. But designers have found other extremely practical uses for air-supported structures. They are used for temporary buildings and small sports facilities. The most exciting design is for hazardous waste clean-up sites. The air-supported covers prevent the sites from emitting toxic material into the environment.

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