April 15, 2008

$153 million city dome protection from nuclear weapon and money generating applications

Click for larger image

I had previously looked at making two large concrete or nanomaterial monolithic or geodesic domes over cities which could protect a city from nuclear bombs.

Now Alexander Bolonkin has come up with a cheaper, technological easy and more practical approach with thin film inflatable domes. It not only would provide protection from nuclear devices it could be used to place high communication devices, windmill power and a lot of other money generating uses. The film mass covered of 1 km**2 of ground area is M1 = 2×10**6 mc = 600 tons/km**2 and film cost is $60,000/km**2.

This site has looked at simple technology like better nails and blast resistant wall paper for enhancing the survivability of buildings against nuclear blasts and category 5 hurricanes.

The area of big city diameter 20 km is 314 km**2. Area of semi-spherical dome is 628 km2. The cost of Dome cover is 62.8 millions $US. We can take less the overpressure (p = 0.001atm) and decrease the cover cost in 5 – 7 times. The total cost of installation is about 30-90 million $US. Not only is it only about $153 million to protect a city it is cheaper and more maintainable than a geosynchronous satellite for high speed communications. Alexander Bolonkin's website The fact that this thing could generate so much revenue and be the platform for so many services and benefits makes the Domes look like certain fixtures for our future. It solves or improves the broadband problem, energy generation and a host of other issues.

The author suggests a cheap closed AB-Dome which protects the densely populated cities from nuclear, chemical, biological weapon (bombs) delivered by warheads, strategic missiles, rockets, and various incarnations of aviation technology. The offered AB-Dome is also very useful in peacetime because it shields a city from exterior weather and creates a fine climate within the ABDome. The hemispherical AB-Dome is the inflatable, thin transparent film, located at altitude up to as much as 15 km, which converts the city into a closed-loop system. The film may be armored the stones which destroy the rockets and nuclear warhead. AB-Dome protects the city in case the World nuclear war and total poisoning the Earth’s atmosphere by radioactive fallout (gases and dust). Construction of the AB-Dome is easy; the enclosure’s film is spread upon the ground, the air pump is turned on, and the cover rises to its planned altitude and supported by a small air overpressure. The offered method is cheaper by thousand times than protection of city by current antirocket systems. The AB-Dome may be also used (height up to 15 and more kilometers) for TV, communication, telescope, long distance location, tourism, high placed windmills (energy), illumination and entertainments. The author developed theory of AB-Dome, made estimation, computation and computed a typical project.

H/T to Wired Danger room

Yes, the Simpson's movie had a dome over Springfield.

His idea is a thin dome covering a city with that is a very transparent film 2 (Fig.1). The film has thickness 0.05 – 0.3 mm. One is located at high altitude (5 - 20 km). The film is supported at this altitude by a small additional air pressure produced by ground ventilators. That is connected to Earth's ground by managed cables 3. The film may have a controlled transparency option. The system can have the second lower film 6 with controlled reflectivity, a further option.

The offered protection defends in the following way. The smallest space warhead has a
minimum cross-section area 1 m2 and a huge speed 3 – 5 km/s. The warhead gets a blow and overload from film (mass about 0.5 kg). This overload is 500 – 1500g and destroys the warhead (see computation below). Warhead also gets an overpowering blow from 2 -5 (every mass is 0.5 - 1 kg) of the strong stones. Relative (about warhead) kinetic energy of every stone is about 8 millions of Joules! (It is in 2-3 more than energy of 1 kg explosive!). The film destroys the high speed warhead (aircraft, bomber, wing missile) especially if the film will be armored by stone.

Our dome cover (film) has 2 layers: top transparant layer 2, located at a maximum altitude (up 5 -20 km), and lower transparant layer 4 having control reflectivity, located at altitude of 1-3 km (option). Upper transparant cover has thickness about 0.05 – 0.3 mm and supports the protection strong stones (rebbles) 8. The stones have a mass 0.2 – 1 kg and locate the step about 0.5 m.

If we want to control temperature in city, the top film must have some layers: transparant dielectric layer, conducting layer (about 1 - 3 microns), liquid crystal layer (about 10 - 100 microns), conducting layer (for example, SnO2), and transparant dielectric layer. Common thickness is 0.05 - 0.5 mm. Control voltage is 5 - 10 V. This film may be produced by industry relatively cheaply.

If some level of light control is needed materials can be incorporated to control transparency. Also, some transparent solar cells can be used to gather wide area solar power.

