Characteristics of Tornado-Like Vortices Simulated in a Large-Scale Ward-Type Simulator

Zhuo Tang, Changda Feng, Liang Wu, Delong Zuo, Darryl L. James

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35 Scopus citations


Tornado-like vortices are simulated in a large-scale Ward-type simulator to further advance the understanding of such flows, and to facilitate future studies of tornado wind loading on structures. Measurements of the velocity fields near the simulator floor and the resulting floor surface pressures are interpreted to reveal the mean and fluctuating characteristics of the flow as well as the characteristics of the static-pressure deficit. We focus on the manner in which the swirl ratio and the radial Reynolds number affect these characteristics. The transition of the tornado-like flow from a single-celled vortex to a dual-celled vortex with increasing swirl ratio and the impact of this transition on the flow field and the surface-pressure deficit are closely examined. The mean characteristics of the surface-pressure deficit caused by tornado-like vortices simulated at a number of swirl ratios compare well with the corresponding characteristics recorded during full-scale tornadoes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-350
Number of pages24
JournalBoundary-Layer Meteorology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018


  • Aspect ratio
  • Radial Reynolds number
  • Surface-pressure deficit
  • Swirl ratio
  • Tornado-like vortex


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