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Tornadoes are great at lifting stuff of the ground. A tornado on top of a disc can make it a flying disc. But waiting for a right size tornado to come by, takes too much time. So; let's make one ourselves. But how? How can we make and control a small tornado, and use it for safe flight?

How big a tornado do we need to create? Here a unique movie of two paragliders lifted from the ground by a dustdevil (a very small tornado). It proves that a small tornado can do some serious lifting already:

How to create a tornado? (vortex)
A tornado/vortex will create itself, if the conditions are right.
After some experiments and research, I think these are the ingredients:
- A lower air pressure area, to where the air can accelerate. This can be rising warmer air, or the "sucktion" from an air pump/fan. Remember that you can't pull a volume of air. It's the atmospheric pressure that pushes the air to an area of less pressure, to a void. The lower the pressure and the larger the low pressure area, the more powerful the vortex can become.
- The vortex will emerge in the center a "spinning" volume of air, or in between two flows, coming from opposite directions. Air is mass, and when a mass is spinning, there's really a continues acceleration going on. A force is pushing the air to the center of spin. The force here is from the atmospheric pressure. A round room works well, with some jets of air driving the motion. But it doesn't have to be in a box. Using other means to get the surrounding air "spinning" are fine too. The more air mass, and the faster the air is moving, the more powerful the vortex can be. Do keep the air as calm as possible; too much turbulence, and the vortex will not come or stay. But, it's not absolutely necessary to have the surrounding air turning, because if the "sucktion" is really strong, the surrounding air accelerates to that void, and where does that motion go to? Into a spin around the vortex core of lower pressure!
- A vortex tunnel has two ends that need to be closed. One end can be closed by a solid surface like the ground or the ceiling. The other end can be "closed" by warm rising air or a fan. It's also possible to get a vortex going between two low pressure areas, like two fans. And then there's the vortex-ring, where the vortex tube is closed by the absence of ends.

The 1st experiment (2009-04-04), trying to create a tornado tube. It didn't work. The air got sucked away from the center, and the exiting air gave it a good spin. Two problems: the air volume sucked away wasn't much (wrong engine/blower) and the air spinning up was way to turbulent. Tornadoes grow strong by already spinning ambient air, but is easily disturbed by turbulent wind.

Two 3D drawings I made, ideas for a better tornado drive. But I now think they wouldn't work well also because they disturb the air near the center too much.

The 2nd experiment, did work! (2009-04-29)
But the air was very chaotic. The air far around the center didn't spin well, and there was still too much turbulence. The near presence of the smoke machine might also be disturbing the vortex. All the little tornadoes lasted less than a second.

Here are some stills from the movie:

Giesbert Nijhuis, Bart Sabel, Nienke Jansen.

The 3rd experiment (2009-05-24)
We got lots of vortices! They lasted longer and were bigger in diameter. The visibly by smoke and light has improved. Watch the movie in HD!

Here are some stills from the movie:

Giesbert Nijhuis, Bart Sabel, Ruud Panhuysen, Nienke Jansen.

Experiment number 4 (2009-07-19)
Can a cow fly-by-tornado? Will a cow be sucked all the way up, or will the vortex spit 'm out? Many things in life suck, how does a vortex suck?
Watch the movie in HD!

Here are some stills from the movie:

Giesbert Nijhuis, Bart Sabel, Nienke Jansen, Alex Baumgart.

Experiment number 5 (2009-08-02)
By now we're able to easily create a tornado of about 1 meter tall. Special about this tornado is that it's a "free tornado", meaning; not inside a glas container or such. Coolest of this experimental day was the connecting of 2 fans by 1 vortex. A little hard to make visible, but it surely was there.
Watch the movie in HD!

Here are some stills from the movie:

Giesbert Nijhuis, Bart Sabel, Ruud Panhuysen, Piotr Jasinski.


2009 - 2010 - 2011-2012

Giesbert Nijhuis

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