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Structural Analysis and Design
Page last updated: 06/05/2009

Presentation go to indexgo upgo down
The research activity of the Group of Structural Analysis and Design covers different research areas in Structural Engineering of great current interest. The analysis of the behaviour of new and existing structures and bridges, together with the long term monitoring of cultural heritage and the development of innovative structural composite systems are among the main research activities of the group. In particular, the main research fields are: Steel and Steel-Concrete Composite Structures; Timber Structures; Racks and Scaffold Systems; Structural Health Monitoring and Identification of Structures and Bridges. To this end, the research activities rely heavily on an integrated use of experimental and modal testing, analytical and numerical modelling. Nonetheless, the capabilities of other disciplines like Electrical and electronic measurements, Telecommunications and Systems for data processing are exploited in a modern holistic approach to research.
Staff go to indexgo upgo down
O.S. Bursi - Full Professor
M. Piazza - Full Professor
R. Zandonini - Full Professor
P. Zanon - Full Professor
N. Baldassino - Assistant Professor
M. Ballerini - Assistant Professor
R. Tomasi - Assistant Professor
D. Zonta - Assistant Professor
A. Bonelli - Postdoctoral Researcher
F. Ferrario - Postdoctoral Researcher
M. Molinari - Ph.D. C. Eng. / Graduate Technical Assistant
F. Bortot - Ph.D.
M. Pozzi - Ph.D.
N. Tondini - Ph.D.
L. Vulcan - Ph.D.
E. Acler - Ph.D. Student
M. Andreolli - Ph.D. Student
C. Baldessari - Ph.D. Student
C. Jia - Ph.D. Student
A. Kumar - Ph.D. Student
C. Loss - Ph.D. Student
V. Mancini - Ph.D. Student
A. Polastri - Ph.D. Student
Y. Yue - Ph.D. Student
Facilities go to indexgo upgo down
Materials and Structural testing LaboratoryMaterials and Structural Testing Laboratory
The hydraulic system of the new Large-Scale Testing Laboratory (dimension 4295 x 1660 x 950 cm) has been completed in fall 2002. It has the following general characteristics: header pipeline flow: 1500 lpm (v = 4.5 m/s); riser pipeline flow: 1200 lpm (v = 4.5 m/s); engaged power of 600 kW; and work (high) pressure of 21 MPa.
Besides providing the certification for building materials, the Laboratory staff carries out theoretical and experimental analysis of structures and structural elements in concrete, reinforced and pre-stressed concrete, structural monitoring of in situ structures, being also active in the field of pseudo-dynamic testing.
Facilities of the “University Centre of Metrology” (C.U.M.) go to indexgo upgo down
Calibration of Force Devices Laboratory
It is equipped by a force standard machine to perform dynamometer calibrations (range 100 N – 1 MN). The machine, which allows to perform tensile or compression calibrations, generates standard forces by means of a dead weight system in the range 0.1 kN - 100 kN (accuracy 50 ppm) and a mixed system with dead weight plus transfer in the range 100 kN - 1 MN (accuracy 200 ppm).

Research topics and future developments go to indexgo upgo down
1. Steel-Concrete Composite Structures
Innovations in seismic design and damage control of steel and steel-concrete composite structures.
This topic is aimed at the detailed investigation of the following subjects:
1. the knowledge of the cyclic performance of seismic-resistant composite members;
2. the development of innovative concepts and details, like composite beams with partial shear connection and dissipative zones and semi-rigid partial-strength beam-to-column joints;
3. the definition of general criteria and specific rules for the design of earthquake-resistant composite sway frames and braced frames;
4. the analysis of issues related to experimental and numerical methods in earthquake engineering, such as time integration of materially non-linear dynamic equations; time integration of geometrically non-linear dynamic equations; on-line computer controlled testing techniques devoted to the evaluation of structures subjected to dynamic and earthquake loads.

2. Timber Structures
Mechanical characterisation of timber elements using in-situ non-destructive tests. Timber-concrete and timber-based composite elements for floors and bridges. Static and seismic behaviour of traditional and innovative connections for timber elements. Resistance of timber elements and joints to fire.
This topic is aimed at the detailed investigation of the following subjects:
1. the development of innovative automatic devices for non-destructive evaluation of the mechanical properties of timber elements;
2. the evaluation of the mechanical performances (strength, stiffness and ductility) of different types of connections, as well as of the influence of the connections on the global behaviour of the composite structure;
3. the drafting of design recommendations;
4. the analysis of the static and seismic behaviour of traditional and innovative connections for timber elements, with particular attention to: moment-rotation behaviour of joints usually modelled as pin joints; splitting strength of timber beams loaded by dowel-type connections; behaviour of glued-in bars acting parallel and perpendicular to the grain.
5. the evaluation of the mechanical properties of timber exposed to fire;
6. the identification of protective materials and design detailing, capable of improving the fire resistance of timber elements and joints.

