Lab-borne Tornadoes

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Conventional wind tunnels are great, but some aerodynamic testing requires facilities of a different nature. The video above is from the WindEEE dome, a hexagonal chamber with sixty fans on one wall, eight directional fans on the other five walls, and six fans in the upper chamber. Each is individually computer controlled, allowing the researchers to create straight flows as well as complex vortical ones. The video shows their tornado flow, which stands 5 m tall and swirls at 30 m/s. They can also move the tornado around the chamber at 2 m/s. This capability enables a kind of scale-model analysis of tornadoes and their impact that’s not possible in most facilities. You can read more about the dome at New Scientist or the WindEEE website. (Video credit: New Scientist/WindEEE; submitted by entropy-perturbation)

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