As one of the most destructive natural hazards, tornadoes continue to devastate civil infrastructure, resulting in excessive fatalities and property losses as well as major interruptions of social functions every year. Much work has been done to reduce the impact of tornadoes on society. In particular, many studies have been conducted in recent decades to understand tornados and their loading on structures, the outcomes of which have enabled the development of codes for structural design and vulnerability assessment of existing structures, such as those included in ASCE 7-22. However, the understanding of tornadoes and their effects on civil infrastructure remains inadequate, especially compared to the understanding of synoptic winds and their effects.
This webinar presents the laboratory and numerical studies that are being conducted at Texas Tech University to understand tornado-like winds and tornado-like loading on low-rise buildings. In the laboratory studies, tornado-like vortices are generated in a tornado simulator that is currently one of the largest in the world, and models of low-rise buildings are tested in these vortices. The seminar will present the characteristics of the vortices, the loading on the model by the vortices, as well as the dependence of the loading on the influencing factors, such as the openings in the building envelope, that have been revealed by the experiments. In addition, two types of numerical studies are conducted to complement the laboratory studies. One type utilizes computational fluid mechanics to develop a digital twin of the simulator to overcome the limitations of laboratory testing, and the other type applies probabilistic simulation to reproduce data from the laboratory testing and enable assessment of building response in tornado-like winds. The webinar will also present the outcomes from these numerical studies.