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Mariaenrica Frigione, Associate professor - SSD ING-IND 22

Mariaenrica Frigione received her Master degree in Chemical Engineering at University of Naples in 1989.
She worked as associate researcher at University of Salerno from 1990 to 1992.
Then, she joined to the Institute of Polymer Technology and Materials Engineering (IPTME) of Loughborough University, U.K., working as Research Assistant from 1992 to 1996. She received her Ph.D. degree in Polymer Technology at Loughborough University, U.K. in 1997.
In 1997 she joined to the Department of Materials Science of University of Salento (former University of Lecce) as Lecturer, in the field of Transport Phenomena in Chemical Engineering.
From 2001 she is Associate Professor at University of Salento.
She is actually involved in the field of Materials Science and Technology, teaching courses on Polymer Science and Technology, Materials and Techniques for Restoration and Rehabilitation Applications, Durability of Materials, both in the Master degree in Materials Engineering, at University of Salento, Faculty of Engineering, and in the Master degree in Science for Conservation and Restoration, at University of Salento, Faculty of Cultural Heritage.
Currently she is the Director of the PhD Programs in “Materials and Structures Engineering”.
She has been the tutor of several thesis for Master and Ph.D. degrees.
She is referee for more than 20 journals in the field of Materials Science and Technology: Advances in Polymer Technology, ASCE Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering, Cement Wapno Beton [Cement Lime Concrete - Polonia], Composites Part B: Engineering, Construction and Building Materials, Construction Materials (ICE: Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers journal), Environmental Engineering and Management Journal, European Polymer Journal, Express Polymer Letters, Indian Journal of Engineering and Materials Sciences, International Journal Key Engineering Materials, Journal of Applied Polymer Science, Journal of Composites for Construction, Journal of Polymer Science – Part B: Polymer Physics, Materials and Structures, Mechanics of Materials, Polymer Composites, Progress in Organic Coatings, Restoration of Buildings and Monuments, Thermochimica Acta, Waste Management.
She keeps scientific collaborations with several Italian and International research institutions: Loughborough University of Technology, U.K.; Università Federico II di Napoli; Università degli Studi di Salerno; Università degli Studi di Catania; Università degli Studi di Perugia; Politecnico di Torino; Istituto Conservazione e Valorizzazione dei Beni Culturali (ICVBC), CNR, Roma; Istituto per i Beni Archeologici e Monumentali (IBAM), CNR, Lecce; Istituto di Chimica e Tecnologia dei Polimeri (ICTP), CNR, Pozzuoli (NA).

Research Interests

Cure kinetics of thermosetting polymers and modelling of cure kinetics

A large part of the research work is focalized on the cure kinetics of commercial as well as novel thermosetting resins, either when the system is polymerized through heat, either through different techniques (UV radiation, microwave devices). Different analytical techniques have been employed to this aim, i.e.: Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC), both in dynamic and isothermal mode; Photo Differential Scanning Calorimetry (P-DSC); Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. Several parameters involved in the process have been taken into account evaluating their influence on the reaction kinetics. In particular: the curing conditions (time and temperatures); the kind and proportion of components (resin, hardener, presence of reactive or inert phases); the storing conditions for un-reacted thermosetting resin. Several kinetic models have been realized for different systems analyzed, proving their ability to describe the proceeding of cross-linking reactions, even in the case that the reactions are photoactivated. These kinetic models, able to correlate the thermal behavior of different reactive systems with their molecular and chemical characteristics, represents an invaluable means in the optimization and control of parameters involved in the industrial processing operations of thermosetting resins and matrices for composites, often carried out under complex thermal conditions.

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Properties, aging and weathering of thermosetting adhesives and composite matrices for restoration and rehabilitation applications.

Several studies are focused on the properties of thermosetting resins that are gaining increasing success worldwide, either as adhesives either as matrices for composites (FRP) in restoration of cultural heritage and rehabilitation of civil engineering structures, due to their excellent properties, generally superior than those of traditional building materials. In this field, in particular, great is the concern regarding the long term behavior of the rehabilitated structures, especially when outdoor exposed: the environmental factors, can, in fact, lead to critical changes in the performance of such repairing materials. In particular, transport of water and heat fluctuations have been recognized as the most detrimental external agents for properties of such materials. Even thought already employed in many structural applications, the "durability" of these polymeric resins is still not completely understood. On the other hand, the lack of durability data along with the need for high safety standards forced to the use of higher factors of safety in design. This, however, not only increases cost and weight of the adhesives and their composites but also changes performance attributes to the point where the inherent tailorability of the composite is often sacrificed. Finally, the lack of specific standards for durability investigation of materials employed in such applications makes difficult the assessment of reliable theoretical models. All these aspects have been investigated and analyzed in several studies carried out in the last years on adhesives as well on composites for civil engineering applications and restoration of cultural heritage. Due to the multidisciplinary nature of this subject, most of the work has been performed in collaboration with researchers belonging to different complementary fields, i.e. with structural engineers, geologists, chemists, restoration scientists.

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Other materials and technologies for conservation and restoration of cultural heritage.

Several studies are in progress concerning innovative materials and technologies for use in the field of conservation, preservation and restoration of Cultural Heritage (stone, ceramic and wood artworks). Novel preservative and consolidating products have been evaluated for the restoration and the protection of wood handworks and stone surfaces. Innovative techniques have been proposed for the reconstruction of ceramic artworks.
The experimental studies have originated from recent case histories in Italy (mainly central and southern Italy). These activities are carried on in close collaboration with scientists from various research centres involving multidisciplinary teams consisting of architects, historians, geologists, chemists, as well as technical specialists and managers in museums, cathedrals and monumental sites.

Related publications...

Physical, mechanical and transport properties of polymeric materials, toughened resins and blends.

Mariaenrica Frigione, finally, carried on also several studies on the rheological, thermal and crystallization properties of polymeric materials largely employed in industrial applications, focusing on the relationship between processing, structure and properties. In particular, the rheological behaviour of different polymeric materials (thermoplastic, thermosets, blends, etc.) has been investigated in several studies as a precise measure of the processability of the materials, analyzing the effect of different reactive or inert inclusions, eventually added for specific requirements, on the viscosity of the matrix polymer. As an example, in other studies the modification of thermosetting resins has been explored in order to impart them better impact resistance properties. Epoxy resins, as well as other thermosetting polymers, in fact, even though possessing superior mechanical properties along with exceptional resistance to most of the chemicals, present an inherent brittleness than represents their main drawback. The enhancement of the toughness of thermosets, in particular epoxies, was the subject of several different studies worldwide in the past decades and many have been the modifiers proposed to this aim. A contribution to this theme has been provided as the result of a collaboration with Loughborough University (U.K.). Such studies, in particular, have been focused on the phase separation occurring between the different phases present (i.e. the resin and the toughening agent) and on their effect on the final properties of the modified systems.

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Other materials and technologies for construction

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University of Salento   Facoltà di Ingengeria    Department of Engineering for Innovation