Description of the research topics for the 38th cycle (2022-2025)
For the topics 15-16-17-18 PNRR funded click here!
Here is a short description of the proposed research topics. Applicants will be asked to select one or more topics during the oral colloquium.
Topic 1: Gravity currents in geologic media aiming to CO2 structural trapping
Contact: Sandro Longo
The study of gravity current (GC) dynamics in geologic media is motivated by CO2 sequestration, CO2-enhanced geothermal systems, hydrogen storage, contaminant migration, seawater intrusion, and mud invasion from drilling. GCs develop in both fractured and porous media; in existing formulations, there are one or more complicating factors that add realism to the domain description. However, the effect of macro-heterogeneities on the propagation of gravity current flow is far from being clarified and is a first knowledge gap to be addressed. In addition, many fluids in subsurface applications exhibit strongly non-Newtonian rheology; this poses additional challenges to effective modeling.
The doctoral research project aims to provide experimental validation of existing theoretical schemes for advancing Newtonian GCs when different loss mechanisms are present. A second goal is to apply a time-independent rheological model other than the power law to evaluate the impact of a more realistic non-Newtonian rheology. The project aims to study two possible configurations for GCs in porous or fractured media:
1) GC subject to losses from the substrate and edges;
2) GC produced by localized injection and subject to localized leakage.
These main scenarios incorporate several variations related to fluid rheology. To achieve these objectives, project activities will be divided into:
(a) Experimental modeling and rheometry, focusing on two prototype laboratory experiments and related rheometric measurements;
b) Theoretical modeling, based on the synergy between numerical and analytical methods and with emphasis on the prediction of the time scales associated with CO2 trapping.
Professor Sandro Longo and Prof. Luca Chiapponi will supervise the PhD candidate. Visit the List of publications of the research group and the Gallery for retrieving past experimental activities on this topic.
Topic 2: Conservazione programmata di grandi fabbriche storiche cupolate (tematica vincolata ex DM 351/2022 art. 9)
Contact: Federica Ottoni
Le cupole storiche in muratura pongono interessanti questioni di ricerca, dal punto di vista dell’analisi 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, approfondendo lo studio storico-costruttivo di alcune grandi fabbriche cupolate (tra le quali la cupola di Santa Maria del Fiore a Firenze), a partire dall’analisi del quadro fessurativo rilevato e delle tecniche costruttive storiche per proseguire con la definizione di opportune strategie di consolidamento. Obiettivo finale è la definizione di un piano di conservazione programmata della cupola di Santa Maria del Fiore attraverso strumenti digitali (H-BIM) per lo studio del comportamento e la programmazione degli interventi.
Un possibile candidato deve essere in possesso di un titolo di Laurea (magistrale) in Architettura o Ingegneria edile (con una buona votazione) e deve avere una conoscenza 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 ricerca di restauro, deve essere preparato per condurre una ricerca teorica e storica, che prevede anche la produzione di modelli geometrici. Deve anche essere in grado di lavorare in Gruppo, data la possibile cooperazione con altri enti e competenze (Opera del Duomo di Firenze).
Per ulteriori informazioni, contattare Federica Ottoni.
Restoration, strengthening intervention and stability analysis of great domed historical structures
Great historical masonry dome 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 huge structures are affected by a high seismic risk.
The research of restoration and strengthening of these interesting structures is the challenge of this doctoral theme, by deepening the historic-constructive study of some great domed structures (including Santa Maria del Fiore dome, in Florence) starting from their damage and from the surveyed crack pattern, as well as from their constructive and architectural features. The final aim is the definition of a planned conservation plan of the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore through digital instrument (H-BIM) able to study the behavior of the dome and to plan interventions.
A successful candidate should have good degree qualifications at master level (Architecture or Civil Engineering), 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, and to carry out research as part of a team, with possible cooperation with Opera del Duomo (Florence).
For further information, please contact Federica Ottoni.
Topic 3: La digitalizzazione della filiera edilizia: il ruolo del BIM per la gestione dell’intervento sul costruito storico e contemporaneo
Contact: Chiara Vernizzi
È ormai noto e consolidato il ruolo del BIM nella gestione del progetto di architetture di nuova realizzazione, così come il suo utilizzo nella declinazione legata al costruito storico, come strumento di definizione e controllo degli aspetti geometrico-dimensionali e informativi derivanti da attività di rilievo integrato.
Proprio in questa dimensione, resta però molto da esplorare soprattutto nella implementazione e gestione degli aspetti informativi legati ai materiali esistenti, ma anche nella organizzazione di una serie di informazioni legate al ciclo di vita, fisico e funzionale, dell’edificio, che comprenda passato, presente e futuro, nell’ottica di definire e implementare molteplici aspetti di funzionalità del processo BIM applicato al costruito.
In questa logica, il tema di ricerca proposto intende partire degli esiti del progetto POR-FESR 2014-2020 (ASSE 1 Ricerca e Innovazione) eBIM: existing Building Information Modeling per la gestione dell’intervento sul costruito conclusosi nel febbraio 2022, individuando uno o più casi studio sui quali sperimentare nuovi tools funzionali volti non solo a definire il processo BIM come strumento ottimale per la gestione dell’intervento fisico sul costruito, ma anche e soprattutto come strumento di ottimizzazione e sistematizzazione degli aspetti conoscitivi complessivi e di gestione dell’edificio intesa non solo in ottica manutentiva ma soprattutto di valorizzazione funzionale, esplorando gli aspetti di visualizzazione e rappresentazione dei diversi tematismi trattati.
Ai/alle candidati/e è richiesta la conoscenza dei contenuti disciplinari e normativi relativi al BIM nonché di saper utilizzare in modo almeno un software BIM.
