As Biosphere 2 is a self contained and airtight structure the air inside would expand and contract on warm and cold days which could cause the building to explode or implode!
Two lungs were built to cope with this effect. One of them is pictured above. As the air in the building warmed up the black lung would expand and the roof of this room lowered. When we were there they opened an outside door to ventilate the room and the roof slowly fell. It was quite a sight to see and the draught out the door was enough to make it hard to be heard over the whine.
Biosphere 2 needed something like a bellows, a lung!
Biosphere 2 would heat up like a greenhouse and cool during the night and during cold, cloudy days. The expansion and contraction would subject the rigid steel and glass structure to enormous pressures as the air inside expanded and contracted. On a hot day, pressure would push out. On a really cold day, Biosphere 2 might implode.
Bill Dempster, Director of Engineering Systems, had an inspired solution, and in time Biosphere 2 got a pair of lungs, or “variable expansion chambers”. The two lungs took the form of graceful hemispheric white domes which protected the liner from wear and tear of the Sun. Both domes, 150 feet away from Biosphere 2 had underground air tunnels connecting them to the main structure. Inside each tank and connected to each tunnel, a gargantuan synthetic rubber membrane with a circular metal top moved freely up and down on a cushion of air.
As air inside Biosphere 2 expanded from the Sun’s heat, it flowed through the tunnels and into the lung, raising its top. As air cooled, the lungs deflated.
|Camera||Canon EOS 20D|
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