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RE: Metrodome roof collapse video

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I grew up in Minneapolis, and lived there when the Metrodome was first built.  I think the first snow-induced roof collapse was just a year or two after it was built.  You’re right about it being air-supported.  When we would go to baseball games there, they’d have everyone enter through revolving doors, to keep the air pressure up.  When the game was over, and they were more interested in getting people out as quickly as possible, they’d open all the exit doors.  As you crossed the threshold, you would get hit from behind with a pretty powerful gust of air.


-- Joel Adair

    SHW Group

    Plano, TX


From: Bill Cain [mailto:bcainse(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Tuesday, December 14, 2010 2:49 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: RE: Metrodome roof collapse video


My understanding is that the dome is basically air supported with several large air handling units pressurizing the dome. It has endured collapse, or rather "deflation", about 4 times since it was built according to an article I read yesterday. The "collapse" load amounted to something like 17" of snow. They pulled the snow removal crew off the roof before the collapse due to hazardous working conditions. Apparently their usual process is to limit how much snow can accumulate by removal efforts.  All said, it sound like "Don't mess with Mother Nature!"

Bill Cain, S.E.
Berkeley, CA

From: ggg(--nospam--at)
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Metrodome roof collapse video
Date: Wed, 15 Dec 2010 07:29:37 +1100

Thank you, Scott, for such an interesting tidbit.


From outside at least it looks like a classical snap-thru failure.

The designer must have over-estimated the load capacity.

It seems that the structure consists of a metallic mesh with inflatable cells between them.

It is unlikely those cells have much contribution to over-all stability.

I would bet that the circumferential ends of the metallic elements are damaged,

one way or another.




Gregory from Oz.