As you see the 10 kt bomb exploded at altitude 10 km decreases the air blast effect about in 1000
times and thermal radiation effect without the second cover film in 500 times, with the second reflected film about 5000 times. The hydrogen 100kt bomb exploded at altitude 10 km decreases the air blast effect about in 10 times and thermal radiation effect without the second cover film in 20 times, with the second reflected film about 200 times. Only power 1000kt thermonuclear (hydrogen) bomb can damage city. But this damage will be in 10 times less from air blast and in 10 times less from thermal radiation. If the film located at altitude 15 km, the
damage will be in 85 times less from the air blast and in 65 times less from the thermal radiation.
For protection from super thermonuclear (hydrogen) bomb we need in higher dome altitudes (20-30 km and more). We can cover by AB-Dome the important large region and full country.

Because the Dome is light weight it could be to stay in place even with very large holes. Multiple shells of domes could still be made for more protection.

Better climate inside a dome can make for more productive farming.

AB-Dome is cheaper in hundreds times then current anti-rocket systems.
2. AB-Dome does not need in high technology and can build by poor country.
3. It is easy for building.
4. Dome is used in peacetime; it creates the fine climate (weather) into Dome.
5. AB-Dome protects from nuclear, chemical, biological weapon.
6. Dome produces the autonomous existence of the city population after total World nuclear war
and total confinement (infection) all planet and its atmosphere.
7. Dome may be used for high region TV, for communication, for long distance locator, for
astronomy (telescope).
8. Dome may be used for high altitude tourism.
9. Dome may be used for the high altitude windmills (getting of cheap renewable wind energy).
10. Dome may be used for a night illumination and entertainment

The protection from the first and maybe more nuclear missiles is very good. Better than other systems. But the best part is $153 million/city to make and install cheaper than a communication satellite launch. Put high speed communication all over it. Gigabit+ per second wireless citywide and upgradeable systems so when better communications gear comes along then upgrade to terabit per second.

Obviously if someone blows up your dome. It is war and you have made your cities at least twice as hard to kill. It would take time for the Dome to fall and there is a second or third layer dome farther below. Plus mini-domes could be inflated in the event of primary dome collapse or when you detect more nuclear launches. Mini-domes able to deploy quickly and handle 5 psi of over pressure can reduce any followup damage radius by ten times. Then dozens nukes would be needed to completely kill a city.

He is assuming the nuke blows up on the outside of the dome because if it hits the dome it would be destroyed and not blow up. Then the distance means that the explosive effect is far less. With other domes deployed then the overpressure blasts can be protected against as well.


Bolonkin worked in Soviet aviation, rocket and Space industries and lectured in main Soviet University about 15 years. In particularty, in Kiev Aircraft State Design Bureau headed by O.Antonov, Bolonkin took part in design of aircraft AN-8 through AN-225 (Enginer-Senior Engineer-Chairman of Department); in Rocket engine Construction Bureau headed by Academician V.P.Glushko, Bolonkin was Chairman of Reliability Department and took part in design of rocket engines for main strategic rockets of the USSR; in TsAGI (central Aero-Hydrodynamic Research Institute) A. Bolonkin was a scientific researcher.

He lectured as a professor and worked as a Project Director in Moscow Aviation Institute, Moscow Aviation Technological Institute, Bauman Highest Technical University, Technological Institute, He contacted with Construction Bureaus of Tupolev, Yakovlev, Mikoyan, Ilushin, Sykhoy, with all main aviation, rocket and space research and design Centrers of the USSR. He had many awards in the Soviet Union.

In 1988, Alexander Bolonkin arrived as a political refuge in the USA and became American citizen in 1994. He worked as a mathematician in Sherson Lehman Hutton (American Express), N.Y., (Research, computation, programming, Optimal portfolio of securities), a Senior Researcher in Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences of New York University; two years as a Senior Research Associate in Wright Laboratory, Flight Dynamic Directorate (Dayton, Ohio), (it is the main Laboratory of the USA Air Force with over 20,000 scientists); as a professor in New jersy Institute of Technology, Computer and Information Department. He worked as an expert of Association Engineers and Scientists in N.Y.C. (Estimation of new ideas, projects, patents. Consulting).

He worked two years as a Senior Research Associate in the NASA (Dryden Flight
Research Center) in California, Edwards.

Now Dr. Bolonkin lectures at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Over the four years alone, A.Bolonkin published 9 scientific articles and books in the USA and a lot of articles in Russia-American press about scientific problems. He took part in three World Space Congress (1992, 1994, 1996), in World Aviation Congress (Los-Angeles, 1998, 1999) and eight National Scientific Conferences in the USa. In particularly, he published monograph "Development of Soviet pocket engines for Strategic Missiles", Delphic Ass., USA, 1991, 133 p., and large Chapter "Aviation, motor, and Space Designs" in book "Development Technology in the Soviet Union", pp.32-80, Delphic Ass., USA, 1990.