L’attività del/della candidato/a sarà coordinata dalla prof.ssa Chiara Vernizzi cui è possibile rivolgersi per avere ulteriori informazioni.
The digitalization of the building sector: the role of BIM for the management of interventions on historical and contemporary buildings
The role of BIM in the project management of new buildings is now well known and consolidated, as well as its use in the declination related to the historical building, as a tool for the definition and control of geometric-dimensional and informative aspects deriving from integrated survey activities.
It is precisely in this dimension, however, that much remains to be explored, especially in the implementation and management of information aspects linked to existing materials, but also in the organization of a lot of information linked to the physical and functional life cycle of the building, including past, present and future, with a view to defining and implementing multiple aspects of functionality of the BIM process applied to the built environment.
In this logic, the proposed research topic intends to start from the outcomes of the POR-FESR 2014-2020 project (ASSE 1 Research and Innovation) eBIM: existing Building Information Modeling for the management of the intervention on the built environment, ended in February 2022, identifying one or more case studies on which to test new functional tools aimed not only at defining the BIM process as an optimal tool for the management of the physical intervention on the built environment, but also and above all as a tool for optimizing and systematizing the overall cognitive and building management aspects, not only from a maintenance perspective but above all from a functional enhancement perspective, exploring the visualization and representation aspects of the various themes dealt with.
Candidates are required to have knowledge of the disciplinary and regulatory contents related to BIM and to be able to use at least one BIM software. The candidate's activity will be coordinated by Prof. Chiara Vernizzi , who can be contacted for further information.
Topic 4: Approfondimenti numerici e sperimentali di fenomeni di allagamento in ambiente rurale e urbano
Contact: Paolo Mignosa
La modellazione matematica della propagazione delle piene e della dinamica degli allagamenti, sia in ambiente rurale che urbano, viene normalmente affrontata tramite codici di calcolo che risolvono, in varie forme, le equazioni differenziali alle derivate parziali non lineari note come equazioni alle acque basse, sia nella formulazione 1D che 2D. Tuttavia, in certe situazioni, alcune ipotesi alla base delle equazioni, ed in particolare la distribuzione idrostatica delle pressioni sulla verticale e le piccole pendenze dell’alveo (o della valle) in cui si propaga l’allagamento, possono essere piuttosto lontane dalla realtà. Rientrano in questi casi, tra gli altri, le inondazioni che si possono sviluppare in valli alpine conseguenti a cedimenti di dighe, e quelle indotte dalla rottura di argini in corsi d’acqua di pianura, perlomeno nella zona in prossimità della rotta. In questi casi, una modellazione 3D con approcci euleriani o lagrangiani (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NK2T_ICe8v8) sarebbe preferibile, ma l’onere computazionale risulterebbe proibitivo (anche con modelli paralleli implementati su GPU) se si considera che le aree inondabili sono dell’ordine delle centinaia di km2 e le profondità idriche dell’ordine della decina di metri. In questi casi, l’uso di modelli non idrostatici è un modo efficiente e utile di affrontare il problema ad un costo computazionale molto minore rispetto a quello richiesto da modelli completamente 3D. Un altro aspetto connesso con questi fenomeni di inondazione catastrofici è la possibile distruzione di edifici e di infrastrutture (ponti, strade, ecc.) che la corrente incontra nella sua propagazione. Molto spesso ci si limita a valutare delle grandezze idrodinamiche, tipicamente combinazione di profondità e velocità, che possono dare indicazioni sulla stabilità di questi elementi strutturali, senza rimuoverli realmente dal dominio di calcolo. Una modifica dinamica della griglia di calcolo, che tenga conto della rimozione di questi elementi strutturali, porterebbe invece a risultati più realistici.
La ricerca si pone quindi l’obiettivo di approfondire queste tematiche, sia dal punto di vista numerico, implementando nel codice di calcolo PARFLOOD sviluppato dall’Università di Parma, sia dal punto di vista sperimentale, riproducendo in laboratorio alcuni casi di riferimento che verranno poi simulati numericamente per validare il modello. Ai/alle candidati/e sono richieste le conoscenze di base della teoria dei moti non stazionari a superficie libera ed una disponibilità ad acquisire competenze di utilizzo/ sviluppo di codici di calcolo. Il Professor Paolo Mignosa e l’Ing. Alessia Ferrari fungeranno da supervisore e co-supervisore del candidato. Alcune informazioni sulle attività del Gruppo di Ricerca sono reperibili al sito www.hylab.com
Numerical and experimental investigation of flooding phenomena in rural and urban areas
The mathematical modelling of flood propagation in rural and urban areas is typically carried out using numerical codes that solve with different approaches the so-called Shallow Water Equations (SWE), i.e. a set of 1D or 2D non-linear partial differential equations. However, some of the assumptions used to derive these equations, such as the hydrostatic pressure distribution and a small channel (or valley) slope, may be in some cases far from reality: e.g. when floods generated by dam failures propagate in Alpine valleys, and near a river levee breach in lowlands. In these cases, a 3D modelling based on Eulerian or Lagrangian approaches (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NK2T_ICe8v8) would be best suited, but the computational costs of these schemes would be prohibitive (even for models parallelized on GPUs), since the flooded areas are usually very large (> 100 km2) and water depths higher than tens of meters. Therefore, non-hydrostatic models manage to simulate these phenomena avoiding the high runtimes required by fully 3D models. A further issue related to these catastrophic events is that buildings and infrastructures may collapse during the flood propagation. Hydrodynamic quantities obtained by combining water depth and velocity values are usually evaluated to verify the stability of these structural elements, while keeping them in the computational domain. However, the dynamic removal of these structural elements from the computational grid would lead to more realistic results.
