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Igloo Construction Essay Assignment Sample


Task: Prepare a detailed igloo construction essay by relying on its civil engineering aspects.



The S. S. Manhattan was given the chance to examine an igloo's civil engineering features in 1970. This incident occurred while he continued on his journey in an ice-breaking tanker. When the crew had to stop their cruise for ice tests at the northern coast of Baffin Island, they just so happened to find some Eskimos. The group was treated with respect by the Eskimos, who allowed them to look inside their residential igloos. It was significantly simpler to assess the civil engineering methods because the work was erected above the snow line. Since most Eskimos built their homes in areas with heavy snowfall and most of their structures were carved out of huge chunks of ice or snow, building above the snow line is quite uncommon among them. Even the floors have been lowered to make more space inside the buildings. The team has examined a number of construction-related characteristics, such as the building's overall density and material potency. The civil engineering and physics features of the snow structure are taken into consideration in this essay on igloo construction.

Arches and Domes

Since the usage of concrete had made it possible to make thin-shelled structures, it is plausible for ordinary people to assume that the concept of shells is derived from modern era architectural styles. Cones, domes, and other constructive shapes are among the thin-shelled structures. Despite the fact that these buildings may originate from early human history. You could see that most buildings throughout the mediaeval era had domes and circular tops, which were regarded as symbols of wealth and grandeur. It should be emphasized that the domes were constructed during a time when architects and other experts vigorously disputed the notion that a dome built with shoddy brickwork had a higher risk of collapsing. The existence of high tensile ring stresses at the bottom section of the building was the primary cause of the collapse of such domes or circular shapes. Due to its igloo-like shape, which is an upside-down hollow hemisphere, the situation of igloos might be interpreted as embodying the same worldview. In order to reduce the likelihood that the structure may collapse, the hemisphere's sides should gradually widen as it descends. The prominence of domes may be explained if the history of Roman culture were taken into account. These featured various types of brick buttresses, chains, and iron hoops around the perimeter. The flawless parabola shapes of the igloos found among the Canadian Central Eskimos allowed researchers to determine the demography's level of mathematical knowledge and aptitude. If you searched for a precise name, the shape of the upper portion of the igloo may be described as a catenary. It is a Latin term that would translate to "chains" in English. One of the best examples of a catenary is the structure built atop the St. Louis Arch in Missouri, United States of America. The formula to determine the coordinates of a perfect catenary is given below.

y = a (cosh * x/a - 1)

The variable y in this formula denotes the height needed for the catenary. The horizontal distance is denoted by "x," while the variable "a" denotes a constant.

It needs no further explanation that a shelter is necessary in the arctic tundra plants. In order to keep their homes warm, residents in the arctic region, it was also noticed, would construct a fireplace. These structures are created in the modern era using wood and concrete.

However, when compared to the Eskimos or Inuit, it is very different because they build their homes out of snow or ice. You would consider it extremely ironic that people would build houses out of ice amid the frigid arctic. Knowing that ice is an effective heat insulator and can help keep the interior of an igloo warm may surprise you. In addition to igloos, there are various types of ice structures that house humans and described in this engineering assignment. Snow caverns and quinzhee are among them.


In this essay about igloo construction, it is noted that igloos can be found in very northern regions where the Eskimos or Inuit population predominates. It's probable that the reader will have an impression of an igloo formed out of rectangular ice blocks based on widely shared images and information from the media. Although it should be noted that there is no requirement or widespread belief that they must be constructed entirely of ice chunks. If the igloo is taken literally, it simply refers to a house made of any material. The design of the ice blocks requires that a particular angle be maintained. The roof's final shape would resemble a dome. The top of the roof is typically equipped with a modest ventilation system to help with ventilation.

Ice Building for Warmer Interior

The fact that a structure constructed completely of ice is warmer on the inside caught everyone by surprise. As you read this essay on igloo construction, you might ask why it happened.

Contrary to what we may think, the igloo's inside is warmed by the ice itself. In the majority of the cases that have been seen, rectangular pieces of ice are used to build the igloos. The rectangular bricks are positioned so that a cavity or room might be created inside the adjacent blocks. The cavity is shown and cut out after the blocks have been arranged. The igloos lack a smooth surface because they are multi-layered. The fact that the air becomes denser as it becomes colder may help to explain why there isn't a level surface. The air that is confined inside the igloo cavity experiences the same phenomena. Since it is colder than the air at the higher level, the air in the lower part of the igloo is comparably denser. As a result, the cavity's bottom level can develop a cold trap. Therefore, you might sincerely assert that the fundamental rules of physics were followed in the construction of Igloo. Even when the outside temperature dropped to a dangerous -49 degrees Fahrenheit, it has been noted that the temperature within the igloo remained at a safe 61 degrees.


