The Ph.D. in Environmental and Hydraulic Engineering pertains to the Doctoral School in Civil Engineering and Architecture. It includes two curricula: one in Environmental Engineering and one in Hydraulic Engineering.
The Ph.D. is concerned with the training of high-profile professional and research figures in the fields of fluid mechanics, hydraulics, and environmental engineering, capable of associating the understanding of natural phenomena with the ability to abstract, through mathematical models, original quantitative representations aimed at the assessment of environmental and territorial impacts and the design of the most appropriate and innovative systems of environmental management, use and remediation.
In many disciplinary fields, physical-mathematical modeling has undergone significant developments in recent decades. The availability of new computational tools and techniques for acquiring environmental data has made it possible to address new engineering needs, for example, numerical simulations in fluid mechanics, hydraulics, and hydrology, the impact of climate change on catastrophic events such as flooding, as well as the protection of different environmental compartments from pollution. However, the creation of representative mathematical models of physical, chemical, biological, and ecological phenomena and processes, which goes hand in hand with the availability of computational means, requires multidisciplinary expertise, which is essential for understanding the complexity of natural phenomena and an indispensable basis for an estimation of the risk associated with the processes that insist on them and for consequent intervention decisions. This aspect is particularly relevant in Italy, where land instability and natural hazards are among the highest in the world. The theoretical and applied character of the Ph.D. finds full expression in the adaptation of design methodologies and construction processes of works to the modern requirements of environmental protection and the saving of renewable and nonrenewable resources. The Ph.D. in Environmental and Hydraulic Engineering thus differs from many others in the geological-environmental field in that it extends research activity from that on individual phenomena to that aimed at a quantitative approach on complex natural and environmental hydraulic systems, emerging from the integration of the following methodologies: (i) analysis and study of natural phenomena, with particular reference to the intensity and recurrence times of the most disastrous ones; (ii) definition of physical-mathematical models for the representation of natural phenomena; and (iii) realization of conceptual schemes and computational programs for the solution of the problems.
Within the curriculum in Hydraulic Engineering, the main research topics are:
fluid mechanics; turbulence dynamics; numerical hydraulics; hydraulics of distribution networks; maritime hydraulics; hydraulic construction; maritime construction; shoreline defense; hydrology; porous media; minimum viable runoff; two-phase flows; turbidity currents; mechanics of large fluid masses; hydroclimatology; stratified flows; atmospheric boundary layer; urban fluid mechanics; pollutant dispersion; bioengineering; arterial-venous circulation of blood; changing design criteria in hydraulics to reflect climate change.
Within the curriculum in Environmental Engineering, the main research topics are:
remediation of contaminated soils; mechanical characterization of waste materials; hydrogeological instability and slope instability; landslides and ground surface deformations; geotechnical aspects in soil defense; planning, forecasting, and management of flood events; remote sensing; forecasting and management of air pollution; recovery, reuse and recycling of waste materials; natural engineering techniques; wastewater treatment and reuse; treatment of primary and human consumption water; treatment and disposal of municipal and hazardous waste; protection of water resources from pollution.
The doctoral course lasts for three academic years and is divided into two phases. During the first year, basic preparation is completed through participation in courses, seminars, and conferences. The research topic to be developed is also defined and a tutor chosen from among the faculty of the College is designated. During the second and third years, research is developed under the supervision of the tutor.
The theses can be theoretical, numerical, and experimental.
For numerical theses, each tutor provides appropriate computational tools. For the conduct of experimental theses, the Hydraulics Laboratory, the Hydraulic Construction Laboratory, the Environmental Sanitary Engineering Laboratory, the Geophysics Laboratory, and the Applied Geology and Geotechnical Laboratory, which are attached to the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering (DICEA), are available to doctoral students. These laboratories are involved in numerous research projects contracted with the European Community, Research Institutions, Public Bodies, and industries.
The establishment of the professional figure of the Ph.D. in Environmental and Hydraulic Engineering, in addition to being a project of considerable cultural relevance for the Italian University, is of essential assistance to various territorial entities, such as the Civil Protection, the Basin Authority, the Provincial Soil Defense Services the National and Regional Agencies for Environmental Protection, State Technical Services, Water, Energy or Waste Management Companies, Research Institutions, private or public design companies, both in the design and planning phase of interventions and in the management phase of even the most critical situations.


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