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Tornadoes and windborne debris


Project Description

The highest wind speeds on Earth often arise as a result of tornadoes. The May 2013 US tornadoes demonstrated yet again the power of these events and the complete devastation and consequent loss of life that can occur within a very short timescale. Further devastation and more deaths resulted a couple of weeks later when tornadoes occurred again in Oklahoma. North America is not alone in experiencing devastating tornado outbreaks with frequent tornado related damage reported on an annual basis across South America, Australia, Asia and Europe. Society’s risk to extreme storms such as tornadoes is increasing due to expanding and wealthier populations, with more valuable assets at risk.

Debris has the propensity to get embedded within tornadoes and to reach significant speeds. The impact of such debris on engineering and non-engineering structures has the potential to cause more damage than the wind itself and to create further debris which is itself may be transported by the local wind field. The proposed work will undertake a series of physical and numerical simulations in order to track the path of debris items embedded within a transient wind field of a tornado. The simulations will be compared with existing theoretical models for debris flight and used to establish a set of guidelines for engineers.

How good is research at University of Birmingham in Civil and Construction Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 18.10

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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