Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
The research areas concern the development of innovative models, methods and technologies (including materials) for the construction of road infrastructures (mainly roads and airports) characterized by high standards of compatibility and environmental sustainability, since the infrastructure has always been one of the main “tools” of anthropization of the territory and at the same time of potential alteration of its natural balance and of the environment in which it is located.
The research activities start from the economic evaluation of the design choices at the different phases of the building process (feasibility study, preliminary design, executive design) and the definition of Urban Quality Indicators and Indices; these studies include economic – estimative consultancy in the environmental, urban and building sectors with reference also to the estimate of extraordinary real estate and public goods. Another aspect on which the research activities of the section focus is the study of the life of the work (Life Cycle Analysis in its broadest sense) and of its different phases, in order to control its effects on the territory and the environment. For this reason, research activities range from the conception phase to that of managing a work, passing from design, to realization, to management and maintenance.
As regards the phases of conception and design, the researchers of the Department are engaged in the study of methods, models and technologies that allow to combine in the most appropriate way the mobility needs with all the constraints placed by the territory. In this context, research lines are active focused on the hydrogeological (and geological in the strict sense) impact deriving from the construction of new works and from the adaptation of existing works, on the evaluation of the infrastructure layouts for impact mitigation (visual, acoustic, atmospheric, etc.), on the testing of flooring with low environmental impact (warm and cold bituminous conglomerates, fiber-reinforced, colored and natural stone floors, etc.) and “multipurpose” (photocatalytic, anti-noise, anti-vibration, piezoelectric, heat collectors, heat collectors , etc.), of flooring with recycled materials as an alternative to natural quarry materials such as civil demolition materials (e.g. recovery of airport flooring slabs), industrial process waste (e.g. blast furnace slag) and waste (e.g. waste from waste-to-energy plants, rubber powder, glass).
The construction phases, which represent one of the main critical points for the environmental sustainability of the infrastructures, are another focal point of the research lines, since the choice of processing methods depends on the emissions into the atmosphere, the consumption of land and its resources (think of the slopes and construction site areas, quarries, the transit of construction vehicles in ordinary roads, etc.), noise emissions and ultimately interference (reversible or worse, irreversible) of the construction site on the territory and on the environment. In this context, the major research topics on the reuse of the materials present on site are inserted (stabilization of the materials in situ, use of plants and mobile construction site technologies, etc.).
Collaborations with Universities and Research Bodies
Virginia Tech University (USA), Delft University of Tecnology (the Netherland), Universidade do Mino (Portugal), University of Waterloo (Canada), ARRB (Australia), Tongji University (Department of Surveying and Geo-Informatics Centre for Spatial Data Analysis and Sustainable Development), University of Toronto.