Mechanics of Advanced Materials and Structures (MAMaS)

Today, advanced materials and structures can be designed with tailored properties and/or smart capabilities to meet specific design requirements.

Advanced materials include, but are not limited to:

  • fibre-reinforced polymer (FRP) composite laminates, made of high-strength fibres embedded in a polymer matrix: they are characterised by outstanding mechanical properties and used for structural applications in all fields of engineering;
  • hybrid composites, e.g., fibre-metal laminates (FMLs), made of FRP and metal layers and mostly used in the aerospace sector;
  • piezo-electric materials, able to convert mechanical energy into electrical energy, and vice versa; they are used as embedded sensors and actuators, as well as for energy harvesting;
  • shape-memory alloys, i.e. metallic alloys that recover their initial shape as a consequence of temperature changes; they are used mainly as unconventional actuators.

Examples of advanced structures include:

  • all-composite or hybrid composite-metal civil engineering structures, e.g., light-weight footbridges, movable bridges, long-span roofs, etc.;
  • structures with embedded sensors for structural health monitoring, e.g., bridges, wind turbines, pipelines, etc.;
  • deployable structures, e.g., tensegrity structures, inflatable structures, membranes, etc.;
  • thin-walled structures;
  • structures interacting with fluids.

The Mechanics of Advanced Materials and Structures (MAMaS) research group develops analytical models, numerical simulations, and experimental testing at several scales of observation: from the microscale of constituent materials to the mesoscale of structural elements, and to the macroscale of real structures. Focus is on the mechanical behaviour, also coupled with other physical phenomena. Particular attention is devoted to the understanding of their specific failure modes, e.g., fracture, fatigue, plasticity, instability, etc.

Laboratory test on composite laminated specimen
Schematic of piezo-electric energy harvester
Finite element model of hybrid FRP-steel movable bridge
Finite element simulation of deployable truss structure

Research group

Prof. Paolo S. Valvo
Eng. Paolo Fisicaro
Eng. Jakub Rzeczkowski

Eng. Cristiano Alocci
Eng. Paola Bertolini
Eng. Jacopo Bonari
Eng. Davide Colonna
Eng. Nicola Dardano
Eng. Erika Davini
Dr. Luca Taglialegne

External collaborations:

Prof. Jarosław Bieniaś, Lublin University of Technology, Poland
Prof. Anita Catapano, Institut de Mécanique et Ingénierie de Bordeaux, France
Dr. Konrad Dadej, Lublin University of Technology, Poland
Prof. Reza Haghani Dogaheh, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden
Prof. Marco Montemurro, Institut de Mécanique et Ingénierie de Bordeaux, France
Prof. Ramazan-Ali Jafari-Talookolaei, Babol Noshirvani University of Technology, Iran
Prof. Marco Paggi, IMT School for Advanced Studies, Lucca, Italy
Prof. Sylwester Samborski, Lublin University of Technology, Poland


  • SUREBridge – Sustainable Refurbishment of Existing Bridges, funded by the European Commission under FP7 through the ERA-NET Plus Infravation 2014 Call (
  • BIHO 2017 – Bando Incentivi di Ateneo per la presentazione di proposte HOrizon 2020 – Azione 1, funded by the University of Pisa.
  • Lublin University of Technology – Regional Excellence Initiative, funded by the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education (Contract No. 030/RID/2018/19).
  • PRA 2018–2019 – Progetti di Ricerca di Ateneo, funded by the University of Pisa under project “Multi-scale Modelling in Structural Engineering”.

Main publications:

  • Bertolini, P.; Eder, M.A.; Taglialegne, L.; Valvo, P.S., Stresses in constant tapered beams with thin-walled rectangular and circular cross sections, Thin-Walled Structures, 137:527–540 (2019).
  • Alocci, C.; Valvo, P.S., Feasibility study of a hybrid FRP-steel cable-stayed pedestrian swing bridge, Engineering Structures, 189:359–372 (2019).
  • Bennati, S.; Fisicaro, P.; Taglialegne, L.; Valvo, P.S., An elastic-interface model for the delamination of bending-extension coupled laminates, Applied Sciences, 9(17)3560:1–28 (2019).
  • Rzeczkowski, J.; Samborski, S.; Valvo, P.S., Effect of stiffness matrices terms on delamination front shape in laminates with elastic couplings, Composite Structures, 233 111547:1–9 (2020).
  • Dadej, K.; Bieniaś, J.; Valvo, P.S. Experimental Testing and Analytical Modeling of Asymmetric End-Notched Flexure Tests on Glass-Fiber Metal Laminates, Metals, 10(1)56:1–17 (2020).
  • Ramian, A.; Jafari-Talookolaei, R.-A.; Valvo, P.S.; Abedi, M., Free vibration analysis of sandwich plates with compressible core in contact with fluid, Thin-Walled Structures (in press).