Tuesday, February 24, 2009
What is it?
Last week I posted this photo and asked what is it? Most people were fooled into thinking that is was something with spokes, or something that spins. Tim did notice the unique way that the tubes were connected to the hub, but was not sure what it was for.
The object is actually a connector for a Triodetic building foundation system.
In most of the rest of the world you dig down to stable soil or bedrock and pour a concrete foundation for your building. This technique does not work well here in the arctic with permafrost and other unstable soils. Building in these conditions presents many interesting challenges. You must make sure that the permafrost does not thaw out and you need to spread the weight of the building over a large area. The usual solution is to build the structure several feet off the ground with a foundation that contacts the ground in many spread out locations.
The Triodetic system is made just for these applications. It consists of these aluminum connectors with galvanized steel tubes between them. The ends of the tube slide into the slots in the connectors. All of the pieces can be assembled by hand without any special tools or equipment. Each connector has threaded rod in the center of it to adjust for uneven ground and settling. When assembled the system of connectors and tubes makes a solid base for the building to sit on.