Thematic focus and development of the Centre

   The themes and the specific research agenda

Structural Integrity as an individual subject is now at cross-roads and can no longer be regarded as a grouping of separate disciplines: Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Physics, Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Structural Engineering, Materials Science, Electrical Engineering, etc. For example, in the UK there are some 24 Institutions and Societies which can rightly claim some involvement with this subject, but the subject has expanded by the fusion of numerous developments, the significance and priority of any one discipline has dramatically changed. The spectrum of themes, which has recently been developed in the subject of Structural Integrity is well represented by the names of 20 Technical Committees working in the European Structural Integrity Society: TC1 Elastic Plastic Fracture Mechanics, Subcommittee on R-Curves and Tearing Instability, Subcommittee on Fracture Mech. Testing Standards, Subcommittee on Local Approach, TC 2 Micromechanisms, TC 3 Fatigue, TC3.1  Multiaxial Fatigue, TC3.2 High Temperature Fatigue, TC3.3 Gigacycle Fatigue, TC4 Polymers and Polymer Composites, TC5 Fracture Dynamics, TC6 Ceramics, TC7 FM Nomenclature, TC8 Numerical Methods, TC9  Concrete, TC10 Environmentally Assisted Cracking, Subcommittee on Hydrogen Degradation, TC11 High Temperature Mechanical Testing, TC12 Probabilistic Interpretation of Mechanical Property Data, TC13 Education and Training, TC14 Smart Structures, TC15 Structural Integrity of Wires, Ropes and Cables, TC16 Surface Treatments, TC17 Metal Forming Fracture, TC18 Structural Integrity of Electronic Components, TC19 Structural Health and Integrity Monitoring, TC20 Inclusions.

The development of the Centre will focus on the four main themes:

which correspond with the themes developed by the following ESIS Technical Committees: TC1, TC2, TC3, TC4,  TC6,  TC8, TC9,TC10, TC12 and TC13.

   Fields of activities

The Dept of Mechanics and Machine Design conducts researches within the following topics:

Main areas of research activities developed by the Dept of Physics of Materials are oriented on:

The scope of research interests of the Dept of Structural Mechanics covers:

Scientific activities of the Dept of Building Materials Engineering cover the following topics:

Particular focus of attention of the proposed Centre will concentrate on dissemination of knowledge through thematic conferences, summer schools, seminars, staff mobility on both national and international levels.

   The aims to be achieved by the work of the Centre

1. Fatigue investigation of structural materials of uniaxial and multiaxial loading

2. Energy models of fatigue life assessment of machine and structure components under multiaxial service loading with regard to stress gradient

3. Fatigue strength of structural materials and durability of machines

4. Fatigue tests of the specimen materials under random loading on the strength machine with a newly designed closed loop control system and control of energy parameter (strain energy density) will be initiated for the first time

5. General model of thermomechanics of capillary-porous materials will be developed

6. Damage accumulation in building capillary-porous materials will be described

7. Synthesis of non-stationary random vibration methods

8. Civil engineering structures based on changes in their dynamic characteristics will be assessed

9. The reasons of degradation of reinforced concrete cooling towers will be described

10. The properties of reinforced concrete structures through measurements of their dynamic characteristics will be assessed

11.Design of composite building materials with application of waste products and chemical components will be improved

All the aims described above serve for obtaining recommendation of European codes in the range of Structural Integrity:

   The relevance of the research work and problem orientation

The main purpose on which the Centre is orientated is to integrate not yet coordinated activities of different units from two separate faculties. Within the framework of the Centre, the benefit of the structure as a whole will be reflected. The joint input of material engineering and structural mechanics will serve to the common goal of structural integrity. Existing achievements in fatigue and fracture mechanics of metallic materials will be transformed into civil engineering and structural materials.
The goals described above will be oriented on:

   Historical background, development, dynamics

The history, achievements and development of the Centre have already reached the span of 20 years. Systematic integration of the two TUO faculties began when, in 1981 the Faculty of Civil Engineering has had the right to confer the degree of PhD.  In Poland, such rights are given by the National Commission for Scientific Degrees after ascertaining that the faculty has reached high level of scientific investigations and employs sufficient number of professors. The Faculty of Mechanical Engineering was given these rights in 1997.

In the beginning, collaboration between both faculties concerned mostly joint scientific seminars supported by PATAM in Opole and promoting doctors conferring their degrees. As the years went by the particular focus of DMMD FME and the three FCE departments attention has been on problems connected with structural integrity. All the departments had an advantage towards further development the issue for they were fully equipped with sufficient machines enabling the staff of the departments to conduct joint  experimental researches. As a result of good cooperation between the departments, the Centre elaborated and published many joint papers.

Dynamics of the Centre can be proven by steady and systematic growth of scientific staff, laboratory equipment, the number of papers published, participation of TUO staff in scientific conferences, scientific collaboration with other centres etc. In the year 2001 for instance, the research units of the Centre organised three large all-Polish scientific conferences with participation of foreign guests, one international summer school and ran two scientific seminars systematically (every week) for the staff and doctoral students from the both faculties. 

At present, the Centre consists of a number of equipped laboratories providing a large range of material and component testing capabilities including static (tension/compression) fatigue (constant and variable amplitude, uniaxial and biaxial), impact and creep. As far as the scientific staff is concerned, the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering has got 83 PhD students and the Faculty of Civil Engineering 10 PhD students (including one from Germany), which gives the total of  93 PhD students from both faculties.

The necessary condition for further development of the Centre is raising it to the European level as well as its strong integration with European Research Area being under creation.