The three-year Doctoral Program in Structural Engineering and Geotechnics is the third level of the Italian University education system. It guarantees education in scientific research and provides necessary skills to carry out research activities, also at international level, and professional activities of high qualification with particular reference to topics related to Solid and Structural Mechanics and Geotechnics, foundations and soils included.
Topics of interest are related to fundamental and advanced researches on: constitutive aspects of traditional (masonry) and “innovative” materials (composites, nano-composites, bio-); structural dynamics; structural stability; geomechanics; applied research in the structural and geotechnical sectors with reference to soil protection, conservation and preservation of the historical heritage from seismic hazards, structural adaptation and energy saving.
In particular, this Doctorate Program consists of topics typical of Structural Mechanics, Structural Engineering, Geotechnics listed in the following detailed descriptions.
SOLIDS AND STRUCTURAL MECHANICS
The interest is focused in the scientific and teaching activities related to mechanics of solids, materials and structures. The scientific-disciplinary issues concern theoretical and experimental knowledge for the solution of problems related to the modelling of mechanical behavior (also when multi-physics couplings are present) of structures. The main focus is to structural systems in Civil Engineering, Architecture and other Engineering sectors or other applied sciences. The faced problems involve statics, dynamics, constitutive modelling of traditional and “innovative” materials, fracture mechanics, fatigue, structural stability, passive and active structural control, experimental mechanics as a verification tool for the adopted models. The methodologies employed are typical of the physical-mathematical modelling, computational mechanics, experimental mechanics, structural diagnostic and identification. Other topics involve structure-environment interactions, the mechanics of unconventional structures (independently on the observation and modelling scale), critical study of the historical development of the employed models for the structural interpretation of the historical and monumental heritage.
The interest is in the scientific and educational training on theories and techniques directed to both the conceptual design and design of new buildings/bridges (constructions in general) and the assessment and structural rehabilitation of existing ones. The scientific subject contents are: actions on structures, including seismic loading, the behaviour of structures depending on the type and morphology, materials, techniques and technologies, the interaction with the soil-foundation systems and with the environment, and the methodologies and strategies for operational and control activities; methods and tools for structural design according to a performance-based approach, construction and management of facilities; assessment of vulnerability, reliability, comfort, safety and durability; experimental testing, in situ-testing and monitoring of buildings/bridges/constructions; diagnosis, safety/structural/seismic assessment, numerical modelling and rehabilitation/retrofit strategies and techniques for existing buildings/bridges including ordinary constructions and historical monuments; structural architecture.
This interest is in the scientific and educational training related to principles, theories and analytical, computational and experimental methods for the physical-mechanical modelling of soils and rocks, including the evaluation of their behavior in boundary value problems, where those natural materials interact with typical civil engineering structures, under static and dynamic conditions. In particular, part of the research activity focuses on the experimental observation of the mechanical behavior of soils and rocks at the element level and on the related attempt to formulate non-linear constitutive relations for the modelling of their essential features. Such mathematical models need the development of specific numerical integration strategies for their implementation into numerical codes: this activity leads to further research activities that characterize the geotechnical sector. The numerical analysis of boundary value problems allows further research to be carried out with reference to specific geotechnical structures including foundations, underground constructions, excavations and retaining structures, tunnels, embankments or earth dams. This requires the detailed geotechnical characterization and aims at defining
an ideal geotechnical model of the involved soil or rock deposits. This latter activity can itself be approached in an academic prospective, as being central in the solution of any geotechnical problem. The outcomes of the applied research discussed above has direct impact on the design and construction techniques to be adopted in real civil engineering projects. Last, but not least in terms of relevance, there is a branch of geotechnical research aimed at analyzing multiscale problems related to environmental hazards. This includes the analysis of the stability of natural slopes, the seismic-related site response analysis and that of the occurrence of liquefaction phenomena, together with the man-induced environmental damages, like those related to polluted industrial sites.
The Doctoral Program in Structural and Geotechnical Engineering develops its relevant topics in Civil Engineering and Architecture. The themes may have wider declines to other sectors such as Industrial Engineering (e.g. mechanical, aerospace, naval) or the Mathematical Physics, being always characterized by the attention to the theoretical, experimental, computational and applicative aspects.
The Doctoral Program in Structural Engineering and Geotechnics is developed in two curricula:
a) Structural Engineering and Mechanics
b) Geotechnical Engineering
The research topics are several and characterized by rigorous and adequate detailed studies. Other than specific topics of the two curricula, interdisciplinary works are encouraged also in collaboration with other Institutions (Universities, public and private Authorities).
Moreover, thesis works considering transversal themes that can direct future Doctors not only in academic and research fields, but also towards high-level consulting qualified professional paths (e.g. Infrastructure, Transport, Cultural Heritage, Environment, Industry) are also favored.