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Wind and Structures   Volume 26, Number 3, March 2018, pages 179-190
Laboratory investigation of the effects of translation on the near-ground tornado flow field
Alireza Razavi and Partha P. Sarkar

Abstract     [Full Text]
    Translation of tornadoes is an important feature in replicating the near-ground tornado flow field which has been simulated in previous studies based on Ward-type tornado simulators using relative motion of the ground plane. In this laboratory investigation, effects of translation on the near-ground tornado flow field were studied using the ISU Tornado Simulator that can physically translate over a ground plane. Two translation speeds, 0.15 m/s and 0.50 m/s, that scale up to those corresponding to slowly-moving tornadoes in the field were selected for this study. Compared with the flow field of a stationary tornado, the simulated tornado with translation had an influence on the spatial distribution and magnitude of the horizontal velocities, early reversal of the radial inflow, and expansion of the core radius. Maximum horizontal velocities were observed to occur behind the center of the translating tornado and on the right side of its mean path. An increase in translation speed, resulted in reduction of maximum horizontal velocities at all heights. Comparison of the results with previous studies that used relative motion of the ground plane for simulating translating tornadoes, showed that translation has similar effects on the flow field at smaller radial distances (~2 core radius), but different effects at larger radial distances (~4 core radius). Further, it showed that the effect of translation on velocity profiles is noticeable at and above an elevation of ~0.6 core radius, unlike those in studies based on the relative motion of the ground plane.
Key Words
    tornado simulation; ISU tornado simulator; translating tornado; Tornado-like vortex; tornado wind
Alireza Razavi and Partha P. Sarkar: Department of Aerospace Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA

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