Radical developments in material science, telecommunication and sensor technology are about to transform the way of engineering design is conceived and carried out. In the next ten years smart materials and structures, with embedded sensors and systems capable of self-diagnosis, will be part of our life, from simple goods to civil buildings. These elements will be permanently connected through a distributed network so that owners, users, and everybody involved in the management process – connected via the Internet – can check the condition of the elements during production, transportation, installation and operation.

The scope of the School is to provide an overview of smart technologies from a cross-disciplinary perspective with special focus on fiber optic sensors, smart materials, nano- and micro-technologies, wireless sensor networks, autonomous mobile sensors, control devices, nondestructive evaluation, data analysis and decision making.

International lecturers:

  • Branko Glisic, Princeton University, USA
  • Dionisio Bernal, Northeastern University, USA
  • Wieslaw Ostachowicz, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland
  • Marcus Perry, University of Strathclyde, UK
  • Yang Wang, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA.

Who should attend:

Graduate students and postdoctoral researchers doing research in the field of new technology and data analysis applied to structural health monitoring and structural control.

Career opportunities:

The School is a unique chance to meet your peers and the experts in the field.

Scholarships for international students:

The School offers 5 scholarships covering the registration fee to support the participation of international students.

Important dates:

  • June 17, 2018 - Scholarship application deadline
  • June 22, 2018 - Notification of scholarship acceptance
  • July 1, 2018 - Registration deadline
  • July 16-19, 2018 - School event
Course outline

Fiber optic sensors.
Introduction to fiber optic sensors. Basic functional principles: Michelson interferometry, Fabry-Perot interferometry, Bragg-gratings, light scattering. Classification of sensors by gauge length; advantages and challenges. Long-gauge sensors and global structural monitoring: meaning of a long-gauge sensor measurement; measurement error inherent to gauge length; sensor topologies and local structural monitoring; global structural monitoring; examples from practice. Distributed sensors and integrity monitoring: meaning of a distributed measurement; direct damage detection and integrity monitoring concept; applicability; examples from practice.

Experimental modal analysis and identification.
Measurement techniques: stepped sine tests, shock tests, ambient vibration tests. Sensors and exciters. Basic signal analysis. Classical frequency domain identification. Review of Case Studies. Modal analysis of civil structures: motivation and case studies. Bridges and buildings. Historic structures. Laboratory setups. Structural elements. Model Updating. Sensitivity analysis. Non linear optimization. Definition of target function. Optimization algorithms.

Linear systems and time domain identification.
Linear systems in state-space form and transformation from continuous to sampled time. Concepts of observability and controllability. Relation of state space description to the modal model. Classical and arbitrary damping. Time domain identification; Eigensystem Realization Algorithm.

Damage detection and localization.
Fundamentals of the Kalman filter and its use as a damage detector. Damage localization using null space techniques. Methods for input-output and for cases where only output measurements are available.

Control of dynamical systems.
Absolute and relative stability analysis. Output feedback stability. Control system design. Specifications. PID control. Sensitivity to perturbance and parameter variation. Complex control structures. Discrete-time control system design. Linear dynamics of multivariable systems. State feedback control. State observers. Reference-model control design. Adaptive control. Structural control. Active, hybrid and semi-active structural control. Response mitigation of civil engineering structures. Demonstration in the lab of Single- and Multiple-DoF systems.

NDT methods.
Ultrasounds with frequency analysis; Nonlinear ultrasounds; Laser excited ultrasounds; Eddy current; Strain gauges. Active thermography, THz technology, Electro–mechanical impedance method. Vibration based methods; Guided wave methods; Acoustic Emission; Comparative Vacuum Monitoring; Electromagnetic layer. Damage modeling. Levels of Health Monitoring.

Elastic wave based methods in SHM.
Spectral Finite Element Methods. Wave propagation in composite structures. Damage assessment in composite plates. Composite structures: potentials and limitations. Wave propagation modeling in plate and shell–like structures. Optimal sensor network – Estimation of optimal array of sensors placement. 3D laser scanning vibrometry techniques for damage detection (with signal processing).

Homework (ZIP | 672 KB)

Course schedule

Monday, July 16, 2018

 9.30-11.00Registration and welcome
11.00-12.45Marcus Perry: An Introduction to Wireless Sensor Networks 
12.45-14.30Lunch break
14.30-16.15 Yang Wang: Wireless Sensing for Civil Structures 
16.15-16.30 Coffee break 
16.30-18.15 Yang Wang: Structural System Identification and Model Updating 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

9.00-10.45 Marcus Perry: Smart Cement and Concrete 
10.45-11.00Coffee break 
11.00-12.45 Branko Glisic: Introduction to Fiber Optic Sensors
12.45-14.30 Lunch break 
14.30-16.15 Branko Glisic: Long-Gauge Sensors and Global Structural Monitoring 
16.15-16.30Coffee break 
16.30-18.15Branko Glisic: Distributed Sensors and Integrity Monitoring
20.00-23.00Social dinner

