Phenomena

Fire Tornado

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Fire tornadoes, despite their name, are more like dust devils than your typical tornado. In nature, they’ll often form in wildfires, but here the Slow Mo Guys simulate one for the high-speed cameras using a ring of box fans set up to provide rotational flow, or vorticity, around a kerosene fire. As the fire burns, the warm air over the flame moves upward due to buoyancy. This creates a low-pressure area around the fire that draws in the spinning air from further out. Like an ice skater who pulls her arms in when spinning, the rotating air spins faster as it moves in toward the fire, resulting in a swirling turbulent vortex of flame. Hopefully it goes without saying, but, seriously, don’t try this at home. (Video credit: Slow Mo Guys; submitted by Chris S.)

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