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Laboratories of "Structures and Infrastructures" section


Laboratory denomination

Laboratory manager


Laboratory of Structural Dynamics

Antonina Pirrotta


Laboratory of Geomatics

Gino Dardanelli, Mauro Lo Brutto


Laboratory of Geotechnics

Maurizio Ziccarelli


Laboratory of Materials & Structures

Piero Colajanni


Structural Modeling Lab (SM-Lab)

Giuseppe Giambanco


Laboratory of Roads, Railways and Airports Laboratory

Gaetano Di Mino


Speckle Interferometry lab - section of the lab "XRD/GDOS/Laser interferometry

Salvatore Benfratello responsible of the lab section


SMAART laboratory (Sustainable Mobility/Accident Analysis/Research&Training)

Giuseppe Salvo


Laboratorio METAL@I3D Modeling, Engineering, Technology, Laboratory, BIM 3D

Laura Inzerillo


Laboratory of Structural engineering

Lidia La Mendola


13. Laboratory of Structural Dynamics

The Laboratory is engaged in various theoretical, numerical and experimental research activities, including:
• Structural identification and dynamic monitoring;
• Vibration control and mitigation;
• Stochastic Dynamics;
• Theoretical/experimental analysis of linear and nonlinear systems;
• Design of devices for the mitigation of human-induced vibrations;
• Advanced fractional models.

Available equipment or instruments
The Laboratory can carry out dynamic tests, both for research and teaching activities and for third-party activities. The Laboratory is equipped with advanced up-to-date instrumentation for input generation (shakers, vibrating tables, impact hammers, etc.), signal acquisition (piezoelectric and wireless accelerometers, laser rangefinders, etc.), laser doppler vibrometers, 3D printers, radar interferometers, MTS Axial/Torsional test bench, etc.

Any existing or already concluded third-party accounts
The Laboratory carries out various activities in collaboration with third parties, providing technical-scientific consultancy services to support companies in the Civil Engineering sector. Furthermore, it is involved in the development of patents and activities for national and international research projects, including:
-Patent “Anti-vibration knob”

Prof. Antonina Pirrotta

24. Laboratory of Geomatics

The Sector is responsible for the Geomatics Laboratory, in which research, training and third-party activities are carried out in the sectors related to the survey of the territory, the environment and cultural heritage using complete, state-of-the-art HW and SW instrumentation. The activities concern the processing of data from topographic, GNSS, photogrammetric surveys, both aerial and terrestrial, laser-scanning and from digital images taken with Remote Sensing techniques, both from satellite and aerial platforms.
Particular interest is focused on the survey of cultural heritage, aimed essentially at the development of photorealistic 3D digital models that permit the documentation of our artistic and archaeological heritage, especially for study and renovation purposes, and their use through Web-GIS techniques.

Available equipment or instruments
Total Stations, GNSS Receivers, Long Range Terrestrial Laser Scanner, Short Range Terrestrial Laser Scanner, UAS

Any existing or already concluded third-party accounts
The Laboratory conducts a range of operations in partnership with external entities, offering technical and scientific advisory services to assist stakeholders, such as:

- “Support for the implementation of satellite monitoring of submerged vegetation in the Stagnone lagoon”

Prof. Mauro Lo Brutto

Prof. Gino Dardanelli

25. Laboratory of Geotechnics
Basic and applied research activities are carried out at the Geotechnical Laboratory: mechanical characterization of soils and rocks; experimentation on saturated and partially saturated soils, on small-scale physical models and in situ surveys.

Available equipment or instruments
It has an equipment system for soil identification, permeability tests, and mechanical tests (determination of resistance and deformability) both for deformation and load control with automatic acquisition. The laboratory also has the instrumentation for the geotechnical monitoring of landslides, for carrying out load tests on pile foundations and for non-destructive control of the quality of pile foundations.


