Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Research activities

The group of Applied Geology (consisting of a Full Professor, an Associate Professor, three Researchers and several research assignors) works partly at the Leonardo Campus (Building n. 9) and partly at the Territorial Poles of Lecco and Como.
The group deals essentially with issues related to technical geology and hydrogeology. In particular, it deals with issues related to the management of natural resources, with particular attention to groundwater resources, and the assessment and management of geological risk. These researches are all developed from a common basis, i.e. the reconstruction of the geological and hydrogeological model of the subsoil and often make use of numerical models (i.e. for the assessment of slope stability and for the simulation of flow and transport in aquifers), useful for the understanding of system dynamics and the validation of the conceptual model of the subsoil.
In particular, the main lines of research developed by the Group concern:

  • The geological risk associated with the construction of civil engineering works (tunnels, roads, dams, etc.):The research underway is aimed at identifying methodologies for the prediction and quantification of drainage processes operated by underground works, especially with regard to the extent of drained flows and lowering. In this way it is possible to assess the risk, understood as the probability of occurrence, that the drained flows or piezometric lowerings may exceed the set limit values. The relevant aspect of these studies, especially with regard to their practical applications, is related to the possibility of carrying out a probabilistic analysis of the geological risk during the tunnel design phases and thus considering all the different risk scenarios, planning the measures to be taken to prevent their occurrence.
  • Geological risk linked to spatial planning (landslide risk management):The research is part of a strategic project of the Politecnico di Milano. This multidisciplinary project aims to develop an integrated monitoring approach for the real-time forecasting of landslides (destined to become a reference point for civil protection) and to develop technologies to be used for the creation of innovative emergency control rooms.
  • Geological risk linked to the management of natural resources (water, lithoid material, etc.):The research and consultancy on this topic concerns: The sustainable management of groundwater resources, both in porous and fractured and karst media, and their exchange with surface water bodies; the characterization of natural aggregate deposits and the recovery/reuse of disused mining and quarrying sites; the characterization of contaminated sites and identification of sources of contamination through the application of compositional and isotopic fingerprinting techniques; the optimization of the management of coastal aquifers subject to saline intrusion; the assessment of environmental impact in the use of low-enthalpy geothermal (BHE) systems.

Collaborations with Universities and Research Bodies

Scaioni M: Tongji University РDepartment of Surveying and Geo-Informatics Centre for Spatial Data Analysis and Sustainable Development, Grasselli G.: University of Toronto, Vanali M.: Università degli studi di Parma,  Festein D.: USGS (USA).