What are Air Dome Walls Really Made of?
If you’ve done a bit of research, you’ve probably read somewhere on our site that dome fabric is tough, vinyl-coated polyester. Everyone’s heard of the materials vinyl and polyester, but do you really know what they are? Domes need to be tough and built to last, which is why every material involved needs to be up to the task.
What is Polyester?
We all know that polyester is a fabric. As a matter of fact, a good amount of the clothes in your wardrobe are probably made of the stuff. But ask most people what it is and where it comes from and that’s usually the extent of their knowledge.
The name “polyester” actually comes from shortening the scientific names of what it’s made of. It is a “polymer,” made mostly of “esters.” A polymer is what we call when molecules attach to each other like a chain. In the case of polyester, each link of that chain has something called an ester functional group. With a long enough chain, we can create fibres, and with enough fibres, you have a fabric.
Polyesters can occur naturally, sometimes in plants, but we can also synthesize it with chemical reactions. This is why you’ll hear the terms natural and synthetic polyester.
Polyester fabrics can be incredibly strong and highly-stain resistant, which is why they make a perfect component of air structure fabric. That’s not all there is to it, though.
What is Vinyl?
To further strengthen and protect dome fabric, the polyester is combined with a vinyl coating. Vinyl is another material that you likely contact every day.
In chemistry, vinyl can also be called ethynil and it’s a relatively simple compound that can combine with other chemicals to also form a polymer. A common one is polyvynil chloride, or PVC, which is a plastic and what we’re commonly referring to when we say vinyl.
PVC is so common, it’s actually the third most abundantly produced plastic on the planet. It can come in a rigid form (used for things like bottles and bank cards) or flexible (used for stuff like inflatable toys and rain wear).
For domes, a vinyl coating provides strength, protection from the elements, and longevity.
When it comes to an air supported structure, the vinyl-coated polyester needs to be durable and weather resistant. The outer layer is, therefore, thicker and heavier to provide a heavy-duty barrier against the elements.
Taking this to the next level, for domes that need to stand the test of time, we have another layer to add: DuPont Tedlar film.
This layer will preserve the colour and cleanliness of the fabric and also significantly lengthen the lifespan.
With all this technology thrown into our air dome fabric, it’s no wonder The Farley Group stands behind the longest warranty in the business: 20 years!
An air dome’s strength comes from a sum of all the different components and the fabric walls bring the bulk of that.
Who would have thought that walls made of fabric could be so tough?