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ICAR09 - Structural engineering



The Group of Structural Engineering works at the Department of Engineering of the University of Palermo, carrying on research and educational activities on the typical topics of the field of Structural Engineering. More precisely, in accordance with the national sector declaration, the group is interested in the scientific and didactic-formative activity inherent both the design of new structures made with the use of different materials, such as reinforced concrete, steel, masonry, composite steel-concrete, and the definition of strengthening and seismic retrofitting of existing structures, with traditional and innovative techniques. In particular, interventions are studied on existing structures by using composite materials with carbon fibres or other materials, polymer or organic matrix (CFRP, FRCM, etc ..). The research conducted in this area concerns both ordinary and special constructions: historic and monumental buildings such as infrastructures like bridges and viaducts. The scientific-disciplinary contents concern: the behaviour of the structures under static and dynamic loads, the analysis of the structural response according to the morphology and the properties of materials, the criteria and the modelling methods of both individual structural elements and complex structures, the evaluation of the seismic vulnerability of existing buildings, experimentation, safety checks, testing and control of structures, structural diagnostics and monitoring with the use of new generation sensors capable of detecting the stress variations for providing useful information in real-time. The research activity is also aimed at developing devices for active control in the seismic phase, for the mitigation of seismic risk in steel structures.

The teachers of Structural Engineering are often involved as experts by the Interregional Superintendency for Sicily and Calabria and by the C.S.LL.PP. of the Ministry of Sustainable Infrastructures and Mobility, for specific scientific advice and also for the drafting of Code documents.

Research activity

  • Seismic vulnerability on territorial and building scales; non-linear static analysis techniques of seismic input modelling.
  • Vulnerability of structures and infrastructures to actions produced by a tsunami.
  • Strengthening of structural masonry and reinforced concrete elements through composite materials with organic (FRP - Fiber Reinforced Polymer) or inorganic (FRCM - Fabric Reinforced Cementius Matrix) matrices.
  • Design of dissipative joints in reinforced concrete or composite steel-concrete moment resisting frames under seismic loads.
  • Analysis of service and ultimate conditions of thin-walled steel members for the construction of wind piles.
  • Strength and stability of structural glass members under combined stress states;
  • The behaviour of isolated structures at the base.
  • Existing bridge structures damaged by corrosion of ordinary and prestressed reinforcements.
  • Models for the in-plane and out-of-plane behaviour of infilled frames.
  • Structural robustness.
  • Strategies for the sustainable disposal of plastic waste through the introduction of fibres into the mixing of concrete.
  • The capacity of joints of reticular structures with tubular elements in steel partially filled with concrete.


Main research projects

  • Network of the University Laboratories of Seismic Engineering (Reluis): Project RELUIS-BRIDGES (Implementation of the guidelines on bridges: Durability problems of bridges, Prestressed Concrete, Gerber saddles). Project RELUIS-DPS (Seismic vulnerability of state police buildings). Projects RELUIS2019-2021 (Inventory of existing structural types, risk maps and seismic damage scenarios, retrofitting of existing buildings)
  • Project PRIN2017 – SURMOUNT: Innovative Systems for the UpgRade of MasOnrystructUres and Non sTructuralelements
  • Project PON-MIUR, PNR 2015-20 INSIST- Sistema di monitoraggio INtelligente per la Sicurezza delle InfraSTrutture urbane (Smart monitoring system for the safety of urban infrastructures).
  • Project POR FESR Sicilia 2007-2013 PERIMA - Wind production with reduced environmental impact



Structural design, existing structures, safety, experimentation, modelling, monitoring.