Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Pilot study reveals storm response of offshore lighthouses

09.12.2015

The unseen responses of remote offshore lighthouse in the face of severe storms are revealed in a new study by Plymouth University.

A team from the School of Marine Science and Engineering considered historical and contemporary observations of the wave impact loading on rock lighthouses during storm conditions.


The Douglass Tower is on the Eddystone Reef off the coast of South West England.

Credit: Helen Nance/Plymouth University

They combined these with data obtained in a pilot study on the Eddystone Lighthouse during the winter of 2013/14, and found the motion of the tower was smaller than might have been suggested by anecdotal observations.

However, the waves still pose a threat with measurements showing they climbed up to 40 metres up the side of a structure not regarded among the most vulnerable lighthouses in the British Isles, let alone globally.

The study, published in the journal Maritime Engineering, was led by Dr Alison Raby, Associate Professor (Reader) in Coastal Engineering at Plymouth University.

She said: "There are about 20 masonry lighthouses around the UK that are exposed to wave action. Although mariners are making ever greater use of satellite-based navigation technologies, the General Lighthouse Authorities recognise the need to retain rock lighthouses as physical aids to navigation. However, there is concern about how well they would withstand the additional wave loading associated with predicted sea level rises and increased storminess."

To assess current impacts, Plymouth University technicians installed a range of measuring equipment on the Douglass tower, the fourth lighthouse sited on the Eddystone Reef (around 14 miles off the coast of Plymouth) and in situ since 1882.

These included remote-controlled video cameras to record the wave conditions around the structure, together with geophone systems to measure any structural response.

Lighthouse engineers working on two other structures off the South West coast - Wolf Rock and Bishop Rock - also provided reports of the visual and physical effects of the storm, much as engineers have done for centuries.

The equipment recorded 2,978 individual events between 20 December 2013 and 14 March 2014, with a maximum wind speed in excess of 100mph and waves spreading up the face at a maximum of 50 metres per second.

Vibration measurements from the geophones gave maximum velocities of 5.5mm/s and highest displacements of around 0.07mm.

A structural model of the tower, validated by these field data, has been used to assess its stability and confirms the tower is within the safe limits for the worst wave measured during these storms.

However, more work is needed to ensure the stability of other rock towers to even more dramatic wave impacts, and funds to extend this research have been sought.

Dr Raby adds: "People look at lighthouses and wonder how they can absorb such colossal wave impacts. It is possible the current Eddystone Lighthouse responds less than other lighthouses, but while the cylindrical base of the lighthouse may reduce the wave run-up, video data shows it does not prevent water from jetting up above 40 metres. In this case, designers have potentially learned from previous mistakes, but this is far from the most exposed rock lighthouse and the curious effect of the particular rocky outcrops will mean other lighthouse responses to wave impacts will be quite different."

The results of further tests using the COAST laboratory at Plymouth University and a computational study are currently being analysed, while more advanced equipment is being fitted to Eddystone and additional instruments are being deployed at the Longships Lighthouse off Land's End.

Dr Raby will also be presenting the research at the annual International Association of Lighthouse Authorities' Engineering meeting in Paris in April 2016.

Media Contact

Alan Williams
alan.williams@plymouth.ac.uk
44-175-258-8004

 @PlymUni

http://www.plymouth.ac.uk 

Alan Williams | EurekAlert!

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Colorado River's connection with the ocean was a punctuated affair
16.11.2017 | University of Oregon

nachricht Researchers create largest, longest multiphysics earthquake simulation to date
14.11.2017 | Gauss Centre for Supercomputing

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>