LASTM - Laboratory of Materials Science and Technology

The Laboratory of Materials Science and Technology (LASTM) is a technical and scientific laboratory. The research, experimental and teaching activities are carried out in the field of materials for industrial and civil applications.

Since more than 30 years, LASTM hosts research, technical consulting and training activities with a focus on materials science and technology in industrial, construction and restoration areas.

Thanks to its equipment, LASTM carries out a full range of studies necessary to evaluate the characteristics and performance of materials. Particular attention is paid to find correlations between the structure/microstructure and the physical-mechanical properties.

Research areas

In the field of civil engineering and architecture, LASTM works on:

  • mix-design and characterization of sustainable materials, combining high durability with the use of waste and renewable resources
  • exploitation of alkali activated materials (AAM) obtained from calcium-alumino-silicates precursors
  • development of new materials and technologies for conservation of cultural heritage
  • studies on the behaviour of metals and insulating materials;
  • polymer and composite materials for advanced applications, and related processing technologies
  • biopolymers, bioadditives and bioplastics from renewable resources, and their formulation for industrial use.

In the biomedical field:

  • biocompatible and bioactive polymers and ceramics for applications in tissue engineering

Consulting and services

LASTM supports the implementation of research projects, collaboration between academia and industrial partners, offering the its scientific and technical skills to public and private costumers.

In particular, LASTM is recognized as official laboratory for standard testing and certification for third parties, according to Italian laws: R. D. 16.11.39 - nn. 2228-223, L. 26.05.65 – n. 595, L. 05.11.71 – n. 1086 “Norme per la disciplina delle opere di conglomerato, normale e precompresso ed a struttura metallica” (Directions for reinforced, plain and pre-stressed concrete structures).

Resource and facilities

LASTM is equipped with many instruments and devices for chemical, physical, electrical, thermal, mechanical and microstructural characterization of materials. Moreover, at Centro Ceramico (Ceramic Centre) several instruments for chemical, physical, mechanical and microstructural characterization of ceramic materials are available.

LASTM is equipped with the following instruments and devices:

  • Scanning electron microscopy (SEM Philips XL20) and microanalysis (Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy - EDS Philips Edax)
  • Stereo optical microscopy (SOM Wild M3 Heerbrugg and SZX10 Olympus)
  • X-ray diffractometry (XRD Philips PW 1840)
  • Mercury intrusion porosimetry (Pascal 140 and 240)
  • Universal electromechanical testing machine for tensile, compressive and flexural tests, equipped with two dynamometric cells (1 kN and 100 kN). Measurement range 2-100 kN, speed range 0-500 mm/min (Amsler Wolpert)
  • Charpy and Izod impact-testing machines (Resil Impactor CEAST P / N 6957.000) for energies up to 50 J, with instrumented hammer
  • Equipment for the measurement of electrical properties of insulating materials in direct current (conductivity, charging and discharging currents, thermally induced discharging current) and in alternating current (dielectric constant and loss factor from 10-2 to 105 Hz), with cells capable of operating under vacuum or in controlled atmosphere from -130°C to 500°C
  • Water Pycnometers (Quantachrome Ultrapycnometer 1000) for the measurement of the density
  • Instruments for measuring the hardness of polymeric materials (durometers Shore A and Shore D) and of polymer matrix composites (Barcol hardness tester)
  • Differential scanning calorimeter (DSC TA Instruments Q10) for the study of the transition phases in materials (glass transition temperature, temperature and enthalpy of fusion)
  • Thermogravimetric Analysis TG (TA Instruments Q50) for measuring the weight loss of the materials as a function of temperature or constant temperature
  • Equipment for corrosion tests on metallic materials: potentiostat (AMEL mod. 7050), frequency analyzer (AMEL mod. 520), an instrument for the measurement of the corrosion potential (Tecnotest AT410)
  • Equipment for the preparation, curing, characterization of paste, mortar and concrete
  • Instruments for testing lime, concrete and aggregates according to standards and laws
  • Ion chromatography for the quality and quantity determination of the soluble salts (Dionex ICS-1000)
  • Instrument for the penetration test on wood elements (Pylodin)
  • Equipment for measuring of the moisture content in wood elements (GE Protimeter Surveymaster Meter)
  • Equipment for the determination of the moisture content of powder samples by means of the calcium carbide method
  • Calcimeter (Dietrich-Frühling) for the determination of the calcium carbonate content
  • Particle size distribution analysis by standard sieving (MMS)
  • Ultrasonic instrument (Matest C369) for the determination of dynamic elastic modulus
  • Press Mignon-S (Nannetti) for powder compacting
  • PEI1 Abrasimeter (MMS)
  • Apparatus for ceramic materials grinding (MMS)
  • Equipment for UV exposure testing according to standards and laws
  • Laboratory ovens operating up to 1600°C, for accelerated aging tests of organic matrix materials, etc.
  • Fog spray cabinet (DCTC 600P Angelantoni) for accelerated corrosion tests
  • Climatic chamber (Discovery ATT Angelantoni) for thermal cycles with control of temperature (-40 up to 180°C) and relative humidity (10 up to 98%)
  • Device for dripping artificial rain onto stone and metallic samples, with collection of runoff water for further analysis


Teaching and training

At LASTM, teaching, training classes, internships, stages and theses are carried out within 1st and 2nd level Degrees in several engineering fields (Environmental, Chemical and Biochemical, Civil, Building, Electrical, Mechanical, Architecture and Building Engineering). Coordination and training/teaching activities are also carried out in post-graduate courses (PhD and Master Courses).


Scientific contact

Prof. ssa Elisa Franzoni