3. Racks and Scaffold Systems
Experimental and numerical analysis of racks and scaffold systems with reference to single components and to the overall response. Development and validation of design methods.
This topic is aimed at the detailed investigation of the following subjects:
1. the development of an equipment for testing the behaviour of beam-to-column joints, stocky columns in compression (stub-column tests), and base-plate joints;
2. the development of a wide database of beam-to-column joints and stub-columns, based on extensive experimental programs.
3. the study of the influence of the beam-to-column joint modelling on the structural behaviour of commercial steel storage pallets racks;
4. the appraisal of the influence of different buckling modes (local, global and distortional) on the design by means of testing procedures;
5. the drafting of design recommendations for steel storage pallets racks;
6. the study of the influence of the second order effects on the structural behaviour of prefabricated steel scaffolds;
7. the proposal and the validation of simplified second-order analysis methods.

The bell tower of Portogruaro (aged 1200 A.D.) (left) and the dome of San Gaudenzio
in Novara (built in 1862) (right): pictures and numerical mode shapes


4. Structural Health Monitoring and Identification
Experimental modal testing of large-scale civil structures. Advanced signal processing. Methods for vibrational based damage detection and localisation. Sensors and data acquisition. Long term monitoring and control systems. In-field application to historical and monumental structures.
This topic is aimed at the detailed investigation of the following subjects:
1. The development and the validation of modal testing methodologies (encompassing sensors selection and location, excitation techniques, data acquisition, signal processing), which specifically apply to full-scale civil structures;
2. The theoretical investigation and the experimental identification of new dynamic response features for vibrational-based damage detection These include the Coulomb friction damping signature and the appearance of dispersive phenomena of the 'frequency splitting' type in the free response of structures. Results have been implemented in novel damage detection techniques;
3. The development of web-based remote monitoring and control concepts, for the real-time safety assessment of civil structures;
4. The realisation of pilot project for the monitoring of cultural heritages.
Project participation go to indexgo upgo down
1. Topic
Research Grant: EU SteelCAL 1998-2001 "Computer Aided Learning in Structural Steelwork Design", Responsible: R. Zandonini. Total funding to the Research Group: 34 k€.

Research Grant: PRIN 2000-2001 "Damage of structural joints in steel and steel-concrete composite structures" ("Danneggiamento nei sistemi di collegamento nelle costruzioni metalliche e composte"), Responsible: R. Zandonini. Total funding to the Research Group: 56.8 k€.

Research Grant: EU CASCADE 2000-2003 "Cooperative Advancements in Seismic and Dynamic Experiments”, Responsible: O.S. Bursi. Total funding to the Research Group: 22 k€.

Research Grant: EU INERD 2001-2003 (ECSC 7210-PR-316) "Two Innovations for Earthquake resistant Design", Responsible: O.S. Bursi. Total funding to the Research Group: 170 k€.

Research Grant: EU ECOLEADER 2001-2003 “Cyclic and PsD testing of a 3D Steel-concrete Composite Frame”, Responsible: O.S. Bursi. Total funding to the Research Group: 203 k€ (managed by JRC – Ispra).

Research Grant: PRIN 1998-1999 "Experimental and numerical analysis of the low-cycle fatigue behaviour of semicontinuous steel-concrete composite structures in earthquake-prone areas" ("Analisi teorico-sperimentale del comportamento a fatica di strutture semicontinue composte acciaio-calcestruzzo in zona sismica "), Responsible: R. Zandonini. Total funding to the Research Group: 140 k€.

2. Topic
Research Grant: (Cofin) MURST 40% 1999- 2000 “The project of conservation: the methodology of preliminary researches, execution, quality control”, National responsible: Amedeo Bellini (Politecnico di Milano), Responsible: P. Zanon. Total funding to the Research Group: 25.5 k€.

Research Grant MIUR-COFIN CoDuLe 2002-2004 "Strategies for a ductile behaviour of timber structural components" , Responsible: M. Piazza; total funding to the research unit: 120 k€.

3. Topic
Research Contract: ACAI-ACS 1998-2000 “Convenzione per lo sviluppo di Istruzioni di calcolo per scaffalature porta-pallets”, Responsible: R. Zandonini. Total funding to the Research Group: 30.99 k€.

Research Contract: ACAI-ACS 2000-2001 “Convenzione per la validazione di metodi semplificati per il dimensionamento e la verifica di ponteggi a telai prefabbricati”, Responsible: R. Zandonini. Total funding to the Research Group: 10.33 k€.

Research Contract: ISPESL “Validazione di un sistema di calcolo per ponteggi prefabbricati di facciata basato sul metodo dell’amplificazione dei momenti dell’Eurocodice 3". Total funding to the Research Group: 5.16 k€.

4. Topic
Research Contract: Comune di Novara 1999-2001 "Monitoring of the S. Gaudenzio's Basilica (Monitoraggio della Basilica di S. Gaudenzio)", Responsible: P. Zanon. Total funding to the Research Group: 318.24 k€.
International cooperation go to indexgo upgo down
The group has contacts with a number of foreign research institutions. In particular, in the last three years, the group has joint publications with:
- University of California at San Diego, U.S.A.;
- Institut National des Sciences Appliquées, France;
- Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussees Lami – ENPC, France;
- European Laboratory for Structural Assessment, Joint Research Centre, Ispra (VA), Italy.