A Numerical Approach for Simulating a High-Speed Train Passing through a Tornado-Like Vortex


1 Key Laboratory of Traffic Safety on Track, Ministry of Education, School of Traffic & Transportation Engineering,Central South University, Changsha 410075, Hunan, China

2 Joint International Research Laboratory of Key Technologies for Rail Traffic Safety, Changsha 410075, Hunan, China

3 National & Local Joint Engineering Research Center of Safety Technology for Rail Vehicle, Changsha 410075, Hunan, China

4 Department of Applied Mathematics, University of Waterloo, Ontario N2L3G1, Canada

5 Nyheim Plasma Institute, Drexel University, Camden, NJ, USA


Tornados are one of the most common natural disasters, but their occurrence can be sudden and unpredictable. For trains operating in the areas where tornadoes frequently happen, the operation safety is challenged. Tornado generator was recently proposed as a method of numerical investigation of tornado-like vortex flows. This paper presents a numerical approach for the simulation of train passing through a tornado-like vortex on realistic scale. It is found that the tornado-like vortex causes appearance of localized regions of a negative pressure on the train and transient variations of the aerodynamic loads acting on the train. As a result, the tornado-like vortex causes swings on the lateral force, and subsequently on the rolling moment, which affect the passenger comfort and operation safety of the train. The method presented herein can be further applied to the study of train behavior and real time response while encountering tornadoes of different types and strength, which is significant for evaluating the operation safety of high-speed trains.


Volume 13, Issue 5
September 2020
Pages 1635-1648
  • Received: 22 October 2019
  • Revised: 08 February 2020
  • Accepted: 17 February 2020
  • Available online: 14 May 2020