Alexander Bolonkin is the author of 60 scientific articles and books and 13 inventions

If frost damage protection can be provided. It could make sense to cover contiguous areas of Florida's citrus crops.
The Florida citrus industry provides $9 billion/year of crops from 748,000 acres of land.

One square kilometer is 247.1 acres.
$60,000/km**2 for material (triple for installed price).
Less than $700 per acre.
Could be about $500 million to protect Florida crops for decades.

Cheaper and smaller domes (around $200,000-1,000,000) could provide secondary containment for nuclear power plants by covering one square kilometer, while also providing aircraft and missile protection. It would be very cheap extra insurance.


Dan said...

Does he analyze the behavior of the dome in the face of prevailing winds? Might tear it apart, or flatten it down on the windward side...

Joffan said...

I wonder if you could have a rapid-deploy system, a silo in the middle of the city that could store a spare "dome" and deploy it using peel-off rocket leads for the edges after popping up the bulk material?

I don't think you could have the material as light as the slow-deploy system though.

Joseph said...

Hi, this is Joseph Friedlander, I am a sometime co-author of Professor Bolonkin's
a sometime volunteer editor (Russian English to more conventional English)
and I put Dan's question to Professor Bolonkin, who replied that a storm wind cannot put down the Dome. The storm

wind having a speed equal to 40 m/s produces a pressure of 980 Newtons/sq.meter, is less than 0.01 atmosphere. If

temporarily the inflating fans on the ground speed up to "puff up" the internal pressure into the Dome by about 10

millibars (totally normal range of pressure such as occurs in the normal range of yearly weather--google "synoptic map")

the Dome should resist the outside wind well.

To Brian Wang, I would like to thank him on the Professor's behalf for his kind coverage. As many people have noted, we

are living about at the tipping point when the majority of people are about to be urban for the first time (if it hasn't already

happened as I write this), and more and more technical possibilities are opening up for small groups to threaten people in

cities over the coming decades.
In the long term, space is the answer to the assured survival of human civilization, but it surely would not hurt to have a

means to make more expensive any assault on a city. If the price is raised for a "successful" attack, fewer independent

actors will be able to threaten a city, (or indeed trigger a war) and civilization may buy the time it needs to expand

beyond the planet.

Brian, if convenient I would like you to e-mail me at your convenience, jjfriedlander at gmail dot com, because I have an

interesting story to tell you, (maybe grist for the blog mill) but I don't want to go off topic here.

Dan said...

Joseph, this is very interesting. I'm still not 100% convinced though. Strong winds might still push the dome on one side, flattening it down onto buildings or whatever on that side and damaging it.

Since it apparently scales downward, why not build and demonstrate a small one? It might even have a practical use beyond just demoing it. How about enclosing a small outdoor baseball part, protecting games from getting rained out? Or some other sport. Or how about protecting an outdoor swimming pool from weather, for an even smaller scale application. Should work, right?

Joseph said...

Dan, thank you for your kind thoughts!
I have no doubt whatever that there is some wind intensity that would be able to overpower reasonably sized levitation fans. (Since a commercial installation would have to be paid for, there is some point at which the investor would put his foot down and say, "That ain't gonna happen and I ain't gonna pay to protect against it" although you KNOW that in a movie, 'guess what' would happen about 2/3 the way through, and 'guess where' the reluctant investor would be!:)
And if you doubt that reluctance to pay, note that even the U.S. Congress, a freer spending body than which I know not of, had many years to provide an adequate sea wall for New Orleans before Katrina.

But even if flattened against a building, a smaller dome would probably not damage a large building with reinforced structure greatly relative to the damage such winds could inflict by translated (hurled) objects which are legendary in the Midwest where I grew up ie things spearing trees, etc
The key is that an unpierced dome distributes the load very evenly, deflecting slowly and gracefully in large sizes (though in a wierd pulsating motion which must be controlled) whereas in small ones change comes more quickly.(Smaller scale system reaction times.) But literally, air overpressure can suspend a buildings worth of materials, and if you don't believe me, see
where they literally spray shotcrete on a simple hollow inflatable airform. Many tons of it. I know it is emotionally hard to believe because we think of air as light but those are the facts.
I personally would LOVE to see shielded small installations, particularly a swimming pool in lightning weather! Can you imagine swimming on your back, looking up, seeing the flashing and the rain splattering while feeling totally safe (better have a good grounding consultant first! :))

Anonymous said...

Hmm, Wouldn't a film dome covering a city eventually accumulate enough water vapor such that it would constantly be raining?

neil craig said...

If the wind pushes the dome against a building I wouldn't worry about the dome damaging the building but I think the building would rip the dome. It is after all, extremely thin. I think it might get holed easily by many things & since a hole is a weak point, rip apart after that.