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Description of the research themes for the 36th cycle (2020-2023) of the PhD programme in Civil Engineering and Architecture

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5 scholarships (three years) are offered in the 36th cycle, here is a short description of the research themes. Applicants will be asked to select one or more themes during the oral colloquium.

Theme 1: Hydrodynamics of wind waves, swell and currents in shallow water areas

The interaction between wind generated waves, swell and currents is quite frequent in many natural environments, such as lakes and lagoons. In these areas there are often currents generated by tides, estuarine inlets, thermal and density effects, while sea and land breezes act cyclically generating waves. The aim of the planned activity is the experimental analysis of small scale phenomena to properly describe the mutual non-linear interaction of the variegate forcing terms.too large
The successful candidate will be expected to integrate insights from experiments with conceptual models, and will be part of a long-standing collaboration with the University of Granada (Spain) at the Andalusian Inter-University Institute for Earth System Research (IISTA-CEAMA), where a wave-tank, a wave flume and a wind-wave flume are available with the most advanced instrumentation, like 3D Particle Tracking Velocimetry, Stereo-PIV-PLIF, Laser 3D etc..

The PhD student, possibly in co-tutelle with the University of Granada, will be supervised by Sandro Longo and Luca Chiapponi. Some relevant publications of the group on this topic are available. See also a gallery of lab videos and activities.

Theme 2: The transmissibility of the architectural project: theoretical and applied research, historical criticism, didactics and dissemination tools

The research intends to explore the theme of the transmissibility of the architectural project through the investigation of the main contemporary theories in a historical critical key and applied methodologies as well as of the related dissemination tools with particular regard to the world of Open Access and excellent publishing. too large

The aim of the research is to investigate the relationship between the theory / practice of contemporary architectural design and its transmissibility through dissemination tools also in relation to the construction of the European Research Area (ERA), Open Access and of excellent publications.

La trasmissibilità del progetto di architettura: ricerca teorica e applicata, critica storica, didattica e strumenti di disseminazione

La ricerca intende approfondire il tema della trasmissibilità del progetto di architettura attraverso l’indagine delle principali teorie contemporanee in chiave storico critica e di metodologie applicate nonché dei relativi strumenti di disseminazione con particolare riguardo al mondo dell’Open Access e della pubblicistica di eccellenza. L’obiettivo della ricerca è quello di indagare il rapporto esistente tra la teoria / prassi del progetto di architettura contemporaneo e la sua trasmissibilità attraverso gli strumenti di disseminazione anche in rapporto alla costruzione dello spazio europeo della ricerca (ERA), dell’Open Access e della pubblicistica di eccellenza.

Keywords
Architectural design; Urban Design; Contemporary historical criticism; Open Access; E-learning; Dissemination; e-journal; Blended/flexible learning;

Research network
Supervisor: Enrico Prandi and Uwe Schroeder, RWTH Aachen - Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule, Visiting Professor UniPR 2020-21. For further details, please contact Enrico Prandi.

Theme 3: Numerical modelling to support aquifer management concerning climate change and socio-economic future scenarios

The numerical models of aquifers have reached high levels of completeness and reliability. They are used to predict the effects of increased quantities of water extraction, or, conversely, of reduced withdrawals caused by an industrial reconversion or economic contraction; nowadays, the prevention of aquifer contamination and the remediation actions cannot be performed without the numerical modelling of aquifers. Even the effects of climate change, together with changes in the socio-economic context, can cause significant modifications in the state of groundwater aquifers, endangering the availability of good quality water that is normally extracted from them. However, models, made by   specialized software packages are complex to set up, have extensive data requirements, take long time to run, and require specialized personnel to perform the simulations and analyse the results.
In the decision-making operations carried out by the stakeholders it is, instead, necessary to hypothesize a large number of scenarios of use of the aquifer; thus, tools capable of giving a rapid response and which can also be used by personnel of a not particularly high technical level are required.
For these reasons, surrogate models (also known as meta-models or smart models) are emerging as a valid alternative. They are developed with a simplified conceptual approach that, with appropriate training procedures, can provide useful results for specific tasks. Meta-models typology spans from a drastic schematization of the physical processes involved in groundwater to machine-learning-based models. In particular, artificial intelligence models are greatly appreciated for their capability of including, among the usual climatic variables, also socio-economic forcing patterns.
The research in this theme will deal with the analysis of the State of the art of meta-models, the implementation of the most promising ones and their application to case studies involving future modifications of agricultural, industrial and urban patterns and different climate change scenarios. In particular, the knowledge and the comprehension of the projections of climate change evaluation models released by the international Research Centers, approved by IPCC, will be specially deepened.

