The research activity of the group is focused on the theoretical and numerical modeling and testing of materials and structures.
Materials modeling concerns not only typical structural engineering materials, such as concrete, steel and composites, but also biological and bio-compatible materials, polycrystals, engineered materials, biomimetic, functionally graded materials, and engineered materials characterized by a specific internal micro-structure. Structural modeling focuses mainly on discretization methods, using classic approaches, such as finite elements, and more advanced methods, such as particle methods, domain decomposition, meshfree and non-local discretization. The activity of the group includes the development and implementation of sequential and concurrent computer codes.
In recent years the group has turned his attention to the development of methods and models for the analysis of coupled phenomena, such as electro-mechanical or chemo-mechanical, multi-physics problems, such as fluid-structure interaction, and multi-scale phenomena. An important activity of the group in this line, is the analysis and design of micro electromechanical systems (MEMS), which lead to the deposit of a few patents and to the study of various nonlinear phenomena at the micro-scale.
Traditionally, the group has been developing models and numerical methods for the mechanical characterization of materials and structures, in both civil and industrial engineering. Recently, a computerized instrumentation for X-ray micro-tomography has been conceived and developed. Digital Image Correlation (DIC) and nano-indentation techniques are used for the identification of material parameters. A micro-probe testing device for the mechanical characterization of microsystems through on-chip testing (tension force, flexure, fracture, dynamic tests) has been installed. It is used for the mechanical characterization of polysilicon in devices like e.g. accelerometers and gyroscopes.