Structural Engineering


The Structural Engineering research group in Ancona records excellence from the earliest years, with the arrival of Giovanni Menditto among the first full professors, chair in 1976 of the course of Structural Engineering, and of Francesco Martinez Y Cabrera, chair in 1976 of the course of Bridges and Great Structures until 1979. The same course, in the first year of activation, was hold by Sergio Musmeci, considered to be one of the world’s leading Italian structural engineers. Prof. Menditto, who transferred his professorship to Structural Mechanics in the late 1970s, founded the Institute of Structural Mechanics and Structural Engineering. He was the head of the Institute for about 20 years and began the construction of the DICEA Materials and Structures Testing Laboratory, now named after him.

Meanwhile, Luigino Dezi graduated and began his academic career at the Institute of Structural Mechanics and Structural Engineering; He was full professor in 1994 and head of the Institute and the laboratory from 1998 to 2004. He was chair of the course of Structural Engineering and Theory and Design of Bridges. In the next years he become a national and international point of reference in the field of Structural Engineering and Bridge Engineering, participating actively in the main international working groups such as IABSE, ECCS and fib. Besides him, the following retired professors must by cited: Vittorio Mosco, Rodolfo Antonucci, Silvio Albanesi and Roberto Giacchetti, together with Roberto Capozucca, who is now full professor.

In a few years, under the Prof. Dezi’s guidance, a cohesive group developed, based on hard work, collaborations and expertise, from which currently prominent figures in the national academic scene emerged: Andrea Dall’Asta, Graziano Leoni and Alessandro Zona (Full Professors at UniCAM), in addition to current professors at UnivPM, Fabrizio Gara, Laura Ragni and Sandro Carbonari, all of whom were his students. In addition, it is worth mentioning the success of young researchers such as Michele Morici (UniCAM) and others working abroad, such as Enrico Tubaldi (University of StrathClyde), Fabio Freddi (UCL, London) and Alessandro Tombari (University of Brighton).

In the assessments of the research quality, carried out by the Italian national agency for the evaluation of universities and research institutes (ANVUR), the group had very positive ratings, classifying first in 2004-2010 and always in the first quartile in the other two evaluations.


The group’s mission is to deepen, through theoretical and experimental studies, the topics of primary interest in the field of Structural Engineering in both the national and international research framework, and the practice engineering, and to teach the most innovative and professionalizing aspects of the Structural Engineering to new students, including applications, design issues and technological aspects.

In the research field, the group has been and is currently among the international leaders in the field of steel-concrete composite structures and bridges, with significant contributions in the analytical modelling, analysis of the shear-lag effect, long-term effects (creep and shrinkage), and the influence of construction techniques. Many significant contributions have been made by the research group in the field of earthquake engineering such as dynamic soil-foundation-structure interaction, seismic base isolation of buildings and bridges, dynamic characterization for the prediction of the structural behaviour at operating and testing conditions, reinforcement methods with innovative materials, and, more recently, integrated, seismic, and health monitoring, currently ongoing for numerous residential buildings, bridges, and churches.


Materials and Structures Official Testing Laboratory – LPMS
Centro di Taratura LAT N° 160

Research activities

Structural modeling and reliability of structures
  • Structural modelling, probabilistic and sensitivity analyses for the structural reliability assessment.
  • Advanced soil-structure interaction analyses of buildings and bridges.
  • Experimental and numerical activities for the in-situ dynamic characterization of foundation systems, and rocking motion.
Seismic protection of structures
  • Seismic design of reinforced concrete (r.c.), masonry, steel and composite steel-concrete structures and bridges.
  • Nonlinear static and dynamic analyses for the assessment of the seismic behaviour of new or existing buildings up to the ultimate conditions.
  • Advanced analyses for the assessment of specific effects, such as interaction between structural and non-structural elements or inefficient structural joints.
  • Advanced design of base-isolated buildings and bridges, and buildings equipped with internal or external dissipative devices (including dissipative towers)
  • Experimental tests and dynamic identification of dissipative devices, full-scale prototypes and real buildings.
Bridges, viaducts, and footbridges
  • Design of medium and large span bridges with steel-concrete composite decks.
  • Advanced modelling and analysis of composite beams with flexible shear connection accounting for specific effects, such as creep, shrinkage effects, shear lag, post-buckling behaviour of webs, castings optimization and fatigue.
  • Safety assessment of existing bridges and design of static or seismic retrofit.
  • Design of pedestrian bridges and mitigation systems of pedestrian-induced vibrations.
Dynamic identification and monitoring of structures
  • Identification of the dynamic behaviour of buildings and bridges, and definition of calibrated numerical models through advanced algorithms (structural twin models).
  • Structural rehabilitation and proof testing of retrofit interventions.
  • Definition of long-term permanent monitoring systems for the structural integrity control and for the assessments of the seismic response.
  • Identification of damage in structural elements based on dynamic parameters.
Reinforced concrete and prestressed reinforced concrete structures
  • Study of the nonlinear behaviour of reinforced concrete and prestressed concrete structures with also external tendons.
  • Analysis of the effects of creep, shrinkage, and staged construction of structures.
  • Experimental and numerical characterization of static and/or seismic structural systems or subsystems.
Masonry and wooden structures
  • Experimental and numerical investigations of masonry panels for application of homogenization techniques.
  • Experimental and numerical investigations of masonry vaults both of the traditional gravitational type, and of the thin compound type.
  • Definition of the response of modern masonry structures with smooth and/or toothed blocks and continuous and/or partial mortar joints.
  • Advanced analyses for investigating the response of historic and modern buildings in the non-linear field.


Prof. Roberto Capozucca

Prof. Fabrizio Gara

Prof. Sandro Carbonari

Prof. Laura Ragni

Dr. Erica Magagnini

Andrea Conti

Stefano Bufarini

Carlo Perticarini