Pile cover storage dome calculator concept sketch

Sketch of the concepts used in the Pile Cover Storage Dome Calculator. Instead of inputting dome dimensions to calculate storage volume, you input the desired storage capacity and the calculator determines the size of the dome.

Dave South

Normally we input diameter and height into a dome calculator and it returns the surface area, volume, and other useful measurements. For storage domes, it should also compute the storage capacity for a specific product. But what if we need it the other way around. If we know how much storage capacity we need, how big is the dome? That’s the question the pile cover storage calculator aims to find out.

A pile cover dome is exactly what it sounds like — a dome that covers a pile of stored material. It differs from a load-bearing storage dome in that the product, ideally, does not rest against the dome wall. It’s assumed that the product is conveyed to a single point on top and dropped in to form a cone-shaped pile. The shape is determined by the angle of repose for the stored product. Some materials form a tall cone while others form a shallow one.

Of course, these are ideal conditions. In the real world, variations in product composition and density will vary the stored capacity and angle of repose. The product pile is rarely a perfect cone. It’s also unrealistic to never push product against the dome wall. The final design will always require tweaks and changes.

The goal of this calculator isn’t to find the perfect size, the goal is to get close, quickly.

In the past, we would use a spreadsheet and input different dome sizes until we found the size for the target storage capacity. It worked, but not fast. This calculator finds the ideal size in one easy step. From there the design is refined until the final size and shape are found.

This calculator is actually the first version of a comprehensive storage dome sizer that will work for pile cover and load-bearing bulk storage domes. The pile cover is the easiest to calculate because it’s simply a dome with the same diameter and height as the product cone. For load-bearing domes, we must calculate the input pile cone, the volume of material against the dome, and the volume contained by the stem wall.

The real challenge is making it easy to use. We are testing ideas for product selection, capacity, unit conversion, presentation, and more. This is a work in progress and we could use your suggestions. Please give the Pile Cover Storage Dome Calculator a try and send us your feedback.

Screenshot of the new pile cover storage dome calculator

Try the new Pile Cover Storage Dome Calculator.

Dave South