Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy


Civil and Environmental Engineering


Dr Horia Hangan


The thesis investigates by numerical simulation the flow characteristics of tornado like vortices produced by three types of vortex generators, namely, Ward-type Tornado Vortex Chamber (TVC), WinDEEE Dome and Atmospheric Vortex Engine (AVE).

Laboratory scale (Ward-type TVC) tornado-like vortices were simulated for swirl ratios 0.1 to 2.0 using the CFD code Fluent 6.3. The simulations with Reynolds stress model compare well with past experimental results. Multiple vortices were observed for high swirl ratios in LES simulation. These simulations have generated a comprehensive benchmark data for future modelers and experimenters.

The effects of translation and surface roughness on laboratory scale tornado-like vortices have been investigated. The simulated results show that the effect of translation is not uniform over the range of swirl ratios. For lower swirl ratios the translation reduces the maximum mean tangential velocity and for high swirl ratios it causes a slight increase in the maximum mean tangential velocity. The introduction of roughness reduces the mean tangential velocity at all swirl ratios, in other words the roughness causes an effect similar to reducing the swirl ratio.

Numerical simulations for the WindEEE dome, a novel hexagonal wind tunnel, were performed. Suitable inlet and outlet configurations were identified. The study shows the feasibility for generating axi-symmetric (tornado-like and downburst-like) and straight flow wind profiles in the dome. Also presented are the results of numerical simulation of Atmospheric Vortex Engine (AVE), which is intended to generate a tornado-like vortex to capture the mechanical energy produced during upward heat convection. The results show that the prototype design of AVE is capable of generating a vortex flow in the atmosphere much above the AVE and the vortex acts as a physical chimney limiting the mixing of surrounding air into the rising plume of hot air. The geometrical parameters considered in the simulations provide a good starting point for future designs.