Smart Structures and Systems

The research topics in the field of “Smart Structures and Systems” are addressed to structures, devices and systems characterized by multifunctionality, integration and advanced performances, supported by innovations in materials and production processes. The research activities in the structural field concern solutions with high specific strength, lightweight design, property transition (functionally graded structures), multi-material design, and multifunctional component design. Research activities are also aimed at integrated systems and complex components with environmental adaptability (sensing, actuation and control), flexible components with advanced measurement systems (e-textiles, smart fabrics, flexible electronics), components with special performances (biocompatibility, wearability, etc). The application areas of the activities include structural parts of ground, air and space vehicles, intelligent components for self-diagnostics based on advanced production processes, wearable systems for the human body, human-machine interfaces, multi-material components with high-energy absorption, conveyor belts and intelligent flexible components.

The research activities are hosted by the "Smart Structures and Systems" laboratory of the Department.

The applied methodologies involve the design supported by numerical finite element modeling, by rigid body models and by the formulation of multiphysical analytical models. We also apply experimental methods of analysis, including traditional typologies (static and dynamic characterization of materials, modal analysis, analysis of the fatigue behavior) and specialized typologies for the validation of multiphysical interactions (electrical, thermal, fluidic and mechanical). Self-built test benches are available to support specific experimental analyzes (performance and wear of smart fabrics, functional validation and damage of sensorized flexible materials).

The activities are supported by collaborative relationships at national and international level with research institutes and companies.

Leader Research fellows, PhD students, adjunct professors