The research aims at investigating these phenomena from both a numerical and an experimental point of view, by implementing new features in the PARFLOOD code, which is a parallel 2D model developed at the University of Parma, and carrying out laboratory benchmarks useful to validate the numerical model. Candidates are required to have basic knowledge of the theory of free surface unsteady flow and a willingness to acquire skills in the use / development of numerical models Professor Paolo Mignosa and Eng. Alessia Ferrari will supervise and co-supervise the PhD candidate. Some information on the activities of the Research Group can be found at www.hylab.com
Topic 5: The maintenance of RC existing structures and infrastructures: on the study of the durability of reactive and proactive interventions of repairing
Contact: Beatrice Belletti
The ageing of Reinforced Concrete (RC) and Prestressed Concrete (PC) structures and infrastructures, coupled with insufficient maintenance and the rapid urbanization are increasing the vulnerability of public buildings, motorway and rail network, multi-service facilities, etc. Furthermore, climate changes are increasing, in terms of frequency and magnitude, environmental attack that induces corrosion damage. The maintenance of existing structures and infrastructures deals with the extension of the residual service life of infrastructure. The topic of the theme is contextualised in the framework of the sustainable development goals planned in the Agenda 2030 for sustainable development. The studies carried out in this project deal to ensure a sustainable development of our society by focusing in mitigating the effects of climate actions and ageing in existing structures and infrastructures.
The optimisation of maintenance’s strategies, in terms of durability of repairing and retrofitting interventions, will be achieved by numerical and experimental studies to contribute to decision-making processes. The doctoral research project aims to develop experimental test on corroded RC and PC members. Naturally corroded and artificially corroded members will be analysed both by experimental and numerical analyses.
Professor Beatrice Belletti will supervise the PhD candidate.
Topic 6: Fracture model of elastomeric multilayers and simulation of failure in tyres
Contact: Francesco Freddi
Accurate models to predict the mechanical behaviours of materials are in highly demand nowadays. Indeed, new high-performance industrial components have to be efficiently engineered and tested at different length scales, and the use of models capable of accurately describing their mechanical properties beyond the elastic stage can significantly enhance the design process and help in conceiving novel products with improved performance and reduced costs. In the industrial field of pneumatic tyres, the design and testing of the whole tyre structure presents significant challenges due to the lack of models capable of matching all aspects of the mechanical response, with few theories addressing very specific aspects. This deficiency is due either to the complex rheological behaviour of filled rubber, and to the complex geometry of a tyre, made of several elastomeric compounds packed in a multilayer structure.
Complexity is exacerbated by the necessity to reproduce failure phenomena, which, in fact, are extremely varied due to the heterogeneity of the structure and nonlinear physical properties of the materials. Within this framework, the present project aims at developing predictive numerical tool capable of describing the failure mechanisms observed in tyres under conditions of exceptional loading or fatigue. Its numerical implementation would represent an important step towards the design of a digital tyre twin, enabling virtual testing and simplifying the design process by allowing numerical optimization of the tyre structure, potentially leading to performance improvement as well as ecological benefits including better sustainability of the production process.
Topic 8: Indoor and urban air quality
Contact: Sandro Longo
In order to improve the operational aspects in indoor air quality (AIQ) and urban air quality (UAQ), studies on physical, numerical and coupled models are needed to reproduce the salient features of the boundary layers, the thermal stratifications with their gradients, in order to evaluate the effectiveness of innovative design proposals.
The PhD student shall examine the role of ventilation on the distribution of airborne contaminants in a space. The primary purpose of building ventilation is to provide fresh air for breathing and to remove unwanted heat and contaminants from a space. In winter, there is little unwanted heat and the main requirement is to provide fresh air - the recommended rate is 10 liters per second per person. In summer, this flow is not sufficient to remove the heat generated within a space by occupants, equipment, and solar gains, and higher ventilation rates or mechanical cooling are often employed, particularly in modern buildings. The optimization of the solutions requires an analysis of the internal geometry of the places, the arrangement of ventilation equipment, with detailed models to ensure an optimal level of efficiency of cooling / heating in the presence of air exchange.
Professor Sandro Longo and Prof. Luca Chiapponi will supervise the PhD candidate. Visit the List of publications of the research group and the Gallery for retrieving past experimental activities on this topic
Topic 7: Nuove tipologie architettoniche di servizio pubblico in ambito socio-sanitario nella definizione delle centralità urbane periferiche
Contact: Carlo Quintelli
Caratteristica della ricerca: interdisciplinare ma con SSD ICAR / 14 Progettazione architettonica e urbana prevalente, particolarmente idonea per candidati architetti con laurea magistrale e orientati all’esperienza della progettazione sperimentale.
Parole chiave: città, tipologia architettonica, comunità, salute, servizi sociali, rigenerazione urbana.
L’epidemia di SARS-CoV-2, ha messo in crisi le ordinarie strutture sociali, economiche e culturali della popolazione ma ha fatto emergere l’esigenza di nuovi modelli di spazi ed attrezzature urbane di servizi. Si tratta di individuare tipologie innovative basate sulla sinergia prestazionale di funzioni pubbliche, oggi spesso autonome all’interno del tessuto urbano.
Le “Case della Salute” o “di Comunità” rappresentano già oggi una prima risposta in tal senso anche se ancora non configurata in termini di distribuzione urbana alla scala di quartiere secondo criteri di prossimità, di articolazione tipologica capace di garantire il massimo grado di efficienza prestazionale, Il problema da affrontare riguarda l’estensione delle dotazioni che caratterizzano un luogo dei servizi pubblici non solo sanitari ma anche per l’assistenza agli anziani e ai disabili, per i giovani e le donne, per l’integrazione e l’inclusione alla scala del quartiere.
