Physical simulation of a single-celled tornado-like vortex, Part A: Flow field characterization

Amit R. Mishra, Darryl L. James, Chris W. Letchford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Tornado vortex simulation is described and a new simulator is presented. Radial, tangential, and vertical velocity measurements together with surface static pressure measurements are presented and compared with available data from the Manchester and Spencer, South Dakota tornadoes of May 30, 1998, and June 24, 2003, respectively. Comparisons of the surface pressure profile and tangential velocity decay showed good agreement with the TTU simulation. Analytically, the simulated velocity decay is found to be similar to that of a modified Rankine combined vortex with a variable exponent that changed with height. The simulator is demonstrated as a viable device for determining wind loading on building models in tornado-like vortex flows, and such results are presented in Part B.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1243-1257
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics
Issue number8-9
StatePublished - Aug 2008


  • Modified combined Rankine vortex
  • Physical tornado simulation
  • Swirl ratio
  • Tornado-like vortex


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