Prof. Maurizio Ziccarelli

41. Laboratory of Materials & Structures

The activities of the Laboratory of Materials and Structures are aimed at understanding the constitutive behaviour of both materials and structural elements. (The research mainly but not exclusively is focused on construction materials, such as concrete, steel, and solid and laminated timber)
The equipment, some of which is cutting-edge, is used to carry out tests on small-scale and full-scale elements. This information is fundamental, both in the design of new structures and strengthening interventions of historic ones, because it provides the technician with accurate and detailed information to be able on the one hand to better define the structural project and on the other to verify the suitability and validity of the materials and interventions in compliance with current regulations.
A fundamental peculiarity of the Laboratory is that of supporting applied scientific research by allowing the experimental verification of theoretical models of the behaviour of materials and structures.
The activities of the Materials and Structures Laboratory are supported by those of the Official State Laboratory which, by almost centuries-old tradition, works hard to interact with the territory both for every need for competence in the Science and Technology sectors of the structures and through the calibration activities of the main equipment used (jacks, force, pressure and displacement transducers) in structural tests (in situ and in laboratories authorized by the Higher Council for Public Works).
The Laboratory is involved in every mission envisaged in the University statute: research, teaching and consultancy services to local realities. It operates mainly in the sectors of Construction Science and Technology, however, it offers services for degree courses in other scientific sectors (Architecture, Technical Physics).

The Laboratory of Materials and Structures is engaged in various theoretical, numerical and experimental research activities in which training courses and degree theses have been and may be activated, and research projects also carried out within the scope of active PhD courses:
• Techniques and algorithms for static and dynamic monitoring of critical structures and infrastructures and cultural heritage;
• Structural identification techniques, model updating and damage identification;
• Numerical techniques and theoretical investigations on the measurement and evaluation of structural reliability.
• Experimental validation of predictive models of the behaviour of linear and non-linear systems.
• Constitutive models of advanced and innovative materials.

Structural tests are necessary both to delve into theoretical aspects not yet explored in structure elements, to validate mathematical models with newly developed algorithms, and to verify the behaviour of innovative materials.

Available equipment or instruments
To this end, the Laboratory of Material and Structures is equipped to carry out static tests with samples even on a 1:1 scale. The tests are carried out in the laboratory located in a 2000 m2 warehouse on the Palermo University campus. Tests on full-scale models are carried out on a 200 m2 rigid reinforced concrete plate, 1 m thick, completed with a 6 m high vertical concrete and steel contrast element.
The Laboratory is also active in the provision of testing services and technical-scientific consultancy in the field of Structural Engineering and in support of companies and industries in the Civil and Construction Engineering sector.


Prof. Piero Colajanni

53. Structural Modeling Lab (SM-Lab)

Laboratory activities are primarily devoted to degree and doctoral theses in civil engineering. Additionally, the lab has carried out a variety of tests for the university's third mission, mainly in the field of fibre-reinforced composite materials.
The main experimental activities use non-destructive evaluation tests and structural monitoring methods. Another scientific activity involves the use of virtual mechanical tests to replace real experiments on structures, components, or materials with numerical simulations. The laboratory uses "open source" finite element codes implemented using advanced programming languages such as Matlab, Python and R, as well as commercial software.

- 3D printer Original Prusa MK4;
- Ultrasonic transducers for composite materials;
- Ultrasonic transducers for concrete;
- Preamplifiers;
- Oscilloscope Tektronix DPO2002B 1GSPS;
- Sensors and preamplifier for acoustic emissions;
- Ultrasonic Pulse-receiver;
- N. 4 calculus locations equipped with commercial software (Strauss, ProSAP), programming languages (MatLAB, Python, R, C++), CAD programs (Autocad, Fusion 360), and Prusa Slicing.

Scientific activities related to the third mission

- Characterization of fibre-reinforced composites for the seismic assessment of Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria di Messina (2014-2015);
- Characterization of fibre-reinforced composites for extraordinary maintenance works on the Salerno Reggio Calabria highway (2015-2016);
- Characterization of fibre-reinforced composites for the seismic assessment of S. Giovanni di Dio hospital in Agrigento (2015-2018);
- Characterization of fibre-reinforced composites for renovation works, extraordinary maintenance, L. Petri Middle School (ME) (2017);
- Mechanical, chemical-physical tests on samples of stone material extracted from collapsed balcony corbels in via Cavour 60, Palermo (2023-2024).

