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World’s Largest Man-Made Tornado Actually Built For Safety

Mercedes-Benz Museum Tornado (Images courtesy TechEBlog)
By Andrew Liszewski

What you see here is a man-made tornado standing 34.43 meters high, officially making it the world’s largest according to the Guinness Book Of World Records. But you won’t find this twister in some science center, museum or Knowledgeum. It’s actually located in the multi-story gallery of the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Germany.

While the tornado will clearly serve as a tourist attraction, it was actually created to stop smoke from making its way into exhibit areas in the event a large fire was to break out. To create the tornado seen in these photos, carbon dioxide vapor was used instead of smoke, and it takes 144 separate jets about 7 minutes to get the 28 tons of air moving fast enough to form a funnel. When it does, a low-pressure column in the center of the tornado effectively sucks in any smoke and carries it up to vents in the roof allowing it to escape.

[ Artificial Tornado in German Museum to Save Lives ] VIA [ TechEBlog ]

[ Update: Here's the video! -Ed. ]








  • Kouroth

    COOL!

  • Alex

    Uh, I realize I’m no Poindexter, but wouldn’t a secondary effect of rapidly moving all that air accelerate the fire?

  • http://internationalhotelonline.com arrie

    nice and why i dont see the benz logo there :P

  • sean

    @alex. not if youre removing oxygen

  • chris

    you’re not actually trying to stop the fire, that’s what firefightters are for. they said that it’s just for removing large quantities of smoke in the case of a fire

  • MisterNetHead

    You can just imagine some public safety inspector looking at the building plans and saying, “Frankly, you’d need a huge tornado to get rid of the smoke in case of a fire.” To which the museum designer said, “OK.”

  • Link

    also @ alex: that’s almost like saying that blowing on a birthday candle would make it burn faster. plus like cris says once the fire is big enough that your moving 28 tons of air in a cylinder to prevent smoke damage, you’re likely not gonna save anything that’s already on fire.

    also I would love to jump into the middle of that.

  • Angle

    Hahahah, I can just imagine MisterNetHead.

    Interesting though, very interesting. When can we have a 3 meter version for homes? It’ll make every house-fire something for the whole family to enjoy!

  • anon

    Call me crazy, but this seems needlessly loud. I wouldn’t really want to be there despite being a cool attraction. No museum I’ve ever been to is that loud. Scratch that, the city museum in St. Louis is that loud, but it’s screaming and running kids there.

  • Anonymous

    Are there not more efficient ways of removing smoke?

  • Neal

    While removing smoke, which would allow people to escape and firefighters to work, the tornado should also remove the rising heat. If you’ve ever watched videos of a fire in progress, it’s the superheated air and vapors that gather near the ceiling that allow a fire to flash over and spread quickly. I assume that this has been considered and tested of course. If not then it’s always possible that the thick vapors and extreme heat will disrupt the tornado effect, though it could serve to magnify it too.

  • linuxcluster

    @anon
    the tornado is not turned on unless there is an emergency. I have been to the museum many times and they have never shown this aspect of the building design – hence the museum itself is rather quite.

  • http://www.prankvideoz.com Prank Videos

    holy cow! I gotta see this

  • http://fgdgfd fgdjlfgdjlgd

    yea thats cool

  • nerd

    clearly some hax are involved.

  • shinori

    it is interesting to see (in the video at the end) the way a curve devoloped in the tornado, as if the rotation made the tonado form a slow wave of three nodes (1 on each side, 1 in middle).

    they should add doors to the room (and open vents) and turn this into an attraction. it would definitely pay for itself and for the usage. (i’d go to see it, if i visited germany….).

  • http://www.subcorpus.net/blog/ subcorpus

    these germans are good …eh ?

  • ThePixelNinja

    I don’t know if it’s to prevent smoke damage or to save the people in the building,
    the fire isn’t going to be what gets you, it’s going to be the smoke, the fire is what’s going to devour your unconscious body. Our blood more readily grabs carbon monoxide, than it does Oxygen. So the carbon monoxide in the smoke will render you unable to run because it’s suffocating you. either way, it’s still pretty badass.

  • ashash

    umm i thinks it is ok!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://moneymoose.com MoneyMoose

    I need me one of those at my house.

  • http://ohgizmo.com jacob

    That thing is huge! Thanks for posting it online.Wow thats amazing

  • http://ohgizmo.com randon

    Dang who made that! I mean shouldn’t that like tear down the building or something?Also why would you need a 34.43 meter big tornado to clear smoke out of a building?

  • airbuddy

    awe that things is kwl!!!!!!!…………..

  • chad

    if someone jumped into the middle of that funnel, wouldn't they get knocked off there feet and hit their head or something? I mean it's obvious they would not put there customers in any real danger but thats just my guess.

  • jefffff

    Your comment is very funny. :)

  • joe

    what was the wind speed

  • mario medina

    Hi Alex, I Know you made this tornado comment 1 year ago, but the tornado is made out of carbon dioxide, that`s why ot wouldn`t accelerate the fire.
    regards

  • mario medina

    Hi Alex, I Know you made this tornado comment 1 year ago, but the tornado is made out of carbon dioxide, that`s why ot wouldn`t accelerate the fire.
    regards

  • Jon

    Mario… if there is a fire, they wont be pumping carbon dioxide into building. They will turn it on in hopes to suck smoke out and in doing so will almost certainly accelerate the fire. Alex is correct.

  • Jon

    whenever you have a fire in an enclosed area, that area will have a lower concentration of oxygen. pumping the air out will replace it with oxygen rich air from the outside, feeding the fire.

  • Jon

    Link, a candle has access to all the oxygen it needs whereas an enclosed fire doesn't. Anyone who's ever built a fire knows that introducing air flow accelerates the process. Alex is right.

  • Jon

    Mario… if there is a fire, they wont be pumping carbon dioxide into building. They will turn it on in hopes to suck smoke out and in doing so will almost certainly accelerate the fire. Alex is correct.

  • Jon

    whenever you have a fire in an enclosed area, that area will have a lower concentration of oxygen. pumping the air out will replace it with oxygen rich air from the outside, feeding the fire.

  • Jon

    Link, a candle has access to all the oxygen it needs whereas an enclosed fire doesn't. Anyone who's ever built a fire knows that introducing air flow accelerates the process. Alex is right.