The work will develop inside an international research team involving seven countries in the Mediterranean area under the project InTheMed (PRIMA, joint programme in the frame of Euro-Mediterranean cooperation). The PhD student will be integrated in the groundwater research team  of the Department of Engineering and Architecture of the University of Parma (Professors Maria Giovanna Tanda, Andrea Zanini, Marco D’Oria); for further information, please contact  Maria Giovanna Tanda.

Modellazione numerica a supporto della gestione degli acquiferi in relazione ai cambiamenti climatici ed a futuri scenari socio-economici

I modelli numerici delle falde acquifere hanno raggiunto elevati livelli di completezza e affidabilità. Essi sono utilizzati per prevedere gli effetti di maggiori prelievi idrici o, al contrario, di riduzioni dei prelievi causati da una riconversione industriale o da una contrazione economica; al momento attuale, la prevenzione della contaminazione delle falde acquifere e le operazioni di bonifica non possono essere eseguite senza l’aiuto della modellazione numerica delle falde acquifere. Anche gli effetti dei cambiamenti climatici, insieme ai cambiamenti nel contesto socio-economico, possono causare modifiche significative nello stato quantitativo e qualitativo delle falde acquifere sotterranee, mettendo in pericolo la disponibilità di acqua di buona qualità normalmente estratta da esse. Tuttavia, i modelli, realizzati con pacchetti software specializzati, sono complessi da configurare, hanno necessità di estese banche dati, richiedono molto tempo per essere eseguiti e personale specializzato per eseguire le simulazioni e analizzare i risultati.
Nelle operazioni decisionali svolte dagli stakeholder è, invece, necessario analizzare un gran numero di scenari di utilizzo della falda acquifera, richiedendo quindi strumenti in grado di dare una risposta rapida e che possano essere utilizzati anche da personale di non particolarmente elevato livello tecnico.
Per questi motivi, i modelli surrogati (noti anche come meta-modelli o smart-models) stanno emergendo come valida alternativa. Essi sono sviluppati con un approccio concettuale semplificato che, con adeguate procedure di addestramento, possono fornire risultati utili per compiti specifici. I meta-modelli hanno differenti caratteristiche che spaziano da una drastica schematizzazione dei processi fisici coinvolti nel moto delle acque sotterranee a modelli basati sul machine-learning. In particolare, i modelli di intelligenza artificiale sono molto apprezzati per la loro capacità di includere facilmente, tra le usuali variabili climatiche, anche forzanti di natura socio-economica.
La ricerca su questo tema affronterà l'analisi dello stato dell'arte dei meta-modelli, l'implementazione di alcuni tra i più promettenti e la loro applicazione per studiare casi che comportano future modifiche degli assetti agricoli, industriali e urbani e diversi scenari di cambiamento climatico. A tale proposito, la conoscenza e la comprensione delle proiezioni dei modelli di cambiamento climatico rilasciati dai centri di ricerca internazionali, approvati dall'IPCC, saranno approfondite in modo particolare.

Il lavoro si svilupperà all'interno di un gruppo di ricerca internazionale che coinvolge sette paesi dell'area Mediterranea nell'ambito del progetto InTheMed (PRIMA, programma congiunto nell'ambito della cooperazione euromediterranea). Il Dottorando sarà integrato nel gruppo di ricerca sulle acque sotterranee del Dipartimento di Ingegneria e Architettura dell’Università di Parma (proff. Maria Giovanna Tanda, Andrea Zanini, Marco D’Oria); per ulteriori informazioni si prega di contattare la prof.ssa Maria Giovanna Tanda.

 

Theme 4: Co-registration techniques and change detection in multi-temporal imagery

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) represent an invaluable tool to collect high resolution multi-temporal 3D and spectral information. The navigation capabilities and the limited operating costs allow widening existing research fields and application as well as opening new ones. Increasing the automation of the data processing pipeline, from acquisition to data interpretation is necessary, the more UAVs are used to monitor changes, to extract relevant information from large amounts of data.
The successful candidate is expected to master photogrammetric data processing of drone imagery and will first investigate improved block georeferencing and co-registration techniques for multi-temporal surveys.  Then he will experiment change detection methods, including advanced machine learning for data classification and pattern recognition, applied to both 3D and imagery information layers.

The PhD student will be supervised by Riccardo Roncella and will cooperate actively within the framework of a long-standing collaboration with the regional agencies ARPA Valle d’Aosta and the University of Newcastle, Australia.

