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Could dropping a massive plate thru the center of a tornado kill it?

by garbuhj
Tags: dropping, kill, massive, plate, tornado
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Simon Bridge
Jul6-14, 04:34 AM
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1. they would not work better than the steel plates - and for the same reasons... unless you want to demonstrate otherwise i.e. by doing the maths?

2. they are not "my" steel plates.
Jul8-14, 08:36 PM
P: 28
Tornados have enough energy to lift a loaded railroad car. You would need a plate so big nothing could lift it.
If it would work at all.
Jon Richfield
Jul9-14, 06:58 AM
P: 258
It is amazingly difficult to get responses to operative questions. I have tried a couple of times and no luck. I would hardly have thought that I had left any doubt, but all I get is kindly exhortations to accept that dropping neither plates nor turbines would be practical. I had explained from scratch that I never had thought that they would work, but not a sausage, not a single response even addressed my explicit questions. I had ironically (though accurately) suggested that dropping turbines would be better, and I got persistent assurances that turbines wouldn't work either. (Chee t'anks buddy! Who'da guessed it! I suppose next I'd better avoid asking next whether we could send out teams of cowboys with BEEEG lariats!)

I am not convinced (the plate dropping) would work anyway even on the most basic assumptions, such as that we could handle the twister chasing and logistic problems. I remember back in the days before I finally migrated from bathtubs to showers, playing with the vortex when I pulled the plug. Once that vortex had formed, it was extremely difficult to discourage, and one of its skills was to teleport itself from wherever you tried to discourage it, to just past your hands. Unless your twister-squasher was the size of Kansas on a hot day, I reckon you would simply displace it a few hundred metres, and very likely create a few new twisters in the process.

Quote Quote by Jon Richfield View Post
"Better than steel plates" please note, does not mean "practical" or even "practicable"; it does not necessarily even mean "sane". Forgive me if I misled you into thinking that the approach threatened to tempt your local politicians into a boondoggle.
asked in effect whether steel plates of less than the size of Kansas (read "infinite" in engineering terms!) would actually work on tornados even if we could drop them accurately. Did you calculate what would happen to the conserved energy and angular momentum?
Got it this time? I KNOW the plates wouldn't be practical anyway. What I am asking is whether I am right in assuming that they wouldn't work if we COULD drop them (lets say weenie little plates a few km in diameter!)
Nick O
Jul9-14, 07:35 AM
P: 153
Quote Quote by garbuhj View Post
and if it could be done it seems like it would be financially and morally worth doing.
This is a huge part of what we have been responding to. Even if it were doable, it is by no means financially or morally sane.

Sure, a metal plate the size of Texas could easily destroy a storm system. It might also cause mass extinction.

Edit: your few-km-in-diameter plates might also work, and may also cause mass extinction. At the very least, they would cause worse weather conditions than the ones they are addressing.
Jon Richfield
Jul9-14, 09:14 AM
P: 258
Quote Quote by Nick O View Post
Edit: your few-km-in-diameter plates might also work, and may also cause mass extinction. At the very least, they would cause worse weather conditions than the ones they are addressing.
Good, we are getting warmer. Thank you.
Bearing in mind that the plates need be only a few cm in thickness, especially if they were suitably moulded, a 1 sq. km plate could weigh less than 1 megatonne, so mass extinction from dropping it from the lower stratosphere, especially in a horizontal orientation and with precautions against tumbling, seems unlikely, though I appreciate that some of the collateral effects might be disconcerting for anyone below.

Mind you, I bet that no one just over the horizon would notice any thump. But that is by the way.

However, the key enquiry from my point of view (can't speak for garbuhj) is the nature of the "worse weather conditions than the ones they would be addressing". A million tons or so over a square km (or better, 400 Mt over a square 20 km on a side, so that its effective diameter exceeded the height of the twister) might cause a fair amount of exhaust wind as it reached atmospheric levels of much less than its own diameter, but I suspect that you would find them to be comparatively mild if you computed them out. But my main interest is not whether the people we are rescuing would be grateful or not, but...

What would happen to the (BIG) tornado(s)?

After all, a big twister at its peak activity has accumulated quite a lot of angular momentum that isn't just going to dissipate because you have sat on it, right? Are you envisaging the twister ducking sideways from under (as I am inclined to suspect would happen) or split into a lot of baby twisters, possibly amplified a bit by the potential energy of our plate (which is hardly a pinprick in Texan terms, or even over tiny little Kansas), or what?

You surely aren't suggesting that the plate would politely stay up while the twister remained, or that the twister's energy would just go away?

I can't help thinking that with a bit more imagination and equipment than I have or even than garbuhj has suggested, modelling the behaviour of a helical vortex under stress might be an interesting project. The sort of thing a class could do in a glass tank of water.
Jul9-14, 06:23 PM
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P: 26,661
Sorry, it's time to shut this down, too much speculation.

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