Longships lighthouse in Cornwall

Longships lighthouse in Cornwall

How have iconic lighthouses situated on precipitous reefs, survived for a century or more? Will they survive into the future?

To answer these questions the University of Plymouth has been conducting research into wave loading on rock lighthouses over the past few years. A pilot project on the Eddystone Lighthouse led to the multi-partner Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council funded STORMLAMP (STructural behaviour Of Rock Mounted Lighthouses At the Mercy of imPulsive waves) project.

The research team recently worked with the Filmbright video production company to produce a short film on the project to date. Context for the film was provided by the UK General Lighthouse Authorities, and the historic background to the lighthouses by the Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery historian. Academic partners were all filmed in their respective work environments, describing their contributions to the project. At the University of Plymouth the film crew were able to capture aspects of the physical modelling of lighthouses in the COAST Lab facilities. At the University of Exeter the modal testing and monitoring of the actual lighthouses were described, explaining the accelerations arising from wave impacts. At University College London details of the lighthouse construction were revealed, and it was demonstrated how data from Plymouth was being applied to numerical structural models.

The film, which was part funded by the Sustainable Earth Institute and the Marine Institute at the University of Plymouth, also features dramatic footage from the lighthouse deployments that require helicopter transit. The film plays to the strengths of the production company who work closely with higher education institutes to creatively communicate research and education activities.

Speaking about the STORMLAMP project, Professor Alison Raby says:

“As coastal engineers we understand something about wave transformation on more typical structures like breakwaters. But on these cylindrical structures there is a real lack of information and knowledge. What we needed to understand was the wave transformation on the rocky reefs around the lighthouse and the response of the structure itself to that wave loading. That had not been done before.”

Longships lighthouse in Cornwall

STORMLAMP – Structural behaviour Of Rock Mounted Lighthouses At the Mercy of imPulsive waves

STORMLAMP is characterising wave loading and structural performance of rock lighthouses, combining field measurements, laboratory studies and analytical and numerical investigations that will support management of lighthouses

Funder: EPSRC (2016–2020) | PI: Dr Alison Raby

Find out more about the STORMLAMP project
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