Dynamic Structural Responses of Long-Span Dome Structures Induced by Tornadoes

Alternative Title

Dynamic Responses on Large-Scale Dome Structures Induced by Tornado


Long-span dome structures are widely used for public assembly venues because of their large column-free space and efficient use of materials. When occupied by hundreds or even thousands of people, it would be devastating if they fail or collapse, which unfortunately happen frequently during extreme events, especially under tornadic winds. Although static effects of tornadoes on civil structures have been extensively studied, their dynamic impact has not been sufficiently investigated. In this study, non-stationary characteristics of tornadoes and their dynamic impact on a long-span dome structure are systematically investigated. In particular, the time-variant wind pressure on the dome surface induced by translating tornadoes with different intensities is characterized through Computational Fluid Dynamics simulations. The obtained wind pressure is then mapped onto the finite element model of the dome structure, and transient time-history analyses are conducted to characterize the tornado-induced dynamic responses. It is observed that non-stationary wind pressure and the induced dynamic structural responses are significant, when core radius of the tornado approaches the dome. Wind flow of EF4 and EF5 tornadoes is found to be more turbulent than EF2 and EF3 tornadoes, and hence larger and more rapid fluctuations of dynamic responses.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

INSPIRE - University Transportation Center

Second Research Center/Lab

Center for High Performance Computing Research


This work was supported by National Science Foundation , the Hazard Mitigation and Structural Engineering program, through the project of "Damage and Instability Detection of Civil Large-scale Space Structures under Operational and Multi-hazard Environments" [award number 1455709].

Keywords and Phrases

Computational fluid dynamics; Dome structure; Dynamic structural response; Tornado; Translating tornadic wind

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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© 2019 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jul 2019