Materials and Structural Testing


The Materials and Structural Testing Laboratory is part of the Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering (shortened with the Italian acronym DICAM) of the University of Trento. Besides providing the certification for building materials, the Laboratory staff carries out theoretical and experimental analysis of structures and structural elements in reinforced and pre-stressed concrete, steel, timber; executes structural monitoring of in situ structures; is active in the field of pseudo-dynamic testing (see the 3D Laboratory sketch).

The essential parts of the Materials and Structural Testing Laboratory are the bi-directional reaction wall, consisting of a 9.5 m tall pre-stressed concrete wall, and the 42 m long reaction floor; both structures are endowed of regularly placed holes for a fast and effective connection of structures and loading devices. The wall and the floor are designed to resist forces of several MN, which are necessary to deform and seriously damage the full-scale test models of structures (see the maximum loading sketch below). They are equipped of an high-pressure hydraulic distribution system. Two 10 tons bridge-cranes permit the movement and positioning of test structures.
By means of computer controlled hydraulic actuators it is possible to expose full scale structures to dynamic strong forces and control the resulting displacements with high precision. In addition to static and cyclic tests on large structures and components, the facility is quipped for the so-called pseudo-dynamic test (PSD) technique, enabling the simulation of earthquake loading of full-scale buildings.

Main activities:

  • Certification for building materials according to the Italian regulations;
  • Static, cyclic and pseudo-dynamic experimental testing of full-size and large-scale structures, sub-assemblages and members made by normal and pre-stressed reinforced concrete, steel, timber, etc.;
  • Design of innovative structural systems;
  • Numerical simulations;
  • Structural monitoring;
  • Final inspections on in situ structures.



Responsible: R. Zandonini - Full Professor

  • M. Molinari - Ph.D. C. Eng. / Chief Engineer
  • L. Corradini - Technical Assistant
  • S. Girardi - Technical Assistant
  • I. Brandolise - Technical Assistant
  • T. Dalla Torre - Technical Assistant
  • A. Pojer - Technical Assistant
  • M. Graziadei - Technical Assistant


The hydraulic system of the new Large-Scale Testing Laboratory (dimension 4295 x 1660 x 950 cm) has been completed in fall 2002 (see detailed document). It has the following general characteristics:

  • Header pipeline flow: 1500 lpm (v = 4.5 m/s);
  • Riser pipeline flow: 1200 lpm (v = 4.5 m/s);
  • Engaged power of 600 kW;
  • Work (high) pressure of 21 MPa.

The following equipment is available in the laboratory:

  • Oleodynamic universal testing machine - Metrocom - 1000 kN;
  • Mechanical universal testing machine - Galdabini - 100 kN;
  • Compression test rig - Controls - 300 tons;
  • +1000/-1000 kN MTS dynamic actuator;
  • +1000/-640 kN MTS actuator;
  • Jacks and reaction frames up to 2000 kN.

The large facility is fully operational.


LPMS - Laboratory for Material and Structural Testing
Via Mesiano, 77 - 38123 Trento
tel. +39 0461 282560 - 2569 - 2577
fax +39 0461 282567