La ricerca ha quindi l’obiettivo di prefigurare sul piano della concezione ma anche della fattibilità tecnica un modello architettonico avanzato di Casa della Salute di seconda generazione, punto cospicuo e ad alto grado di riconoscibilità e rappresentatività all’interno del quartiere urbano quale punto di forza nella caratterizzazione dei processi di rigenerazione alla scala urbana e territoriale.
La sperimentazione dei prototipi tipologici è funzionale a un nuovo quadro di organizzazione dei servizi urbani, da realizzarsi attraverso la massa critica abitativa e la rete relazionale del quartiere inteso come macro-unità comunitaria (spaziale, costruita, sociale, identitaria).
New architectural typologies of public service in the social-health sector in the definition of peripheral urban centralities
Research feature: interdisciplinary but with prevailing SSD ICAR / 14 architectural and urban design, particularly suitable for architect candidates with a master's degree and oriented to the experience of experimental design.
Keywords: city, architectural typology, community, health, social services, urban regeneration.
The SARS-CoV-2 epidemic has put the ordinary social, economic and cultural structures of the population in crisis but has brought out the need for new models of spaces and urban service equipment. It is a question of identifying innovative types based on the performance synergy of public functions, today often autonomous within the urban fabric.
The "Homes of Health" or "Community" already represent a first response in this sense even if not yet configured in terms of urban distribution at the neighborhood scale according to criteria of proximity, typological articulation capable of guaranteeing the maximum degree of efficiency performance.
The problem to be addressed concerns the extension of the facilities that characterize a place of public services, not only for health but also for assistance to the elderly and disabled, for young people and women, for integration and inclusion in neighborhood scale.
The research therefore has the objective of prefiguring an advanced architectural model of the second generation "Homes of Health" in terms of conception but also of technical feasibility, a conspicuous point with a high degree of recognition and representativeness within the urban district as a strong point in the characterization of regeneration processes at the urban and territorial scale.
The experimentation of typological prototypes is functional to a new organizational framework of urban services, to be realized through the housing critical mass and the relational network of the neighborhood understood as a community macro-unit (spatial, built, social, identity).
Topic 9: Sustainable urban mobility: Designing high-quality streets and urban pavements for vulnerable users
Contact: Felice Giuliani
The design of the urban transportation network has recently seen a mind shift from a car-oriented vision towards the complete-street paradigm, which encompasses many approaches to re-organized and re-thought the whole public space to include access, safety and mobility for all users. This new approach merges with the policies and projects promoted at national and international level based on sustainable mobility aimed to decarbonize the transport sector and discourage the private car use, enhancing at the same time alternative mode of everyday transport (walking, cycling, micro mobility). In order to achieve a real development of complete-street and sustainable mobility, it is necessary on the one hand to favor the diffusion of the right technologies and on the other hand to design resilient and inclusive infrastructures as high-quality and uninterrupted networks fitting as closely as possible the criteria of safety, directness, comfort, coherence and attractiveness.
The doctoral research project aims to follow this urban transformation, approaching the challenge from a technical-engineering point of view for the definition of essential requirements in the street design. The core of the PhD program will be the interaction between the infrastructure and the user, according to the universal design principle for making the urban environment accessible and safe to all people, regardless of age and of different physical, motor and perceptual abilities. Thus, special attention will be paid to the design and maintenance of paths and routes mainly intended for active mobility and vulnerable users, introducing a decision process based on functional, aesthetic and economic requirements. The main analyzed topic will be:
- geometric and functional characteristics of streets, dedicated lanes and sidewalks;
- pavement surface materials and construction techniques;
- new generation technologies developed to stimulate specific sensory abilities and skills for increasing the vulnerable users’ comfort and safety (e.g. photoluminescent pavements; tactile guide paths, etc…);
- tools for a systematic draft of urban pavement management systems.
Topic 10: Cultural heritage and climate change: thermal resilience digitally investigation in historical context
Contact: Barbara Gherri
Climate change increases the risk of generating localized and large scale changes leading to degradation of the ecosystem and people’s health, as well as Cultural Heritage. Literature establishes the need to address both mitigation and adaptation to climate change. As mitigation encompasses measures and activities aimed at reducing GHG emissions or enhancing the sinks of such gases, adaptation refers to any adjustments in a system in response to the actual or projected climatic scenarios, including actions targeting Decarbonization, Human Health and Ecosystem Health. In the field of Cultural Heritage, mitigation has traditionally been given more attention in climate change research than adaptation, neglecting the thermal resilience potentialities of historical settlements.
Most of the Italian Cultural heritage, since the pre-modern era, is built in the respect of the so-called genius loci, also known as the unique atmosphere of a place, the location's distinctive impression, that conserves the richness of a place. Since the very spirit of a place is deeply related to the technological and constructive knowledge-, Climate Change adaptation measures should be based on the knowledge of the local construction patterns, local microclimates, and their relationship with the formal features of the buildings. Despite several enhancements in the understanding of the relationship between climate change impacts and cultural heritage, there are significant barriers that hamper the adaptation of cultural heritage to current and projected climate risks. The need to assess simultaneously and bridge the indoor and urban outdoor performance in cultural heritage is still neglected, despite the diffusion of several algorithms and tools (i.e., Envi-met and Ladybug Tool) that digitally investigate and simulate local conditions and predict the effects of design on thermal resilience for new constructions. .
