Buckminster Fuller has popularized Geodesic Domes (invented by Dr. Walther Bauersfeld who based it on the use of convex polyhedrons), and thus, making buildings with a very large roofs that don't need pillars. In popular science magazines it's said that if you just make the Geodesic Dome large enough, it would float by it self because the air pressure underneath the dome would be bigger than the weight pressing it down, and so, it would float.

Question: Has there ever been an serious attempt to prove that this was theoretically or even practically possible?

In the sense that has there ever been a serious paper published about this, at a university or institute?

  • $\begingroup$ Interesting question. I remember reading about this in literature too. It SHOULD be possible, but AFAIK, there has been no attempt to prove this theory. And I have no scientiific paperwork to back that up, so I'm just commenting not answering. $\endgroup$ Dec 1 '19 at 4:31
  • $\begingroup$ If the dome was large enough that there is a significant vertical pressure gradient outside the dome then surely there would be the same pressure gradient inside the dome and any lift would be cancelled out. Wouldn't it? $\endgroup$
    – Transistor
    Dec 2 '19 at 9:26
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Transistor if you take a paper/plastic cup and invert and place in a sink/tub full of water the cup does not sink to the bottom immediately. It tries to float. Because the centre of gravity is so high it then tends to flip at which point it fills with water and sinks. This same principle should apply for the dome. I would image its similar to taking a clear glass and doing the same thing you will note that the water level inside the glass is lower than the water outside the glass. you would need to design it so that the weight of the displace water is equal to the weight of your struct. $\endgroup$
    – Forward Ed
    Dec 3 '19 at 15:58
  • $\begingroup$ @ForwardEd: There was no mention of water or any other liquid in the question. $\endgroup$
    – Transistor
    Dec 3 '19 at 18:52
  • $\begingroup$ @Transistor apologies, when I read float I took it as floating on a fluid much like a boat $\endgroup$
    – Forward Ed
    Dec 3 '19 at 19:57

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