Official Material and Structural Testing Laboratory b

The Official Material and Structural Testing Laboratory offers students and research personnel of the University of Florence the possibility to carry out experimental research on construction materials, both traditional and innovative, on structural components and on structures, both in scale and not in scale (vaults, arches, cupolas, panels, etc.). The Laboratory was created in 1961 in order to provide testing for third parties, and additionally, for providing support for teaching and research activities. It has instruments and equipment for the execution of mechanical, physical and chemical testing of materials, building components, structural elements and existing structures. 


Opening hours


Opening hours:

Monday to Friday from 8:30 to 13:30, as well as Monday and Friday afternoons from 14:30 to 17:30. 



The Laboratory carries out tests on construction materials, both traditional and innovative; static and dynamic tests on structures and structural elements in steel, reinforced and precompressed concrete and masonry; load testing and measurement and monitoring of the deformative state of the structure; structural diagnostics and consolidation techniques. The Laboratory specialises on scale model testing of structures characterised by complex geometrics (vaults, arches, cupolas). The mentioned activities are aimed both at experimental projects and contracts for third parties, for which the Laboratory issues the appropriate certifications in accordance with the current regulations. 


Investigation typologies


Main research typologies carried out by the Laboratory:

  • compression tests; 
  • direct and indirect traction testing;
  • durability tests;
  • tests using shake-tables;
  • tests on structures and structural elements in steel, reinforced and precompressed concrete;
  • traditional and innovative techniques (FRP, FRCM, SRG, wood);
  • scale model testing;

Main typologies of research carried out in situ:

  • destructive and non-destructive testing on existing structures:
  1. double and single flat jacks;   
  2. probing; 
  3. pachometric analysis;
  4. ultrasonic analysis;
  5. schlerometric analysis;
  • load testing;
  • deformometric testing;
  • survey and control of the fissures and decay of the structure.

The Laboratory has the capacity to carry out the necessary actions for obtaining the degree of knowledge envisaged by the current legislation concerning ordinary and strategic buildings, as well as those with a particular historico-monumental importance, and has a wide experience regarding agreements with major public entities (Mibact, Tuscan Region, UNESCO, World Monuments Fund, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, etc.).  


Research Activities

Laboratory personnel provides support for all research activities carried out in the Laboratory, including the analysis of structures, structural elements and scale models, as well as mechanical testing of materials (concretes, bricks, cements, steels, earth and rocks). The following are amongst the experimental research projects undertaken in the Laboratory:

  • Experimental research on arches reinforced with fiber-reinforced composites  (FRP-FRCM).
  • Experimental research on wall panels reinforced with fiber-reinforced composites (FRCM - RETICULATUS).
  • Experimental research on Adobe cupolas. 



The Official Material and Structural Testing Laboratory offers the possibility to students to carry out their Traineeship at the Laboratory. The duties of the trainee consist in carrying out activities in support of the operations of the Laboratory. Trainees will be particularly involved in the execution of tests and research, both at the Laboratory and in situ, including mechanical tests regarding the nature of materials, monitoring fissures in existing structures, chemical analysis of materials, etc., as well as operations concerning the issuing of certifications for third parties.


Scientific Director
Mario De Stefano

Piazza Brunelleschi, 6

tel. 055 2756843







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