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The Structures Group is a young and active group, with cooperation with major national and international institutions. The group focus on most structural materials (such as concrete, masonry, steel and timber), in numerical and experimental techniques (such as advanced computational modelling, characterization of constitutive laws, non-destructive testing, reliability and dynamics), in product development for the building industry, in the definition of design rules, in techniques for diagnosis, inspection and survey of existing structures and in techniques for strengthening of existing structures. The objective is to address the aspects of conception, analysis, design and detailing of structures, in a perspective of high performance associated with increased safety, lower costs in the full life-cycle analysis and reduction of environmental impact.

The group is organized in three smaller divisions, with ample interaction: Bridges and composite steel-concrete structures; Historical and masonry structures website; Steel fiber reinforced concrete and composite materials website. More than fifteen research projects have been externally funded in the last triennium, with a total value for University of Minho of about 1.3 million Euros. The approach towards R&D is multidisciplinary, internally linked among the group and seeking external expertise from other Civil Engineering Departments (e.g. Dynamics, Timber, Fire, etc.) and other fields of knowledge (e.g. Material Science, Physics, Geology, Electronics, etc.)

The group is well equipped, including state-of-the-art non-destructive testing equipment such as radar, sonic testing, drilling resistance measuring system, dynamic identification, resistograph, boroscopic camera, etc., and servo-controlled actuators and modern data acquisition systems, being of particular relevance a loading frame of 500 ton and a biaxial testing machine of 200 ton capacity and for 1 m2 specimens. The laboratory includes a reaction slab, a reaction wall and a crane of 5 tons, for a total area of 500 m2. In addition, advanced software for sophisticated non-linear analysis, both commercial and in-house developed, are available.

After a swift growth, stabilization is in progress:

(a) the doctoral studies of the staff members is to be completed in the next triennium;

(b) total number of PhD students reached a constant value of 25;

(c) recent shift from PhD students to Post-Doctoral collaborators.

The group is rather internationally oriented, with significant involvement in European projects, journals, committees, joint publications with foreign researchers, and exchange of doctoral students for traineeships. A high record of publications in major international journals has been achieved, together with the regular organization of scientific meetings and seminars.