The proposed research aims at identifying the thermal resilience potential of some archetypal traditional buildings with specific attention to historical transitional spaces, such as courtyard buildings, cloisters, and semi-enclosed spaces in responding to the harsh effects of climate change in the dense urban fabric. The PhD student will focus on climate change effects on cultural heritage via a digital approach and a numerical assessment to foresee future scenario impacts and inform conservation strategies, heritage management and local policy. The research attempts to showcase outdoor and indoor’ interconnectedness in the case of cultural heritage buildings and explain how this can be digitally supported to foster adaptation in the historical and dense cities.
Professor Barbara Gherri will supervise the PhD candidate research.
Topic 11: Geotechnical Seismic Isolation based on polyurethane injections into the soil
Contact: Lorella Montrasio
The existing techniques for reducing the seismic risk mainly concern interventions on structures, aimed at increasing their local or global resistance to seismic or reducing the accelerations acting on them following an earthquake, increasing the structure’s period, with sliding isolators or by absorbing seismic energy, with hysteretic isolators.
Geotechnical techniques for seismic risk mitigation have been recently named Geotechnical Seismic Isolation (GSI), including all the soil interventions aimed at reducing the seismic accelerations on structures that provide indirect protection. GSI techniques can be classified into interventions realised between the foundation and the soil (interface techniques) and interventions realised directly into the soil (field techniques). The field techniques, consisting in modifying the dynamic soil properties, are much less studied. One of them is represented by the use of polyurethane, included into the foundation soil, injectable underneath existing buildings. Thanks to its applicative technology, polyurethane injections do not interfere with structures themselves, so allowing to preserve the original aesthetic of buildings (important aspect for the historical heritage).
The research project aims at advancing knowledge on GSI based on polyurethane injections. First, a methodology to reproduce polyurethane injections in the soil at laboratory scale will be developed. According to literature, when injected into the soil, polyurethane interacts in a different way giving rise to soil-polyurethane mixtures or pure polyurethane inclusions according to the soil type. Experimental results will deepen this topic. Then, the dynamic properties of the soil injected with polyurethane will be studied through an ad-hoc developed experimental apparatus. Finally, the effects of polyurethane injections on the seismic response of real soils at large-scale will be investigated through numerical simulations.
Since its origin, this research theme of GSI based on polyurethane injections has been developed by the DIA Geotechnical Group, as evidenced by the following literature:
- Lorella Montrasio, Michele P.A. Gatto. 2016. Experimental Analyses on Cellular Polymers for Geotechnical Applications. Procedia Engineering, 158, pp. 272–277.
- Michele P.A. Gatto, Lorella Montrasio, Angelos Tsinaris, Dimitris Pitilakis,Anastasios Anastasiadis. 2019. The dynamic behaviour of Polyurethane foams in geotechnical conditions. 7th International Conference on Earthquake Geotechnical Engineering (ICEGE). Rome.
- Michele P.A.Gatto, Lorella Montrasio, Marta Berardengo, Marcello Vanali. 2020. Experimental Analysis of the Effects of a Polyurethane Foam on Geotechnical Seismic Isolation. Journal of Earthquake Engineering.
- Michele P.A.Gatto, Lorella Montrasio, Linda Zavatto. 2021. Experimental Analysis and Theoretical Modelling of Polyurethane Effects on 1D Wave Propagation through Sand-Polyurethane Specimens. Journal of Earthquake Engineering.
- Michele P.A.Gatto, Valentina Lentini, Francesco Castelli, Lorella Montrasio, Davide Grassi. 2021. The use of polyurethane injection as a geotechnical seismic isolation method in large-scale applications: A numerical study. Geosciences (Switzerland)
- Michele P.A.Gatto, Valentina Lentini, Lorella Montrasio. 2022. Dynamic Properties of Polyurethane from Resonant Column Tests for numerical GSI Study. Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering.
In September 2022, Prof. Montrasio will be also the Convener of a Special Session on “Geotechnical Seismic Isolation” during the 3rd European Conference on Earthquake Engineering and Seismology (3ECEES). (https://3ecees.ro/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/EAEE-SS4.pdf)
Topic 12: Strength, damage and fracture of highly deformable polymeric materials
Mechanical response of highly deformable materials, especially polymers, elastomers, foams, gels, biomimicking phantom tissues, is far from being fully understood. In fact, their response under mechanical (stress) or other physical stimuli (temperature, interaction with fluids, etc.) requires to account for a broad range of effects such as large strain, entropic deformation energy, strain rate-related phenomena, hysteresis loops (Mullins effect), coupling with other physics (diffusion of fluids, self-diffusion of material’s molecules, heat diffusion, etc.), all of them make modeling this class of materials still an open issue.
Understanding how strength, fracture toughness and all the main material’s mechanical parameters are related to its microstructure and to the production process (nowadays often performed by using high-precision modern additive manufacturing technologies) is a crucial task for truly engineered synthesis and building procedures.
Further, the development of physics-based continuum models suitable to be implemented in computational codes, is required for the design of new structures and devices to be used in a broad range of advanced applications, ranging from civil engineering (sensors, deployable structures), to mechanics and biomechanics (soft robots, tunable actuators, wearable devices, robotic surgery).
The aim of the present research topic is to comprehensively study the microstructure-mechanical response relationship of highly deformable polymeric materials, in order to fully understand the underlying damage and failure mechanisms and to define new testing procedures and measurement strategies suitable to properly characterize their mechanical properties.
Solving the above-listed issues will provide an incredibly wide design space, not offered by other traditional materials such as metals and ceramics, enabling the production of architectured materials with a controllable and tunable response (materials by design).
