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Chair for Testing in Materials and Structures

Katedra za preizkušanje materialov in konstrukcij (KPMK)

Building materials are the basic elements of building structures, bridges, tunnels, reservoirs, industrial and power structures. They are also indispensable in rehabilitations, renovations and reconstructions. Civil engineer must know mechanical, physical as well as mineralogical and chemical properties of building materials and their response in constructional complexes considering different environmental impacts.

For this reason members of the Chair for Testing in Materials and Structures are intensively focused on the development and testing of materials, structural elements and constructional complexes, in our laboratory and in the field. We also develop and test systems for non-destructive analysis of structures, before selecting the measures for their strengthening or reconstruction. Special attention is paid to historic structures and cultural heritage buildings, where we closely cooperate with the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia.

The Chair consists of 10 members: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Vlatko Bosiljkov as Head, Prof. Dr. Violeta Bokan Bosiljkov, Assist. Dr. David Antolinc, Assist. Dr. Petra Štukovnik, Franci Čepon, CE, Assist. Dr. Meta Kržan and Dr. Barbara Vodopivec.

Educational activity

As members of the Chair for Testing in Materials and Structures we hold lectures and provide tutorials for six courses at the undergraduate study programs offered by the Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering, UL. We meet students of the academic study programs Civil Engineering and Water Science and Environmental Engineering and students of the higher education professional study program Construction Management already in the first year within the course Building Materials. The course provides students with knowledge on the basic properties of building materials and how to test them, how to select materials with optimum properties for specific purpose of use. In laboratory tutorials students perform the tests independently.

Lectures, seminar tutorials and four sets of thematic field trips are all part of teaching within the course Secondary and Waste Materials Management. Field trips are intended to show the students a whole set of various approaches to secondary and master material management. Within seminar work each student prepares an independent outline scheme and management concept for selected secondary and waste materials, or prepares a critical analysis of different national practices in this area.

The course Repair and Testing of Structures is intended for students of the master study program Civil Engineering. Related to the repair of structures, students learn about the basic elements of construction diagnostics, followed by the study of strengthening measures. In small groups student re-design an existing structure, calculate the strengthening measures and publicly defend their seminar work. Related to the testing of structures, students learn about different measuring procedures, instruments for the acquisition of mechanical and physical quantities as well as in-situ and laboratory investigations. At selected structural systems they perform model tests up to failure, analyse the achieved results and perform nonlinear numerical analysis of the tested structure.

The Chair members are coordinators of the course Buildings 1 in the first year of the academic study program Civil Engineering. The course provides students with the basic knowledge how to solve problems related to buildings and their complexes. Special focus of the course is on building physics and energy efficiency. Besides obligatory tutorials, students also prepare seminar works, a building model, and present their final product (small single-family house).

Research and professional activity

The Chair members implement their research work within the research program P2-0185 Earthquake Engineering, as well as in numerous European and other international projects. Experimentally supported analyses of cultural heritage buildings and innovative structural elements, such as glued-laminated timber frames filled with laminated glass plates or panels from waste packaging for the use in civil engineering, are oriented towards the protection of built heritage on one side, and towards innovative solutions for modern buildings on the other, with the final aim to provide sustainable development of our urban and rural areas. Testing of structural elements is always supported by investigations of relevant mechanical and physical properties at the macro level. For mineral materials, such as brick, concrete, mortar and injection mass, we also test their chemical compositions and microstructures, in cooperation with other laboratories within the UL. The latest technologies in the area of materials with mineral binders and their rheology in fresh state belong to an area with intensive research work carried out by the Chair members with respect to materials. Destructive tests supplement the non-destructive test methods, where we use a combination of different methods to see the interior of structural elements without invasive interventions.

Professional work of our Chair focuses on experimentally supported development of new construction products or technologies for the economy and on the elaboration of expert opinions for different clients. We are also in charge of activities for the preparation of national and European legislation from the area of civil engineering.

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