How In The World Did This Happen?

Unless you have been not watching any tv or logging online, then you’re well aware of what happened to The Metrodome in Minneapolis. But, to recap, a massive snowstorm, one of the largest in Twin City history, caused the dome of the stadium to deflate. Now, I know what you may be thinking, how in the world does a roof deflate? The answer rests in a process that works a lot like the atmosphere.

Back in the late 70s, when the stadium was being constructed, engineers were toying around with new technology and thought that building a roof out of teflon and some plexiglass would give the stadium just what the locals needed. A climate controlled atmosphere and a roof that was made of material that would allow bright line to penetrate through. But, how does a teflon roof stay up? Well, you make your own little atmosphere inside the dome. You see, a teflon roof would not stay up on its own. You had to create massive pressure changes in order to keep the roof “up”. In other words, just like the atmosphere outside, air pressure will always move from high to low. If you take a balloon, and blow it up, it’s because you’re increasing the air pressure inside the ballon to be greater than that on the outside. Once you pop the balloon, the air pressure becomes equal.

So, what does this have to do with The Metrodome? Well, it’s almost identical! Check out this video… this is what you encounter when you walk in and out of the stadium.

When you walk out of the dome, you are encountering a massive drop in pressure. The change in pressure creates wind and that is why fans are always getting blown “out” of the dome and not blown “in to” the dome. During this process, the engineers in the stadium will begin to increase the pressure inside the dome so that it’s always substantially higher than outside and so that the roof never deflates. But, the snowstorm this past weekend created a mess that even the dome couldn’t handle. The weight of the snow became so heavy, that it caused rips in the dome, this started to lower the pressure inside the dome and then as the snow started to compact on the roof, it became heavier and heavier until finally, the weight of the snow and the lower pressure inside the dome caused this to happen….

-Damon

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