Topic 13: MINIMAL - sMoothed partIcle hydrodyNamIcs for MultiphAse fLow
Contact: Renato Vacondio
Multiphase flows are encountered in most physical processes and engineering applications. The present project will look at the physics of the wave breaking at the beach, where the wave energy is dissipated generating air entrapment, and significant sediment transport. A common occurrence in the above-mentioned phenomena is the multiphase and often complex flows which current state-of-the-art in numerical simulations and modelling either use ad-hoc methodologies or choose not to model explicitly. Indeed, formulating a general multiphase methodology which spans across different physical processes poses a great modelling challenge. This is particularly true when looking the capabilities of classical numerical discretisation schemes, which have been intended to excel in bounded domains with some a priori knowledge of the area of significance. On the other hand, schemes which are based on particle (instead of mesh) methods, alleviate this problem of severe deformation, multiple continua, and fragmentation of the continua interface in bounded or free surface flows . A well-known particle numerical scheme is smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH). SPH has demonstrated several advantages when comparing to traditional schemes due to the Lagrangian formulation. Nevertheless, and despite the recent advances in modelling multiphase flows  having a sharp interface between the phases, issues such as high-density ratios between phases, numerical stability, accuracy, and automatic node refinement, still remain elusive .
Herein, we propose to develop, in close collaboration between the researchers of the University of Manchester, a new approach for SPH to ensure continuity at the interface while maintaining a sharp interface between phases in the framework of the DualSPHysics open-source code (https://dual.sphysics.org/). Stability and consistency will be addressed by using shock-capturing techniques  and will further develop the new iterative implicit shifting  pioneered by Parma, Manchester and other collaborators which provides groundbreaking advances for the convergence of the SPH scheme.
The aim is to create a SPH based formulation which from a discretisation perspective is applicable to gas-liquid-solid phases irrespectively of the physics involved in the aforementioned phases.
The main objective of the research project is the development of a new SPH multiphase formulation capable to simulate the wave breaking at the beach, including air and sediment transport phenomena.
Prof. Renato Vacondio, University of Parma (UniPr). PhD student recruited for the project by UniPr, Prof. Benedict Rogers and Dr. George Fourtakas, University of Manchester (UoM). The research group involved in the project (Dr. Renato Vacondio – UniPr and Dr. Prof. Benedict Rogers and Dr. George Fourtakas, UoM) have a long-standing collaboration that spans more than a decade. Indeed, this is a very successful collaboration with more than 10 papers in international Q1 journals and dozens of conference publications. Further, they are co-developers of the open source DualSPHysics (https://dual.sphysics.org/) solver, a collaboration that has been extremely successful with a state-of-the-art solver that has more than 100k downloads and is being used by industry and academia alike.
. Violeau, D. and B.D. Rogers, Smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH) for free-surface flows: past, present and future. Journal of Hydraulic Research, 2016. 54(1): p. 1-26.
. Fourtakas, G. and B. Rogers, Modelling multi-phase liquid-sediment scour and resuspension induced by rapid flows using Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) accelerated with a Graphics Processing Unit (GPU). Advances in Water Resources, 2016. 92: p. 186-199.
. Vacondio, R., C. Altomare, M. De Leffe, X. Hu, D. Le Touzé, S. Lind, J.-C. Marongiu, S. Marrone, B.D. Rogers, and A. Souto-Iglesias, Grand challenges for Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics numerical schemes. Computational Particle Mechanics, 2021. 8(3): p. 575-588.
. Rezavand, M., C. Zhang, and X. Hu, A weakly compressible SPH method for violent multi-phase flows with high density ratio. Journal of Computational Physics, 2020. 402: p. 109092.
. Rastelli, P., R. Vacondio, J. Marongiu, G. Fourtakas, and B.D. Rogers, Implicit iterative particle shifting for meshless numerical schemes using kernel basis functions. Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering, 2022. 393: p. 114716.
. Vacondio, R., B. Rogers, P.K. Stansby, P. Mignosa, and J. Feldman, Variable resolution for SPH: a dynamic particle coalescing and splitting scheme. Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering, 2013. 256: p. 132-148.
. Domínguez, J.M., G. Fourtakas, C. Altomare, R.B. Canelas, A. Tafuni, O. García-Feal, I. Martínez-Estévez, A. Mokos, R. Vacondio, and A.J. Crespo, DualSPHysics: from fluid dynamics to multiphysics problems. Computational Particle Mechanics, 2021: p. 1-29.
Topic 14: Innovative monitoring system for railways (Dottorato di ricerca innovativo cofinanziato da SISGEO s.r.l. ex DM 352)
Contact: Francesco Freddi
This Ph.D. project falls under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR), Mission 4, Component 2 ("From Research to Enterprise"). In particular, with reference to Investment 3.3 "Introduction of innovative doctorates that respond to the innovation needs of enterprises and promote the recruitment of researchers from enterprises," it is intended to support the promotion and strengthening of higher education and postgraduate specialization at the doctoral level.
The main purpose of this innovative doctoral program is to train a highly specialized technician who will find employment within SISGEO s.r.l (https://www.sisgeo.com/it/) after obtaining the Ph.D. degree.
The research will focus on an issue of national and international interest: safety in the railway sector; in particular, the candidate will participate to the development of an innovative monitoring system of the railway infrastructure. The main objective is the implementation and validation of a system of local measurements and related analysis for the study of the dynamic behavior of the railway infrastructure under load. Measurements of interest for infrastructure safety will be discussed and decided with the Managing Railway Entities (RFI, SNCF, Network Rail, etc.), including transverse measurement (inclination between the two rails) and longitudinal level measurement and alignment measurement (understood as long-term drift).
