Call of Competitive Examinations Research Doctorate Courses

Call for PhD Applications XXXIII Cycle, A.Y 2017/2018

Beginning of PhD Courses: 1st November 2017

Opening of on-line applications: 07 July 2017 at 14.00 hrs (Italian Time);

Closing of on-line applications: 25 August 2017 at 13.00 hrs (Italian Time)

To register click the link RELATED WEBSITES

No tuition fees are envisaged to participate in the competitive examination for PhD Courses.

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Example of possible research topics

Mechanobiology: Study, analysis and development of kinetic-diffusion models of ligands-receptors interactions on cell membranes for the interpretation of various phenomenological aspects of cell molecular biology, in collaboration with researcher of the department of Molecular and Translational Medicine and of the department of Civil, Environmental, Architectural Engineering and Mathematics.

Model reduction in complex kinetic schemes, from combustion to biology:  Development, implementation, application and comparisons of mathematical methods of model order reduction already proven successful for complex combustion kinetics, with the objective to ‘export’ and validate them to biological modelling frameworks requiring complex kinetic schemes.

Steepest entropy ascent in continuum mechanics:  Analysis and development of models of plasticity and constitutive relations for complex fluids and microstructured solids. Formulation in terms of variational schemes such as ‘steepest entropy ascent’, GENERIC and ‘maximum entropy production’ by means of current methods of ‘non-equilibrium thermodynamics’.

Active membranes and sensors for detection/removal of persistent pollutants: Sensitive detection and efficient removal of micropollutants are challenging tasks in environmental remediation. This research activity aims at developing a new class of adaptive materials that can efficiently capture and remove various micropollutants, including drugs, persistent organic pollutants and inorganic species like hexavalent chromium and arsenite/arseniate ions. The micropollutants are captured by receptors obtained by either raw or waste materials and the individual components are integrated in membranes/adaptive scavengers able to operate in real working conditions.

Engineering nano- and microparticles for microwelding, nanofabrication and laser writing: Most of the critical steps in nanofabrication, microelectronics and additive manufacturing rely on precise control of melting processes at the micro- or even nanoscale. This research activity aims at taking advantage of nanointerface engineering for optimising the opto-thermal properties of core/shell beads and related heterostructures that can be applied to different laser-based processes, including micro- and nanowelding, nanofabrication, information storage, thermal and chemical sensing and photothermal therapy .

Analysis of propulsion systems for vehicles with low environmental impact.

The path towards a higher environmental sustainability in the field of mobility has made an unexpected acceleration over the last ten years, especially when compared with the limited progresses made throughout the last century. This is promoting a transition to what is commonly referred to as “sustainable mobility”, characterized by a progressive replacement of traditional vehicles powered by fuels derived from fossil energy resources. The use of electricity and hydrogen is in fact a revolution in the automotive industry, leading to maturity of innovative technologies such as electric, hybrid and fuel cell propulsion systems. The study and development of innovative propulsion systems, based on energy carriers with low environmental impact, also integrated with on-board energy recovery systems, represents a research field with high level of multidisciplinarity and high potential for innovation.

Heat engines based on Rankine cycles and operating with unconventional working fluids.

The need to resort to “sustainable” systems for energy production and energy conversion and the increasing use of renewable energies sources, require often the study of engines suited to different thermal sources and to different power sizes. The modes of operation and control must then meet the most varied situations and hence the opportunity to realize simple, reliable engines and the need to investigate its dynamic aspects too. Furthermore, the choice of working fluid and the configuration of the thermodynamic cycle affect the type and the size of the engine components. A detailed design of turbomachines and of heat exchangers requires sophisticated thermo-fluid-dynamic analysis techniques. At last, the working fluid must have the necessary thermal stability, at the operating temperatures and in presence of the materials with which the engine will be made. The study and development of Rankine cycle thermodynamic engines, operating with unconventional working fluids, represents a research field with a high level of multidisciplinarity and a high potential for innovation.

Stability monitoring of historical buildings with a cosmic ray tracking system. Primary cosmic rays are particles coming from the Sun and the outer space. Upon impact with the Earth’s atmosphere, they usually produce showers of secondary particles, mainly muons, which are extremely penetrating. Cosmic rays have been successfully used not only in scientific studies, but also in several industrial and civil applications, usually to inspect the inner composition of both artificial and natural structures. In this application environment, the research activity aims at using cosmic rays to monitor the stability of historical buildings, where mechanical or optical sensors could not be used. The research activity will concentrate in developing specific detectors for the application along with the measurement techniques. The final goal will be to build a fully operational prototype that could monitor the stability of a structure of small/medium dimensions.

Design and validate models predicting the diffusion through ultrathin oxide layers deposited by Atomic Layer Deposition for target applications. ALD has recently emerged as a powerful and widely used tool for many industrial and research applications. For example, ALD is widely employed in microelectronics and biomedical applications. Relevant are its uses to create diffusion barriers for gases and water, to avoid ion migration and, recently, also to control drug dissolution. In spite of the wide use of ADL, comprehensive models able to predict the physical-chemical properties of layers deposited with this technique is still missing, while this would be highly desirable for designing customized depositions having optimal properties for target applications.

Integrated Assessment modelling to support decision making in planning/controlling multi-dimension systems. Formalization, development, implementation and validation of mathematical models to simulate and forecast non-linear dynamical systems. Formalization, development, implementation and application of decision support and control systems for environmental (air pollution, climate change, ….), social, health , … systems.

Rheological investigation and modelling of semi-solid metals

Semi-solid processing of metals is an attracting technology due to its ability to produce sound casting. Lately, significant attention has been paid by automotive industries for the production of high performance and light parts. The process involves forming metallic alloys between the solidus and the liquidus. For the process to operate, the microstructure must consist of solid spheroids in the liquid matrix, rather than dendrites. In this condition, the material flows under a shear stress, allowing the complete filling of the mould cavity. Semi-solid metal alloys exhibit non-Newtonian flow properties, which do not only depend on the materials current thermal and kinetic state, but also on the respective histories. The aim of the study is to analyse the rheological properties of partially solidified alloys, by experimental tests, in order to understand the importance of yield stress. The obtained results can be useful to optimize the industrial process parameter. Furthermore, reliable experimental results can allow the validation of a thixotropic model to be implemented in simulation software.

3D printed anatomic models for surgical training.

The field of interest is on ENT- and neuro-surgery. At the moment, optimal surgical training is at risk, being limited by residents’ hours restrictions. Specimens are expensive and some pathological conditions are impossible to simulate. The objective of this project is to create and validate surgical 3D models for pre-clinical surgical training produced with materials mimicking the human tissues and using Additive Manufacturing technologies.

Nanofiller elastomer composites. The use of nanoparticles (e.g. carbon nanotubes, graphene) as reinforcing fillers for elastomeric systems can impart specific properties, not achievable only with traditional fillers, such as anisotropic properties, reduced weight and functional properties. This project aims at exploit such effects for industrial applications of rubber components.

Recycling of rubber industrial scrap. Rubber recycling is more and more urgent for environmental reasons. During the production of technical rubber goods, much of the vulcanized product (flash) is a scrap, which has to be eliminated. This project aims at studying the reuse of such scrap and its reintroduction into the production process.