The walls of the igloo would be leaning towards one another to form a closed shape at the top, as was discussed in the preceding portion of this essay on igloo construction. The outside walls are very well polished to make sure there is no air leakage in between the blocks and that they are therefore properly sealed. The entire structure is strong enough to hold up on its own and doesn't require any outside support. Under this shape, the snow becomes exceedingly strong and might even hold up a regular human if he were to stand over the ceiling. Though it should be mentioned that the bottom half of the structure should be vertical rather than taking the shape of a parabola or an arc if the igloo is anticipated to grow larger in shape in order to handle the weight of above laying snow. The ice bricks are initially stacked next to one another in a spiral or circular pattern during the igloo construction process. Additional snow blocks are stacked one on top of the other to create an ascending spiral. In the end, the entire construction would represent a self-supporting dome that could contain a sizable amount of space. The readers should be aware that newly fallen snow is extremely brittle and couldn't possibly maintain strength by itself. As a result, building an igloo does not involve using new snow. It would be exceedingly difficult to construct an igloo by stacking snow bricks in the shape of a dome if the snow has very little solidity. When the human moves inside the igloo, the interior wall begins to dissolve. This is due to the igloo's significantly higher temperature than the surrounding environment. When not in use, the melted ice would re-freeze. This would strengthen the structure and further boost the insulation from the outside atmosphere. In this specific procedure, a new layer is created in the igloo's inner layer. Thus, it is clear that although snow is used to create the igloo, it is the eventual creation of ice that gives the structure its real strength.

The igloos are mostly built in three sizes to suit diverse objectives, as has been seen via intensive observation for this essay on igloo construction. If you come across a really small igloo, it probably serves as a temporary home for a hunter who must go far to find his prey, whether it be on land or in the water. The intermediate-sized igloos are similarly temporary structures and may accommodate a maximum of two families. It is a community of medium-sized igloos that you might see in a tundra area. The last type, which are the largest igloos, are made by linking various igloos by a tunnel; some of them are utilised for habitation and others for doing tasks.


Quinzhee is prepared by carving or digging into a following amount of snow, unlike the igloo construction technique. The procedure would create a hollow hole that would serve as a human refuge. Since they are constructed just to be occupied temporarily, less importance is placed on their finishing touches. However, in the case of an igloo, they are built using particular snow bricks and then polished to give them a semi-transparent appearance. As a result, building an igloo requires more effort than making a Quinzhee.

The quinzhees are transitory settlements, as was said in the section above of this essay on the construction of an igloo, therefore the need for deeper snow is not addressed as it is in the case of an igloo. Quinzhee construction is much simpler and easier than building an igloo. Despite being simple to construct, the quinzhee would not hold up in harsher environments and would crumble much more quickly than the igloos made by the Eskimos. The likelihood of the boundaries of Quinzhee collapsing in difficult conditions is increased by the less dense snow that surrounds it. Due to the limited time and ephemeral nature of a quinzhee, factors like quality and aesthetics are not taken into account when producing one.

Snow Cave

Carving through or digging into snow or glacier is the way for creating a snow cave. The entrance is kept substantially lower than the main section using the same technique as in an igloo. Warm air would be trapped inside the cave using this method. Additionally, a temporary structure while the quinzhee is being created is the snow cave. Even if the temperature outside drops to -40 degrees Fahrenheit, the snow caves can still retain a fairly good temperature of 32 degrees.

Glacier Cave

Since these caverns are naturally constructed, neither artificial nor human interference was used to create them. A glacier cave forms as a result of the water flowing naturally underneath glaciers. When the temperature fluctuates to an even higher degree and moisture builds up in the ice fractures, the glaciers have a tendency to melt. The volume of ice fracture would eventually begin to increase as the temperature of the melted ice rose relative to that of the original ice. Such cracks would enlarge into a fully developed glacier cave as a result of both the melting process and erosion. Despite the fact that the extraordinary increase in temperature brought on by global warming has sped up the rate of ice melting, which has caused the collapse of such naturally occurring glacier caves.


The fact that ice-created structures include a large level of risk and hazard needs not be specifically addressed. Even if a minor ventilation structure is added to the ice-made structure, both integrity and strength are affected. The likelihood of danger would greatly grow if the dome's diameter exceeded the threshold of 10 feet. A dome would undoubtedly collapse if precise measurements and calculations were not made before construction began. In this essay about igloo construction, it has been noted that a quinzhee has the highest chance of being destroyed. Due to the incredibly low density of the snow that makes up the quinzhee's walls, melting would be a very simple process. In contrast, the igloos are built with stronger, denser snow bricks, which lowers the risk. As a result of constant use, the inner wall of the igloo would turn into thick ice, adding to the overall structure's strength and stability. The mortality rate among residents of Quinzhees is exceptionally high.

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