As a young researcher, I have been looking to develop my education and research knowledge at best profiting from mobility in a broad sense. After my MSc, I decided to pursue the path of scientific research. I chose to investigate the unexplored and recent field of sand mitigation driven by my curiosity. Hence, I moved to another field and another town to get a PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Politecnico di Torino with the Thesis entitled “Windblown Sand Modelling and Mitigation for Civil Structures”. In order to handle this cutting-edge research, I had to move towards the boundary of the structural design field, in the scarcely explored overlapping between wind engineering and other disciplines in order to acquire a multidisciplinary knowledge of the problem. Being windblown sand the result of the interaction between wind and sand, I explored the fields of Aeolian Research and Geomorphology, Fluid Dynamics, as well as Mathematics and Statistics. Given the high industrial interest in the field of sand mitigation, I crossed the boundary from academic to industrial sector and back thanks to the participation to a technology transfer and innovation project, and some consulting activities in sand mitigation. Finally, I have taken my first steps towards an international dimension of the research thanks to the involvement in an EU H2020/MSCA/ITN/EID research project, research collaborations at University of Oxford (UK) and of Alabama (USA), industrial relations with clients from UAE, China, India, and the recent awarding of a MSCA Individual Fellowship to pursue new scientific activities at von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics (BE).
01/07/2020 - 30/06/2022 MSCA Post-Doctoral Fellow at von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics, Belgium. Project title: “HyPer SMM - Hybrid Performance Assessment of Sand Mitigation Measures”.
01/07/2019 - 30/06/2020 Post-Doctoral Fellow . Department of Architecture and Design, Politecnico di Torino, Italy. Project title: “Design and Performance Assessment of Sand Mitigation Measures”.
01/02/2019 - 30/06/2019 Research Fellow. Department of Architecture and Design, Politecnico di Torino, Italy. Project title: “Probabilistic assessment of windblown sand risk around civil structures and mitigation measures: application to Etihad Railway - Stage 2”.
01/11/2015 - 19/02/2019 PhD cum laude in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Department of Architecture and Design, Politecnico di Torino, Italy. Thesis title: “Windblown Sand Modelling and Mitigation for Civil Structures”.
Multidisciplinary and international examination board:
- V. Camporeale, Fluid Mechanics, Politecnico di Torino, IT;
- P. Repetto, Structural and Wind Engineering, Università degli Studi di Genova, IT;
- F. Ricciardelli, Structural and Wind Engineering, Università degli Studi della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli, IT;
- D. Sherman, Coastal and Aeolian Geomorphology, University of Alabama, USA;
- J. van Beeck, Environmental and Applied Fluid Dynamics, von Karman Institute, BE.
Supervisor: Luca Bruno, Structural Engineering. Co-supervisor: Luigi Preziosi, Applied Mathematics.
11/09/2013 - 01/02/2014 Erasmus secondment. Université de Liège, Belgium.
01/10/2009 - 17/03/2015 Bachelor and MSc degree in Civil and Structural Engineering. Università di Bologna, Bologna, Italy
07/09/2020 ANIV Top Award 2020. The Award is remitted by the Italian Association for Wind Engineering every two years for the best journal paper on Wind Engineering written by a young researcher.
04/02/2020 Awarding of a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action Individual Fellowship 2019 for the project: Hybrid Performance Assessment of Sand Mitigation Measures (HyPer SMM) at VKI. Total score: 95.80%. EU contribution: 166320€.
05/09/2019 PhD Quality Award. Award remitted by Politecnico di Torino to value and acknowledge the excellencies in PhD research for each PhD programme. 3 of 15 candidates awarded.
17/11/2017 First prize at “My research in three minutes 2017” award. Three minutes to effectively explain the research carried out at Politecnico di Torino by PhD students to a non-specialist audience. 38 candidates at 1st stage; 6 candidates at 2nd stage.
Collaboration to Research Projects and Industrial Innovation
01/01/2017 - 31/12/2020 H2020-MSCA-EID-ITN project SMaRT (www.smart-eid.eu/).
“Sand Mitigation around Railway Tracks” (SMaRT) is an interdisciplinary and intersectoral European research programme that aims to develop standardized techniques for assessing sand hazards for railways, conceive new and effective sand mitigation measures, and assess their performance using innovative computational simulations and field tests. SMaRT member institutions: Politecnico di Torino, University of Oxford, Optiflow Company. SMaRT industrial partner organizations: Ansaldo STS, Astaldi, Reco Salcef Group. The candidate’s ongoing activities comprehend synergistic, supplementary research, and co-supervision to ESR M. Horvat within Work Package 1 “Sand mitigation measure computational based design”.
