Regarding the studies about civil constructions and preservation of cultural heritage, the main competences and activities of the Materials Area can be grouped into three lines of intervention, outlined below:
Durability of building materials, Conservation of cultural heritage and New materials and technologies for the construction sector. Among these, some projects are documented by publications and funding over the past two years, while others have been submitted for the application to national and international calls.
In this context it is important to note that the issue of “durability” is a quite young discipline, considered strategic by the scientific community. Restoration of reinforced concrete buildings will gain increasing importance in the next future. Interventions should start from an accurate investigation of the causes and mechanisms of environmental degradation, which always involves issues related to materials. At this purpose the laboratory Cement Materials has been set-up, being now a center of active collaboration among different departments and laboratories of the University.
In this research area the development and consolidation of the expertise within the knowledge and conservation of architectural, archaeological, historical and artistic properties which is a crucial topic for the management of Cultural Heritage and a serious socio-economic problem in advanced societies. The activities of this research line are documented by several publications and projects with major Institutions of the territory.
Finally it is important to stress that the continuous development of new materials (cement, composites, coatings…) give a strong impetus to the whole field. In all the above mentioned areas methods of diagnosis are of great importance: studies about non invasive investigations based on optical methods are in progress. Since many years, the involved research groups provide an annual course of training for professionals in the field of diagnostic and conservation of Cultural Heritage.