# How does a tornado tube work?

HOW DOES A TORNADO TUBE WORK

A tornado tube is in fact not actually part of a tornado! It is a small plastic invention. The tornado tube connects two soda bottles in an hour glass formation. There is water in one of the bottles, which flows into the other bottle in a tornado like form. It can only do that though if you rotate it in a circular motion. It doesn’t flow down though if you don’t rotate it because there is no way for the air in the bottom to get to the top. The air keeps the water up in the top bottle until it is shaken. When it is shaken, the tornado you see is the air escaping to the top. The air wants to go to the top and the water wants to go to the bottom because of gravity. As shown in the diagram, the water flows in the opposite way of the air, thus creating a vortex.

Figure 1: The tornado tube- the twisting of the water and air

Figure 2: This is a tornado tube shaken and going

Craig Burnham
You may be wondering how or who created the tornado tube. It was Craig Burnham who invented it. Craig Burnham actually had discovered and created it when he was little. He was playing around in his dad’s workshop and decided he wanted to make an hourglass. He took two glasses and connected them in the middle with a piece of tube and a washer in the middle. He looked for sand, but it didn’t work. Then he wanted to find salt to use, but he didn’t have enough of it. So he settled with tap water. But, the water didn’t flow as he had wished that it did. So he got angry and shook the bottle. When he shook it, it caused the vortex to form. He tried it again and again and it worked every time. He couldn’t do much with his idea because he didn’t have the money and he was too young. So he settled with just using them as gifts until 25 years later. He had started a marine construction company to raise money for his idea. When he finally got the patent, his idea went viral in the science world. So the tornado tube was invented from a failure of an hourglass.

Tornados happen when rapidly rising warm air suddenly meets cold air. When those two meet, then the air in the middle starts to spin and it becomes a tornado. When it is spinning at a fast enough speed then it can dissipate. Tornados can gain high speeds and do great destruction on towns. They are considered a natural disaster, along with hurricanes, flooding, ex. Tornados can only occur with difficult weather conditions. Tornadoes are extremely destructive.

Glossary
Vortex: a whirling mass of water, especially one with a force of suction such as a whirlpool.
Dissipate:to scatter in various directions
Natural Disaster: any event or force of nature catastrophic consequences

Citations
• Challoner, Jack. Hurricane & Tornado. New York: Dorling Kindersley, 2ooo. Print.
• http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/
• Schlenker, Richard M. "Using Tornado tubes to generate intrest in science research" Ebsco. National Science and Education standarads, 1996. Web. 9 Sept. 2012.
• Spangler, Steve. Taming the Tornado tube: 50 weird and wacky things you can do with a tornado tube. Englewood, CO: WREN Pub., 1995. Print.
• "storm." Compton's by Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online School Edition.
Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2012. Web. 27 Sept. 2012.

• "tornado." Britannica Elementary Encyclopedia. Encyclopædia Britannica Online School Edition.
Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2012. Web. 27 Sept. 2012.