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

9.00-10.45Dionisio Bernal: Linear System's Theory and Some New Damage Localization Schemes
10.45-11.00 Coffee break 
11.00-12.45 Dionisio Bernal: Linear System's Theory and Some New Damage Localization Schemes (continued)
12.45-14.30Lunch break 
14.30-16.15Wieslaw Ostachowicz: Non-destructive Assessment of Structural Integrity and Failures 
16.15-16.30Coffee break 
16.30-18.15Wieslaw Ostachowicz: Potential and Limitations in Diagnosis of Failures 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

9.00-10.45 Dionisio Bernal: An Introduction to Closed Loop Structural Health Monitoring 
10.45-11.00Coffee break 
11.00-12.45Daniele Zonta: Bayesian Logic for Smart Structural Elements  
12.45-14.30Lunch break 
14.30-16.15Daniele Zonta: The Mechanical Equivalent of Logical Inference 
16.15-16.30Closing remarks

The School offers 5 scholarships to support the participation of international students, willing to attend the School. The program is open to postdoctoral researchers and graduate students (Master's and doctoral students) currently enrolled in an engineering or related program.

The scholarship will cover the school registration fee.

How to apply

Applicants must submit to the school coordinators, by email (smartstructures@unitn.it):

  • a personal CV/resume;
  • a letter of recommendation written by their advisor.

Application deadline is June 17, 2018.

Notification of acceptance

Applications will be reviewed by the organizing committee and selected based on relevance of interest and potential for successful at studying in an international setting.

Applicants will be notified by June 22, 2018.

School venue

The school will be held at the "Aula 5" of the Faculty of Law (Facoltà di Giurisprudenza) of the University of Trento (Via Verdi 53, 38122 Trento), located in the city center, close to the Cathedral (Piazza Duomo) and 10 minutes walk from the railway station.

About Trento

Trento is a beautiful city in the heart of the Dolomites, near Lake Garda. The center has a strong Renaissance character with many beautiful frescoed buildings, some built to accommodate delegates to the Council of Trent (1545-1563). The Trento surroundings offer beautiful naturalistic tracks in high mountains, with many lakes and ancient castles.

Worth a visit:
  • Castello del Buonconsiglio: this castle is a "must see" attraction as it represents the main monument of the city.
  • Duomo: the Duomo of Trento, also known as Saint Vigilius Cathedral, is located in the main square of Trento.
  • Palazzo delle Albere: a representative villa, built in Renaissance style, now hosting a permanent modern art museum.
  • Museo diocesano tridentino: next to the Duomo, Palazzo Pretorio hosts a permanent exhibition.
  • Roman ruins: in Piazza Battisti you can access the ruins of ancient Trento built by the Romans. This is actually another city under Trento.
Close to Trento

Levico – Caldonazzo - Garda lakes. The lakes are perfect for both relaxing in the sun and for water sports. In particular, Lake Garda is the largest and most important lake in Italy, every year attracting thousands of tourists from all over the world, the surrounding towns and offering many attractions and events.

MART Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto - Over 12,000 paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures today constitute Mart’s rich holdings.

Castel Toblino - An impressive landscape: a medieval castle surrounded by a small lake among the mountains.

How to get to Trento

By car or coach
You can reach Trento by the following roads: Strada Statale dell'Abetone e del Brennero; Autostrada del Brennero – A22 motorway; Strada della Valsugana for those coming from Venice; and Strada Statale 45 bis (Gardesana Occidentale) for those coming from Brescia.

By train
Two main lines reach Trento: the Brennero line (from Rome to Innsbruck) and the Valsugana line (from Venice to Trento).
Timetable details: Reiseauskunft; Trenitalia

By plane
The closest airports to Trento are the following:
Verona Catullo Airport – 90 km
Venezia Marco Polo – 125 km
Milano Linate – 245 km
Milano Malpensa – 300km
Bolzano – 60 km
Various motorways allow quick and easy travel to the airports.

Getting around

Trento has an efficient city bus service (orange buses) run by Trentino Trasporti SpA. Buses to nearby towns are run by the same company. If you visit the Trentino Trasporti office at the main railway station you can pick up a free timetable “Guida ai trasporti del Trentino”. Reserve a taxi by calling +39-0461-930002 or www.ttspa.it.

An accomodation list is available in the download area.



School Chairs
Prof. Daniele Zonta
Prof. Oreste S. Bursi
Tel. +39-0461-282537 smartstructures@unitn.it
Organizing Secretariat
Ms. Denise Bolognani denise.bolognani@unitn.it
Dr. Carlo Cappello carlo.cappello@unitn.it
Tel. +39-0461-282575