The Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany is now home to more than just automobiles. The museum has been recognized by the Guinness Book of Records for creating the "strongest artificially generated tornado in the world." The 34.4 meter high (that is 37.2 yards to those metrically challenged) vortex was not designed as an attraction, but to channel smoke out of the building in the event of a fire. The architecture wonderment that is the museum did not make use of any fire doors in the design (surely they would get in the way of the architect's vision). In order to meet regulations, the building engineers had to determine a way to keep smoke from spreading beyond the fire level, the tornado is the resulting solution. The twister takes around seven minutes to materialize and is generated by 144 jets and 28 tons of air. The low pressure area at the center of the tornado works to create a jet stream that draws smoke out of the building's corridors and funnels it upwards and out an exhaust vent on the roof. Check the gallery for photos of a carbon dioxide infused tornado demonstration.
Check out the video of Mercedes' artificial tornado after the jump.
Stuttgart – The Mercedes-Benz Museum is now officially home to the "strongest artificially generated tornado in the world". The attempted record was confirmed in the presence of Guinness Book of Records representative Olaf Kuchenbecker. The 34.4-metre-high artificial tornado serves to eliminate smoke from the museum in the event of a fire.
"We are delighted that the Mercedes-Benz Museum is now also featured in the Guinness Book of Records," said Michael Bock, manager of Mercedes-Benz Museum GmbH. "By successfully achieving the world record as 'strongest artificially generated tornado in the world', the Mercedes-Benz Museum has once again underlined its outstanding position in the world of museums also in terms of architecture."
The architecture of the Mercedes-Benz Museum placed particular demands on construction planners, architects and engineers with regard to smoke elimination. The provisions of the approving authority and fire protection regulations require all areas outside the fire level to be smoke-free in the event of smoke emission. However, due to the open-plan structure of the Mercedes-Benz Museum, the various exhibition areas are connected to each other without any fire zones via an interior courtyard and ramps. From the perspective of smoke elimination this presented a challenging task that could not be implemented through conventional fluid mechanics.
It was necessary to take a new approach, and so a globally unique smoke elimination system was developed especially for the Mercedes-Benz Museum. In the event of fire, 144 outlets located along the core walls inject air into the interior courtyard of the Mercedes-Benz Museum. This generates an artificial tornado, and the smoke collected is then discharged into the outside air via a smoke elimination ventilator located in the upper part of the building.
This procedure uses the principle of the tornado force, which has a devastating effect under natural conditions, to create a controlled life-saving form of fluid mechanics that opens up new architectural possibilities.
The Mercedes-Benz Museum with its unique smoke elimination system was selected from among some 800 applications that are submitted each week to the Guinness Book of Records. With 110 million copies in circulation, the Guinness Book of Records has been one of the world's most successful reference works since the 1950s, and is now distributed in 20 languages and 100 countries. Since 2006, the German version of the Guinness Book of Records has been published by Bibliographisches Institut & F.A. Brockhaus AG.