Tuesday, 22 August 2017

A fruitful PhD workshop in Italy

Guten Morgen Leute,
letzte Monat habe Ich....sorry :) last month I participated in a joint workshop of the University of Padova (ICEA www.dicea.unipd.it) and the Technical University of Hamburg (https://www.tuhh.de/alt/gbt/homepage.html). The workshop was held in Padova at the ICEA department.  

I graduated from the University of Padova with a Bachelor Degree in Civil Engineering and I worked on my bachelor thesis for 5 month in the ICEA department under the supervision of Dr. Fabio Gabrieli (for the brave people, here there is the link to the paper conference). I must say that was very nice and exiting to be back where I started my academic carrier and to present our project INFRASTAR.
Beside the technical topic, I was very curious to meet other PhD students from different environments. Plus I hoped for maybe receiving some good advice on how to face different challenges from the older PhDs :).
Prof. Paolo Simonini and Dr. Francesca Ceccato (hosts of this workshop) arranged it in order to have theoretical session (the first two days) and excursion filed sessions (the last two days).

Day 1:

The first day started in the late afternoon and was dedicated to the introduction of the 4 days workshop explaining the programs and with more information regarding the technical visits in the following days.  

Prof. Simonini introducing the workshop schedule
Prof. Grabe (head of the Institutw of Geotechnical Engineering and Construction Managment in at the TUHH) did a seminar about “Set up of piles due to installation effects” with a case study of the Elbphilharmonie of Hamburg.

The evening couldn't be finished better with pizza and happy hour :)


Day 2:

Seminar of Prof. Grabe
This day was the students presentation day. Different PhD students explained their research and future aim. At the end of the presentations there was time for discussion. I did my presentation as well, and introduced the INFRASTAR project, its partners and framework as well as explaining my research topic and results (I know that you are curious to know what I am exactly doing, but you have to hold your horses until the next blog post :) ).  

Dr. Gabrieli's presentation

Group picture

My presentation :)
 The day finished with a visit to the geotechnical and hydraulic laboratories.


Day 3-4:

Excursion dayyyss!
Source: Deganutti and Trecca; the case study of Cancia, a mountain village treted by a Debris Flow; 2013
The topic of the first excursion was landslides. A field trip was organized to the nearby Dolomiti (Vajont dam and a landslide close to Cortina D'Ampezzo). They are beautiful places for hiking and skiing but they are source of researching and monitoring due to the risk of debris flow and landslide.
A part of the tehnical excursion was focused on the massive lanslide occured at the Vajont dam in the 1963 which caused a man-made megatsunami in the lake.
The dam is built across the valley excavated by the river Vajont. The valley is high and narrow confined with the Toc mountain. The reservoir was designed to contain 150 millions of cubic meter of water and the dam was (and still is) 260 meter high. During the filling and subsequent lowing of water level, a block of circa 270 million cubic meter from one wall of the Toc mountain, sled into the lake at a velocity of 100 km/h, generating a wave of 250 meter height overtopping the dam and flooding the valley below destroying many villages and killing almost 2000 people. Surprisingly the dam remained unbroken by the wave and landslide. The dynamic of the landslide has been extensively and deeply investigated especially on the landslide triggering, water interaction and wave generation.

The second excursion was in Venice.
The technical visit in Venice was at the MOSE. It is a project which involved a series of mobile barriers for the defence from floods sealing the lagoon from the outer sea. As we know, Venice is a city which rests on the surface of the sea, in the last 100 years the city has sunk about 25 cm. With the increase of flood frequency and intensity and the prediction of rising the sea level, the Lagoon area is at risk of catastrophic events.

The barries are located on the three entrance of the lagoon and are designed to separate the lagoon and the sea when a flood is occuring. These gates are resting on the bottom of the sea bed (invisible)  during normal tidal conditions and when it is necessary (case of high tide), compressed air is pump inside the barriers causing them to rise up out of the sea and protecting the Venice from the flood.

The goal of the MOSE project is not just the defence from floods and sea storms but also has important activities regarding the defence, recuperation and management of the environment. These activities of protection and reconstruction of the lagoon habitats guarantee essential ecological and hydrodynamic functions and ecosystem biodiversity.
This was a very fruitful exchange of information among young researchers and interesting field visits.  
I wish the best of luck to all of them to accomplish their goals during their PhD carriers.

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