The development will cover sensing elements suitable for measurement, the mechanical design of the instrument, up to the release of validated and usable data. Simulation models will be adopted to establish system properties and accelerate validation of the system on pilot tests.
Study and research periods in SISGEO and in an European country are planned during the doctoral program.
Il progetto di dottorato rientra nell’ambito del Piano Nazionale di Ripresa e Resilienza (PNRR), la Missione 4, componente 2 (“Dalla Ricerca all'Impresa”); in particolare, in riferimento all’Investimento 3.3 “Introduzione di dottorati innovativi che rispondono ai fabbisogni di innovazione delle imprese e promuovono l’assunzione dei ricercatori dalle imprese”, si intende sostenere la promozione e il rafforzamento dell'alta formazione e la specializzazione post-laurea di livello dottorale.
Lo scopo principale di questo dottorato innovativo è quello di formare un tecnico che, dopo il conseguimento del titolo di Dottore di ricerca, trovi occupazione all’interno di SISGEO s.r.l (https://www.sisgeo.com/it/).
La ricerca verterà su una tematica estremamente attuale e di sicuro interesse nazionale e internazionale: la sicurezza in ambito ferroviario; in particolare, il candidato parteciperà allo sviluppo di un sistema di monitoraggio innovativo dell’infrastruttura ferroviaria.<L’obiettivo principale è l’ implementazione e validazione di un sistema di misure locali e la relativa analisi per lo studio del comportamento dinamico dell’infrastruttura ferroviaria sotto carico. Le misure di effettivo interesse e utilità per la sicurezza dell’infrastruttura saranno concordate con gli Enti Ferroviari Gestori (RFI, SNCF, Network Rail, ecc.), tra cui la misura trasversale (inclinazione tra le due rotaie) ed, eventualmente, la misura di livello longitudinale (misura delle variazioni della quota della suola, che poi si riflettono sulla superficie di rotolamento) e la misura di allineamento (intesa come deriva di lungo periodo).
Lo sviluppo riguarderà gli elementi sensibili adatti alla misura, l’ingegnerizzazione meccanica dello strumento, fino alla restituzione di dati validati e fruibili. Modelli di simulazione verranno previsti per determinare le proprietà del sistema e accelerare la validazione del sistema stesso su tronchi pilota.
Durante il percorso dottorale sono previsti periodi di studio e ricerca in SISGEO e all’estero.
Topic 15 (ARCH): Sistemi di armatura tipo-morfologica e funzionale all’interno delle periferie di bordo della città compatta: il Centro di Quartiere (Dottorato di ricerca finanziato dal PNRR)
Caratteristica della ricerca: riferita al SSD ICAR / 14 Progettazione architettonica e urbana investe sia la dimensione urbana che architettonica della progettazione con particolare riferimento all’ambito delle attrezzature pubbliche.
Parole chiave: città, tipologia architettonica, quartiere urbano, limite urbano, pubblici servizi, sanità pubblica, rigenerazione urbana.
Gli ultimi cinquant’anni di sviluppo estensivo della città hanno determinato una periferia ancora oggi, nei suoi più recenti esiti realizzati, priva di polarità contraddistinte dall’identità oltre che dall’uso pubblico di spazi aperti ed edifici a servizio della collettività. Quasi che la critica a quelle parti della città definite “dormitorio” e a scarso tasso di vivibilità dalla critica dei fenomeni urbani vedesse oggi solo rimedi legati alla disponibilità surrogativa dei centri commerciali, corroborata da spazi verdi attrezzati e a uno standard rispettato di strutture scolastico educative.
L’epidemia di SARS-CoV-2, ha stressato in modo significativo il grado di vivibilità e di accesso a un quadro dotazionale di servizi pubblici oltre che privati con risultati in gran parte deludenti e capaci di far emergere con maggior chiarezza l’esigenza di una nuova e diversa strutturazione degli spazi e dei servizi pubblici quali centralità capaci di strutturare il tessuto insediativo periferico sotto il profilo formale, paesaggistico e funzionale. Si tratta di individuare tipologie innovative in un logica di sistema basate sulla sinergia prestazionale di funzioni pubbliche (a partire da quelle sanitarie integrate a quelle socio-lavorative, della formazione, della cultura ecc.) oggi spesso isolate e sottodimensionate all’interno del tessuto urbano.
La ricerca ha l’obiettivo di prefigurare sul piano della concezione ma anche della fattibilità tecnica un modello architettonico avanzato di Centro di Quartiere, punto cospicuo e ad alto grado di riconoscibilità e rappresentatività all’interno del quartiere urbano quale punto di forza nella caratterizzazione dei processi di rigenerazione alla scala urbana e territoriale.
La sperimentazione dei prototipi tipologici, sia per gli spazi aperti che per i volumi costruiti, aldilà di alcune costanti di sistema, dovrà cogliere le caratteristiche identitarie degli ambiti urbani interessati e le esigenze comportamentali di una compagine sociale complessa e definita all’interno della specificità dei contesti. Il campo di applicazione sperimentale del progetto sarà quello in particolare della città medio-piccola all’interno del sistema regionale dell’Emilia Romagna generalizzabile ad altre realtà urbane in ambito italiano ed europeo.
New architectural typologies of public service in the social-health sector in the definition of peripheral urban centralities (PNRR funded)
Research feature: referred to SSD ICAR / 14 Architectural and urban design involves both the urban and architectural dimension of the design with particular reference to the field of public equipment.
Keywords: city, architectural typology, urban district, urban limit, public services, urban regeneration.