Prof. Giuseppe Giambanco

Others contacts: Prof. Antonino Spada; Ing. Emma La Malfa Ribolla

64. Roads, Railways and Airports Laboratory

The Road, Railway and Airport Laboratory is an Official State Laboratory pursuant to Legislative Decree 380/2001; in it, tests are carried out on the various building materials typical of transportation infrastructures such as soil and stone aggregates, derived materials (bitumen and bituminous binders), composite materials such as bituminous mixtures and concrete, covering almost the entire spectrum of experimental activities, both those considered special and the routine ones, required in the programs of numerous national and international research projects, agreements and third-party activities, as well as tests linked to the creation of degree theses. Furthermore, the experimental activity, when required, is also carried out in situ, with the necessary equipment also available for external actions.

The list of main test equipment is the following .
1. Hydraulic press for compression tests on concrete
2. Los Angeles equipment for testing stone aggregates
3. Micro Deval equipment for tests on stone aggregates
4. Equipment for determining the Accelerated Sandability Coefficient on stone aggregates
5. Equipment for density measurements (apparent, real and in pile) of stone aggregates
6. Impulse compactor for A.A.S.H.T.O. density testing. on terrain and for C.B.R. bearing tests. (California Bearing Ratio) on land
7. Equipment for punching C.B.R. on land for road use
8. Equipment for determining the Sand Equivalent (S.E.)
9. Apparatus for determining the cleanliness of fines with Methylene Blue
10. Equipment for determining the bearing capacity of soil in situ (Plate load test)
11. Equipment for determining the water susceptibility of soils (Atterberg limits)
12. Equipment for triaxial tests on soil and aggregates for the determination of the resilient modulus of road substrates
13. Apparatus for determining the consistency of bituminous binders
14. Apparatus for determining the softening temperature of bituminous binders
15. Apparatus for determining the embrittlement temperature of bituminous binders
16. Dynamic Shear Rheometer for determining the rheological characteristics of bituminous binders
17. “Brookfield” rotational viscometer for the dynamic viscosity of bituminous binders
18. Equipment for the quantitative determination of the components of the bituminous binder (Chromatograph)
19. Soxhlet plant for bitumen extraction (10 places)
20. Apparatus for determining the kinematic viscosity of the bituminous binder
21. Equipment for the simulation of bitumen aging (Paving Aging Vessell)
22. Equipment for determining the stiffness of bitumen (Bending Beam Rheometer)
23. Equipment for determining the ductility of bitumen (Ductilometer) and the springback of modified bitumens
24. Equipment for the simulation of the aging of bitumen in a thin layer (Rolling Thin film Oven Test)
25. Gyratory compactor for bituminous conglomerates for the study of formulation according to the SHRP methodology.
26. Roller Compactor – dynamic compactor for bituminous mixture
27. Roller Compactor with heated surface – dynamic compactor for bituminous mixture
28. Impulse compactor for Marshall testing on bituminous mixture
29. Hydraulic press for Marshall testing on bituminous mixture
30. Machine for determining the static and dynamic Creep of bituminous mixture
31. Equipment for determining the stability and flow of bituminous mixture
32. Apparatus for determining the indirect tensile strength and breaking deformation of bituminous mixture
33. Four Point Bending machine – for determining complex modulus and fatigue resistance of asphalt conglomerates
34. Equipment for indirect cyclic tensile tests on bituminous mixture
35. Equipment for direct tensile tests on bituminous mixture
36. Wheel tracking Test – for determining the resistance to rutting of bituminous mixture
37. Laser Profilometer for determining the surface texture of longitudinal profiles on bituminous mixture
38. Machine for indentation testing on bituminous mixture
39. Skid Tester for determining the sliding friction resistance on bituminous mixture
40. Benkelmann beam for deflection measurements on road pavements
41. Core drilling machine for taking samples of bituminous mixture
42. Retroreflectometer for determining the performance of horizontal signs (day and night backlighting and resistance to slipping (skidding).
43. Asphalt Mixtures Performance Test - for determining the characteristic mechanical performance of bituminous mixture

Scientific activities related to the third mission
The experimental activities linked to the Third Mission are focused on agreements, grants and direct relationships with public and private bodies, infrastructure construction companies, with professionals in the sector and have been carried out regularly since the establishment of the Laboratory in 1962. Contracts and agreements with public clients such as road authorities and public bodies are currently underway.