24/04/2017 - 18/09/2017 Proof of Concept project “Shield for Sand” (www.polito.it/WSMM/).
Project promoted by the Technological Transfer programme “Proof of Concept 2016” of Politecnico di Torino, founded by Compagnia di San Paolo. The project financed research and technology transfer activities to allow the passage of a patented sand mitigation measure (Shield for Sand, Patent No WO 2016/181417 A1) from TRL 3 to TRL 5 in order to transfer the its potential to the industrial level. Carried out activities comprehends design and analysis of a wind tunnel test at VKI.
01/12/2018 - 01/05/2019 Participation as team member to consultancy activities on Sand Mitigation along Etihad Railway, stage 2 package A & D - tender phase, UAE. Client: international Joint Venture, Indian and Chinese main contractors.
01/04/2020 - 21/04/2020 Participation as team member to consultancy activities on Sand Mitigation along a pipeline network for uranium extraction, Kazakhstan. Client: French contractor.
25/02/2019 Middle East Rail 2019, Dubai, the largest Rail Conference & Exhibition across the Middle East, North Africa, Indian Subcontinent & Central Asia. Participation as member of the SMaRT team, in charge of the stand design and one-to-one meetings during the expo.
Major International Collaborations
01/11/2016 - 31/10/2017 Research Collaboration with G. Wiggs, Department of Geography and Environment, University of Oxford (UK), in the framework of the SMaRT project. Result: one paper (see # p3 below).
01/11/2016 - 31/10/2017 Research & Development with Optiflow Company, Marseille (FR), in the framework of the WSMM group. Result: three papers (see # p2, p4, p7 below).
10/05/2019 - 31/05/2019 Visiting scientist at the Department of Geography, University of Alabama (USA) to plan and initiate common research activities with D. Sherman. Result: one paper (see # p8 below).
Publications in International Journals
The scientific papers published in international journals reflect the multidisciplinary research carried out on “Wind+Sand Engineering”. The figure conceptually maps the publications by referring to the different approaches to the problem, grouped into the three main categories design, modelling & analysis, phenomenon reading.
p1. L. Raffaele, L. Bruno, F. Pellerey, L. Preziosi (2016). “Windblown sand saltation: A statistical approach to fluid threshold shear velocity”. Aeolian Res. doi: 10.1016/j.aeolia.2016.10.002.
p2. L. Raffaele, L. Bruno, D. Fransos, F. Pellerey (2017). “Incoming windblown sand drift to civil infrastructures: A probabilistic evaluation”. J Wind Eng Ind Aerod. doi: 10.1016/j.jweia.2017.04.004.
p3. L. Raffaele, L. Bruno, G.F.S. Wiggs (2018). “Uncertainty propagation in aeolian processes: From threshold shear velocity to sand transport rate”. Geomorphology. doi: 10.1016/j.geomorph.2017.10.028.
p4. L. Bruno, N. Coste, D. Fransos, A. Lo Giudice, L. Preziosi, L. Raffaele (2018). “Shield for Sand: An Innovative Barrier for Windblown Sand Mitigation”. Recent Pat Eng. doi: 10.2174/1872212112666180309151818.
p5. L. Bruno, M. Horvat, L. Raffaele (2018). “Windblown sand along railway infrastructures: A review of challenges and mitigation measures”. J Wind Eng Ind Aerod. doi: 10.1016/j.jweia.2018.04.021.
p6. L. Raffaele, L. Bruno (2019). “Windblown sand action on civil structures: Definition and probabilistic modelling”. Eng Struct. doi: 10.1016/j.engstruct.2018.10.017.
p7. M. Horvat, L. Bruno, S. Khris, L. Raffaele (2020). “Aerodynamic shape optimization of barriers for windblown sand mitigation using CFD analysis”. J Wind Eng Ind Aerod. doi: 10.1016/j.jweia.2019.104058.
p8. L. Raffaele, L. Bruno, D. J. Sherman (2020). “Statistical characterization of sedimentation velocity of natural particles”. Aeolian Res. doi: 10.1016/j.aeolia.2020.100593.
p9. L. Raffaele, L. Bruno (2020). “Windblown Sand Mitigation along Railway Megaprojects: A Comparative Study”. Struct Eng Int. doi: 10.1080/10168664.2020.1714530.