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Flame Tornado

Public summary: 

Watch a tornado form under the effects of moving air.

Demo of a flame tornado
Useful information
Kit List: 

- Rotating turntable
- Wire mesh
- BBQ lighter fuel.


Demo of a flame tornado - a small fire is made at the centre of a rotating mesh tube. The tube is rotated giving incoming air angular momentum, so it gets dragged in and makes a cool tornado effect.

To set up place a cruicble at the centre of the tray. Let people give it a spin to show a tornado isn't formed like that. Place mesh around and spin again. This messes with incoming air and leads to vorticies and tornadoes through scientific magic someone should explain here!

Risk Assessment
Date risk assesment last checked: 
Tue, 01/01/2019
Risk assesment checked by: 
Date risk assesment double checked: 
Wed, 12/12/2018
Risk assesment double-checked by: 
Risk Assessment: 

A metal jar lid of BBQ lighter gel is burnt within a 1m high mesh cylinder that will rotate. As it rotates the flame gets drawn into a tornado, due to conservation of angular momentum.

Hazard Risk Likelihood Severity Overall Mitigation Likelihood Severity Overall
Hot surfaces People, and especially fingers, could get burned if they get into the fire or touch hot surfaces. 3 3 9 Insulated handles to spin using. Keep crowds stood back to make easier to control. Use of experienced demonstrator.

The mesh cylinder is held onto the turntable quite well and acts as a shield to stop people touching it, and stops the flame getting out.

The demonstrator should be careful because the lid especially will be very hot when you come back to it.
Run burned areas under cold water for 10 mins or until it stops hurting - whichever is longer. Summon a first aider to assist the casualty.

2 3 6
Burning liquid The burning liquid could escape, and cause a fire/burns. 3 3 9 Be very careful about where it is set up so there is nothing flammable nearby.

There should be a fire blanket close at hand (safety box).

BBQ lighter gel is used because it is quite viscous so will not fly out too easily

The jar lid is constrained so it remains central.

The turntable is constructed so the two halves don't come apart.
Smother any flames with the fire blanket. If fire spreads call 999. In case of burns follow actions for burns above.

2 3 6
Publicity photo: