# Physics

Water Pitcher    Glitter
Food Coloring    Washer
Bottle
Tape
Introduction
Materials
Instructions

Tornadoes are one of nature’s most violent types of storms. Every year in the United States, tornadoes cause widespread destruction and are responsible for hundreds of deaths and billions of dollars of damage. Also known as cyclones or twisters, these storms have a rotating, cyclonic shape. They appear in many shapes, colors, and sizes and can vary in strength, depending on the atmospheric conditions in which they form.

The formation of a tornado is generally associated with a large thunderstorm, known as a supercell. This type of thunderstorm has a very strong updraft, which causes an air mass to rotate violently and can give rise to hailstones. A supercell is capable of producing strong tornadoes with winds that can sometimes exceed 300 miles per hour (mph) (483 kilometers per hour [kph]). When tornadoes touch down, they can leave a path of destruction that stretches for miles. Winds from tornadoes can be strong enough to flatten buildings, uproot trees, and carry automobiles for hundreds of yards. The wind speed associated with a tornado is used to classify its intensity on the Fujita scale, which ranges from 0 to 5. On the Fujita scale, an F0 tornado has winds that range from 40 to 72 mph (64 to 116 kph), and an F5 tornado has winds that range from 261 to 318 mph (420 to 512 kph). In this experiment, you will create a tornado chamber and observe the characteristics of a tornado.

• 2-liter bottles
• washer
• tape
• water
• food coloring
• glitter
• data table
1. Fill the bottle two-thirds full of water. Add a few drops of food coloring and some glitter (this will represent debris and will make your tornado easier to see).
2. Place the 1-in. washer over the top of the bottle that is filled with water.
3. Take the empty, inverted bottle and place it on top of the filled one.
4. Tape the two bottles together securely.
5. With a click, turn the chamber upside down so that the filled bottle is on top.
6. With a click, swirl the bottle several times in a circular motion.
Analysis