Theme 5: Soft matter, including polymers, biomaterials, advances multifunctional materials (responsive materials, liquid crystal elastomers, etc.), AM materials

The topic covers the mechanics and physics of solids undergoing finite deformation, with emphasis on fracture resistance, resistance to cutting, damage tolerance, structural integrity, and functional-based design. In particular, different polymeric materials are studied with relevant applications in engineering and related areas (biomaterial phantom, tissue scaffolding, smart materials, food stuff, surgical simulation, etc.).
The successful candidate will focus on physical-mechanical models for the simulation of mechanical response and of manufacturing processes of the above-mentioned class of materials. He/she will have the opportunity to be involved in a lively international network. A specific participation of the candidate in an ongoing European H2020 project (Structural Integrity and Reliability of Advanced Materials obtained through additive Manufacturing, SIRAMM, H2020-WIDESPREAD-2018, grant agreement No 857124, www.siramm.unipr.it), for which exchange periods with other European countries are planned, is envisaged.

For details, please contact Andrea Spagnoli.

Theme 6: Non-Newtonian fluids flows in fractures and porous media

Non-Newtonian fluids with complex rheological behavior are often encountered in industrial and environmental flows, often in porous matrix and fractures. Progress in the in-depth knowledge of the process requires experimental work with advanced devices, with physical models that reproduce the complexities of real conditions.
The successful candidate is motivated to investigate these complexities with the use of the most advanced technology in rheometry, available in the Rheology and Rheometry Laboratory of the Department of Civil Engineering and Architecture, like MCR 702 MultiDrive from Anton Paar, with Rheo-microscopy setup.

The PhD student will be supervised by Sandro Longo and Luca Chiapponi. Some relevant publications of the group on this topic are available. See also a gallery of lab videos and activities.

Theme 7: Cultural Heritage - Restoration, strengthening intervention and stability analysis of historical structures

Historical masonry building analysis constitutes a relevant issue in the field of architectural conservation, both in terms of their stability analysis and in setting up an efficient and reliable strengthening intervention strategy. The issue is even more complicated if we consider that, especially in Italy, these structures are affected by a high seismic risk. The research of restoration and strengthening of monuments is the challenge of this doctoral theme, by deepening their historic-constructive study, starting from their damage and from their crack pattern, as well as from their constructive and architectural features. A successful candidate should have good degree qualifications at master level (Architecture), and a basic knowledge of historical constructive types. (S)he should be able to demonstrate knowledge in the field of Restoration as well as in basic Statics. (S)he should have good written and spoken English. With a strongly interdisciplinary approach, (s)he must be prepared to conduct theoretic and historical research as well as modeling.

For further information, please contact Federica Ottoni.

Restauro, interventi di consolidamento e analisi della stabilità di fabbriche storiche

Le fabbriche storiche in muratura pongono interessanti questioni di ricerca, dal punto di vista dell’analisi della loro stabilità finalizzata alla messa a punto di efficaci e compatibili interventi di consolidamento. La questione è ancora più complicata se si considera che, specialmente in Italia, tali strutture sono soggette a elevato rischio sismico. La ricerca di soluzioni di consolidamento e restauro di queste interessanti strutture è la sfida da affrontare per la loro conservazione in questo tema di dottorato, approfondendone lo studio storico-costruttivo, a partire dall’analisi del quadro fessurativo e delle tecniche costruttive storiche, per proseguire con la definizione di opportune strategie di consolidamento. Un possibile candidato deve essere in possesso di un titolo di Laurea (magistrale) in Architettura (con una buona votazione) e deve avere una conoscenza abbastanza approfondita dei caratteri costruttivi degli edifici storici, delle teorie del Restauro oltre che dei principi base della statica. È richiesta una buona conoscenza della lingua inglese, sia parlata che scritta. Dato l’approccio interdisciplinare implicito in ogni ricercar di restauro, deve essere preparato per condurre una ricerca teorica e storica, che prevede anche la produzione di modelli geometrici.

Per ulteriori informazioni, contattare Federica Ottoni.

Theme 8: Design and performances evaluations of a resilient "green" pavement

The changes in the climate conditions and the related changes of weather actions require a pavement structure able either to keep the proper service conditions in unfavorable conditions and to mitigate the effects of extreme climate events. These objectives require actions on the design approach and actions on the materials selection and on the materials design. From the material side, specific attention will be on the use of recycled and reused materials to bring the concept of resilient pavement in the framework of circular economy.
The aim of the planned activity is design of an innovative pavement structure and a laboratory activity to validate his efficiency and his efficacy from both points of view: pavement performances and material performances. The project will be cooperation with the Center for Infrastructure Resilience to Climate of University of New Hampshire. The successful candidate has attitude to experimental work in laboratory as well as attitude to numerical modeling. A good level of English is required.

The PhD student will be in cotutelle with the University of New Hampshire and he will be supervised by Antonio Montepara and Gabriele Tebaldi .

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Pubblicato Thursday, 21 May, 2020 - 12:15 | ultima modifica Tuesday, 30 June, 2020 - 17:56