Dubh Artach Lighthouse, Southwest of Mull on the Scottish West Coast was designed by Thomas Stevenson (father to the author Robert Louis), first ‘exhibited’ in 1872 and fully automated in 1971.
As part of the EPSRC STORMLAMP project, a team visited the lighthouse on 8th and 9th May 2017 to carry out a modal test. Alessandro Antonini took the modal test equipment by van from Plymouth University while James Bassitt and Karen Faulkner from the University of Exeter’s Vibration Engineering Section travelled via Glasgow Airport.
Dubh Artach helipad is just above sea level, so, as well as usual weather restrictions, helicopters (flying from the Trinity House depot in Oban) can only visit at low tide. Luckily, the weather was excellent, with zero cloud cover, perfect visibility and minimal wind.
Access to the lighthouse is via vertical steps and all equipment, including a 50 kg shaker, had to be hoisted to lantern level using a temporary crane.
The signal to noise ratio for forced vibration testing was perfect, providing extremely clear resolution of vibration modes, with the shaker mounted on the lantern level walkway, just visible in the photograph.
Conditions were also perfect for flying the survey drone, providing some stunning views:
After staying overnight on the lighthouse, the team returned to Oban, then to Exeter and Plymouth.