The Doctoral School program is aimed at providing students with a strong background in Solid Mechanics, Geotechnics, Design and Control of Civil Structures and Mechatronic Systems. Special emphasis is placed on synergic interaction between complementary disciplines, including: Applied Mechanics, Solid and Structural Mechanics, Manufacturing Technologies, Control, Design of Concrete, Steel and Timber Structures, and Seismic Engineering.
The school focuses along three principal lines:
- Solid and Structural Mechanics and Geotechnics
- Structural and Architectural Engineering
- Mechanical and Mechatronic Systems
The doctoral program is completed in three years.
Research in Solid Mechanics addresses fracture mechanics, theory of elasticity, plasticity and damage, bifurcation and stability of materials and structures, and mechanics of composite and biological materials. Research in Structural Mechanics and Design places special emphasis on the development of smart structures, designed as high performance systems capable of adaptation to human and environmental hazards. Another research area includes structural health monitoring, identification and preservation, where interactions between engineers and architects are also involved.
Geotechnics focuses on the mechanics of granular materials and on multi-physics modeling of porous materials, with applications to stability of slopes and design of earth structures.
The research in Mechanical and Mechatronics Systems is mainly focused on autonomous drive vehicles and drive assistance systems, sensors, and measurement systems for space applications, design and active error compensation for machine tools, and control systems for data storage devices.
In addition to the University of Trento, the School includes a Consortium of six other Universities, namely: Bergamo, Brescia, Padova, Trieste, Udine and IUAV-Venezia. The Consortium fulfils a requirement suggested by Italian Ministry to enhance multidisciplinary research and education. The Doctoral title is jointly issued by the Consortium. The partner Universities participate at no cost offering teaching and financial support as well as full-fee scholarships.
The research activities are carried out in co-operation with a number of industrial and research partners, including: Alenia Spazio, European Space Agency (ESA), FIAT, INFN (Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics), JRC-Ispra of the European Union, Peugeot-Citroën (PSA), Servizio Nazionale Dighe and Servizio Sismico Nazionale della Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri, Protezione Civile e ST Microelectronics.
One of the strong points of the School is the cutting-edge level of its research facilities.
- The Materials and Structures Testing Laboratory is the second largest facility for pseudo-dynamics in Europe. The laboratory features a 9m-high L-shaped reaction wall and 1000kN hydraulic jacks, allowing simulating the effect of an earthquake on a full-scale 3-story building.
- The Computational Solid and Structural Mechanics and the Photoelasticity Laboratories are equipped with state-of-the-art commercial software and codes developed within the Lab.
- The Geotechnical Laboratory is fully equipped for mechanical testing and in-situ monitoring. The Lab is one of only two laboratories in the world manufacturing tensiometers for direct measurement of negative pore water pressure down to -2000 kPa.
- The Mechanics and Automatics Laboratory includes facilities for manufacturing technology (metrology, industrial design, process simulation, rapid prototyping); Vehicle dynamics simulation and testing; Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (analysis of tribological aspects of free-floating test mass release during in-flight operation).
Obviously, research is also carried out exploiting laboratories and facilities shared by university, research and industrial partners.
The teaching programme includes monographic courses, cycles of seminars held by internal and external lecturers and laboratory work. The monographic courses are aimed at giving a basic preparation for highly qualified research activities.
In addition to their doctoral research project, doctoral students undertake a comprehensive research training programme individually designed to improve and extend the students’ knowledge and skills. The training programme includes basic and advanced courses, seminars, and stays at foreign universities and research centres.
In order to obtain the title the candidate must earn 180 credits distibuted as follows:
- 50 credits reserved for the attendance of specific courses offered by the School or by other Doctoral School programmes in other universities;
- 20 credits for training courses and/or the attendance of seminars and specialization courses within companies and public and private research institutes. The requirement can be fulfilled by service as a teaching assistant;
- 110 credits for research activity on the specific topic of the Doctoral dissertation.