PoliNDT - Laboratory for Structural Monitoring and Diagnostics



The principal objective of the laboratory is to carry out research into new methods for monitoring and diagnosing stability, functionality and durability of structures and civil and mechanical engineering components. The diversified and combined expertise of the participating departments allows new lines of research to be implemented, including:

  • integration and improvement of established diagnostic methods for different types of materials;
  • development of innovative or low-cost instruments and sensors, integrating structural diagnostics and monitoring knowhow with the physics of sensors and digital and analogue electronics;
  • automation of the monitoring aspects of large structures and hazardous or difficult to access locations.

The PoliNDT laboratory also aims at providing momentum to the teaching of structural monitoring and diagnostics in degree and PhD programmes, as well as post-graduate professional training. In addition, thanks to the joint efforts of laboratories already engaged in on-site diagnostics and the collaboration of other "Politecnico" structures, such as the Materials, Structures and Construction Testing Laboratory, the PoliNDT laboratory can also offer its services to third parties and provide support to other University Departments for in-situ structural diagnostics.


  • Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (DICA)
  • Department of Mechanical Engineering (DMEC)
  • Department of Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Engineering (DCMC)
  • Department of Electronics, Information and Bioengineering (DEIB)


The PoliNDT laboratory has access to a wide range of structural monitoring instruments made available by the departments that have participated in setting-up this new structure. These can be supplemented by new acquisitions, briefly described below, made possible thanks to the support of the University.

  • System for measuring acoustic emissions - The system consists of a complete measurement chain for measuring elastic waves on 8 sensors in a 2.5kHz-1MHz frequency range, suitable for use on a wide variety of structural elements and mechanical components. The open and expandable architecture allows it to be used for acoustic tomography with different sources, including pulsed laser
  • Low frequency tomograph with shear wave pulses - The operation of this instrument is based on the reflection of shear wave pulses from cracks, cavities and other discontinuities in the material (pulse-echo method). Thanks to the repeated application of this principle and the use of an array of 12 emission-reception modules, the instrument can produce a 2D/3D tomograph of concrete objects, allowing identification of defects and pathologies of structures that can only be accessed from one side (paving, tunnels, etc.)
  • Ion chromatograph - The instrument allows in-situ analysis of the concentration of ions dissolved in solutions extracted from small samples of material, by measuring the presence and concentration of aggressive agents (e.g. chlorides and sulphates in concrete or soluble salts in masonry). The operating principle is based on chemical suppression (anions) and electronic suppression (cations) and guarantees high instrument sensitivity
  • Pulsed laser source for elastic wave excitation - The proposed source, suitable for use in-situ, has a pulse energy of up to 100mJ, which can stimulate elastic waves for contact-free monitoring, an avant-garde technique for non-destructive testing. The mechanical stimuli induced by the thermal and ablation effect are extremely localised in both space and time. The source can be combined with classic acoustic emission receivers or with any new interferometric detectors developed for the project

Services provided

  • Investigation using non-destructive testing techniques on elements in metal, alloy, wood, masonry, concrete, composite materials, etc.
  • Investigation of structures damaged by overloading, corrosion, seismic action, fire, etc.
  • Development and integration of non-destructive techniques for carrying out diagnostics on civil and mechanical engineering components
  • Development of new or low-cost sensors and instruments
  • Automation of investigations and development of monitoring systems
  • Teaching support for subjects involving the diagnostics of structures and components (durability, preservation and restoration, experimentation and testing, plant engineering, etc.)
  • Organisation of professional training courses on the subject of structural monitoring/diagnostics and for the qualification of operators in the non-destructive testing sector

Procedures and costs of using equipment

The PoliNDT laboratory performs its services as part of research projects agreed with public and private entities. The laboratory is also available for carrying out investigations on behalf of third parties. The cost of these services will be assessed on the basis of the official tariffs of the Departmental laboratories concerned, with special concessions for Politecnico di Milano Departments. Prof. Felicetti or another of the Management Committee professors may be contacted for defining any requirements.

Contact Point
Roberto Felicetti
Ph. +39.02.2399.4388
Mob. +39.335.7982364

Management Committee