The last fifty years of extensive development of the city have resulted in a suburb still today, in its most recent results, without polarity marked by identity as well as by the public use of open spaces and buildings at the service of the community. Almost as if the criticism of those parts of the city defined as "dormitories" and with a poor livability rate by the criticism of urban phenomena today saw only remedies linked to the subrogative availability of shopping centers, corroborated by equipped green spaces and a respected standard of educational school structures.
The SARS-CoV-2 epidemic has significantly stressed the degree of livability and access to an endowment of public as well as private services with largely disappointing results and capable of bringing out more clearly the need for a new and different structuring of public spaces and services as centralities (starting from health care integrated with socio-work, training, culture, etc.) capable of structuring the peripheral settlement fabric from a formal, landscape and functional point of view. It is a question of identifying innovative typologies in a system logic based on the performance synergy of public functions, today often isolated and undersized within the urban fabric.
The research aims to prefigure an advanced architectural model of Centro di Quartiere (district center) in terms of conception but also of technical feasibility, a conspicuous point with a high degree of recognisability and representativeness within the urban district as a strength in the characterization of processes of regeneration on an urban and territorial scale.
The experimentation of typological prototypes, both for open spaces and for built volumes, beyond some system constants, will have to grasp the identity characteristics of the urban areas concerned and the behavioral needs of a complex social structure defined within the specificity of the contexts. The experimental field of application of the project will be that of the medium-small city in particular within the regional system of Emilia Romagna, generalizable to other urban realities in Italy and Europe.
Topic 16 (ARCH): Performance-based planning of pedestrian and bicycle networks to improve spatial and urban accessibility (PNRR funded)
Contact: Silvia Rossetti
Today's urban challenges, including the inevitable mitigation of the effects of climate change, imply the enhancement of active mobility. This can only be achieved by improving the performance levels of pedestrian and bicycle mobility infrastructure on the one hand, and by improving the accessibility system through careful land-use planning on the other.
As part of the ECOSISTER project (Ecosystem of Innovation), the PhD research aims at implementing planning scenarios to improve urban and territorial accessibility, through a careful analysis, evaluation and planning of infrastructures dedicated to pedestrian and bicycle mobility.
To achieve this goal, an innovative analytical-assessment protocol, based on Geographical Information Systems (GIS) technology, will be developed to assess the practicability and safety of pedestrian and bicycle networks and the level of accessibility to services and facilities guaranteed. The protocol will consist of a GIS model and relative data collection/management processes (based primarily on field inspections and collaborative data collection systems), to map pedestrian and bicycle networks, and identify their strengths, weaknesses, and possible planning interventions.
The doctorate candidate will, therefore, define pedestrian and cycle paths performance indicators, identify potentialities and criticalities, and then set performance-based targets. Finally, he/she will develop an easily applicable management model to prioritise possible interventions aimed at enhancing the quality of active mobility according to the principles of safety, urban accessibility, enjoyment, universal design, and congruency with the road function. The GIS model will therefore be designed, through accurate data modelling (conceptual, logical, physical), in such a way as to: 1) be able to automate the calculation of performance indicators as much as possible; 2) function as a management model to identify intervention priorities; 3) make it adaptive to possible updates over time.
Topic 17 (ARCH): Planning Cities of Proximity: urban retrofit planning scenarios for accessible and inclusive public spaces (PNRR funded)
Sustainable mobility, social and post pandemic responses to the current urban challenges inevitably imply an integration between urban design and urban and mobility planning to boost active mobility modes and the liveability of public spaces.
Within the framework of the Centro Nazionale Mobilità Sostenibile (funded within the PNRR – National Recovery and Resilience Plan), the doctorate research aims at investigating possible criteria, policies, and planning actions for the implementation of a retrofitted urban environment, based on the spatial and temporal proximity dimension (i.e. according to the 15-minute city model) and a more shared, safe, liveable and inclusive use of public space. The PhD student will, therefore, experiment different planning scenarios for enhancing pedestrian and cycle accessibility to proximity services, reducing the use of private vehicles, and regenerating the public space accordingly, making it adaptive and responsive to local community’s needs.
Planning scenario development will be subject to:
- an in-depth investigation of the state of the art of the neighbourhood unit / 15-minute city model and of the diverse forms (durable or temporary) of urban space regeneration,
- the construction of an analytical model for studying pedestrian and cycle accessibility to neighbourhood-scale services and facilities.
- the identification of a number of application cases, i.e. urban sectors in medium-sized cities, in order to test the analytical model and provide possible simulations and guidelines for the regeneration of the public space and urban spaces reclaiming for community purposes.
- the identification of replicability criteria and conditions.
On the application cases the PhD student may also develop a scenario analysis of implementation processes for the elimination of private cars in specific urban enclaves, investigating possible policies, planning criteria and urban retrofitting actions to reclaim urban spaces previously occupied by cars.
Topic 18 (INFR): Railway Infrastructure (PNRR funded)
Contact: Felice Giuliani
Definition of data-driven and model-based methods for monitoring, diagnosis, and predictive maintenance of rail infrastructure, with a focus on subballast-ballast-rail systems and related joints. Sustainable solutions and decision support for civil infrastructure analysis and management.
Infrastrutture ferroviarie (Dottorato di ricerca finanziato dal PNRR)
Contact: Felice Giuliani
Definizione di metodi, basati su dati e modelli, per il monitoraggio, la diagnosi e la manutenzione predittiva delle infrastrutture ferroviarie, con particolare attenzione ai sistemi subballast-ballast-rotaia e relativi giunti. Soluzioni sostenibili e supporto alle decisioni per l'analisi e la gestione delle infrastrutture civili.