Prof. Gaetano Di Mino

95- Speckle Interferometry lab - section of the lab "XRD/GDOS/Laser interferometry

The main research theme conducted in ESPI lab is the full-field contactless strain measurements

The available equipment is mainly constituted by two-colour laser interferometry (red and green colours) able to measure plane strain on specimens under assigned loads (typically flexural);

Prof. Salvatore Benfratello

99. SMAART laboratory

The SMAART Laboratory is part of the laboratories of the University of Palermo and belongs to the Engineering Department. It deals with research on issues related to sustainable mobility and the surveys that are necessary both for the study of mobility and transport.
The laboratory is equipped with a driving simulator for heavy vehicles and a mobile laboratory for monitoring the levels of noise and atmospheric pollution produced by vehicular traffic.

Researchers in the Transport sector carry out intense research activity in the field of heavy vehicle drivers' behaviour, with particular reference to driving techniques capable of reducing fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
Thanks to the use of the driving simulator it is possible to reproduce the most frequent driving conditions and the realistic reproduction of various types of road. All information deriving from the driver's behaviour is collected, such as average and instantaneous fuel consumption, use of the gearbox, average speeds, and levels of pollution emissions.
Scientific activities related to the third mission
The laboratory also carries out intense activity on behalf of third parties in favour of freight transport companies and associations to implement eco-driving techniques through high-level professional training courses aimed at the highest professional company profiles.

Prof. Giuseppe Salvo

102. METAL@I3D - Modeling, Engineering, Technology, Laboratory, BIM 3D

Reverse Engineering, Modeling & Geometric Analysis, Pavement Distress Analysis and Smart Monitoring, BIM, ICT, Drones, Forensic Engineering

1. Reverse Engineering (RE)
- Image-Based Modeling; 3D scanning; Photogrammetry.
2. Modeling & Geometric Analysis (M&GA)
Geometric Analysis; 3D Digital Curation and Museology; Descriptive Geometry; 3D Architectural Geometry.
3. Pavement Distress Analysis and Smart Monitoring
Experimental methodology for pavement distresses survey; Strategies and indexes for pavement distresses
analysis; Smart Monitoring for Civil Infrastructures.
4. BIM for Civil Infrastructures and CH
3D modelling for BIM; Virtual Reality for BIM; Augmented Reality for BIM; Facility Management
5. V@lorization and Communication Strategy for CH
Digital culture and Characteristics of digital information: ICT supporting culture via web: virtual and
interactive museum; ICT supporting culture via mobile: application for culture and tourism; Social Media
supporting culture; Google Cultural Institute and its role in the global digitization of culture.
6. Drones Application and Experimentation
- 3D reconstruction and spherical images; 3D Monitoring for Civil Infrastructure.
7. Forensic Engineering
- 3D reconstruction of accident scenarios aimed at reconstructing the accident dynamics.

Prof. Laura Inzerillo

106. Laboratory of Materials and Structures


The group of teachers in the sector ICAR09 conducts experimental research and performs special tests for third parties making use of the laboratory of Materials and Structures in Viale delle Scienze - Building 8.
In addition to classic material testing as prescribed in L.1086/71, teachers in the field and laboratory technicians have adequate experience in carrying out bending tests on reinforced concrete, wood and steel beams, load tests on trusses, compression tests for the mechanical characterization of masonry, but also ordinary, diagonal and eccentric tests, lateral load tests on single-storey and one span frames with and without infills, on both reinforced and ordinary masonry walls even in the presence of openings, compression tests, centred and eccentric, on portions of columns, load tests on portions of vaults, arches, steel trusses, sheet metals, etc. Tests are also performed on elements made of innovative materials and on other elements such as joints, columns, and walls, reinforced with traditional techniques or by means of innovative materials such as composites, reinforced mortars, etc.
In addition, the laboratory is engaged in the qualification of the mix design for concrete and has the equipment for the characterization in situ of materials and structural elements.

The laboratory is equipped with a press with a capacity of 4000 kN and a universal machine with a capacity of 600 kN, in tension and compression, as well as a large space with horizontal and vertical contrast devices where it is possible to perform the most varied tests on structural elements or parts of structures in small or full scale. The contrasts can be equipped with screw or hydraulic cylinders with various capacities for static tests, or with an actuator powered by a pump with a capacity of 80 l/min for static, dynamic or pseudo-dynamic tests. The laboratory has all the electronic equipment for the automatic reading of structural responses and the devices for the acquisition of the force levels directly from the load cells.

Prof. Lidia La Mendola