universidade lusófona


Research Projects

Free-LitterAT – Advancing towards litter-free Atlantic coastal communities by preventing and reducing macro and micro litter

  • Co-promoter Entity COFAC – Lusófona University
  • Coordinator (UL-CUL) Hilda de Pablo
  • Team Members (UL-CUL) Hilda de Pablo, Vítor Antunes, João Canto, Pedro Sampaio
  • Funding Institution Interreg Atlantic Area, European Regional Development Fund (European Union)
  • Budget TOTAL BUDGET: 3 765 474,20 euros; UL-CUL BUDGET: 405 570,02 euros
  • Partners Centro Tecnológico del Mar – Fundación CETMAR (Control and Management of the Marine Environment and Resources) (Spain) (Project leader) Instituto Tecnológico para el Control del Medio Marino de Galicia( Unidad de Documentación y Apoyo Científico/Unidad de Modelado Oceanográfico) (Spain), Universidade de Santiago de Compostela (CRETUS, Cross-disciplinary Research in Environmental Technologies) (Spain), ARDITI – Agência Regional para o Desenvolvimento da Investigação, Tecnologia e Inovação( Projects Department) (Portugal), Direção Regional do Ambiente e Alterações Climáticas (Direção de Serviços de Alterações Climáticas e Sustentabilidade) (Portugal), Centre of Documentation Research and Experimentation on Accidental Eater Pollution (CEDRE) (France), Université Bretagne Sud (Plateau technique ComposiTIC) (France), Universidade Lusófona (Faculdade de Engenharia) (Portugal), Marine Institute (Ocean, Climate & Information Services) (Ireland), Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (Instituto Español de Oceanografía del CSIC) (Spain), Institut Français de Recherche pour l’Exploitation de la Mer (ODE – UL) (France), An Taisce, Clean Coasts (Clean Coasts) (Ireland), Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigação Marinha e Ambiental (CIIMAR) (Portugal), OSPAR Commission (Committee) (Unated Kingdom), Direção-Geral dos Recursos Naturais, Segurança e Serviços Marítimos (Marine Environment Monitoring) (Portugal).
  • Period of funding November 2023 to November 2026
  • Website Under construction

Free-LitterAT will achieve litter-free coastal communities by combining knowledge, tools and technology with pilot actions with multi-stakeholder engagement. It tackles marine litter, a transnational challenge demanding an integral approach involving prevention, monitoring and removal when feasible of the already accumulated marine litter. The overall objective is to protect biodiversity by implementing innovative approaches to prevent and reduce marine litter, with special emphasis on ALDFG and microplastics. Free LitterAt will contribute to reducing inputs, locate sources and hotspots, enhance monitoring capabilities and raise awareness. Main outputs include guidance, tools and joint solutions for waste management, marine litter monitoring, modelling, clean-up and removal as well as action plans transferred to the competent authorities and maritime stakeholders. The project will build on previous results and alliances, developing new solutions to be implemented through pilot actions.

INTENT – Intelligent health monitoring of road infrastructures using bender elements embedded in pavements

  • Promoter Entity COFAC – Lusófona University
  • Coordinator Ionut Moldovan
  • Funding Institution Portuguese Science and Technology Foundation (FCT) – 2022.06879.PTDC
  • Partners University of Lisbon, University of Minho, Built COLAB, Mota-Engil
  • Period of funding 2023-2026
  • Website https://intent.ulusofona.pt/

The goal of this R&D project is to develop a new bender element for the continuous monitoring of the dynamic stiffness of unbound granular layers, and use it, along with conventional sensors and advanced numerical models, to fuel machine learning algorithms for continuous monitoring of pavements.

BuildingAdapt – Pioneer study to analyse the resilience of university teaching buildings to climate change: Lusófona University – Lisbon University Center

  • Funding Institution COFAC
  • Coordinator Maria Manso
  • Team members Elói Figueiredo, João Canto, Vítor Antunes, Rúben Teixeira
  • Period of funding January 2023 to December 2024
  • Website buildingadapt.com

Climate Analytics has estimated that within 80 years maximum summer and autumn temperatures may increase up to 8ºC in Portugal. Also, in spring and winter temperatures may rise between 2ºC and 4ºC. The increase in urban temperature will have a major impact in buildings energy consumption and their occupants´ environmental comfort.
This study focuses on the growing concern about how university teaching buildings can adapt to climate change and how the environmental comfort conditions of their occupants can be guaranteed in future scenarios. Building A of Lusófona University – Lisbon University Center will be used as case study, considering the urgent needs for its rehabilitation and maintenance of its character.
The aim of this project is to identify the best rehabilitation strategies to improve occupants´ environmental comfort considering the present and future climate conditions. First, it will be created a 3D model of the building based on a 3D Point Cloud survey. Then a data acquisition system and environmental comfort sensors will be installed in Building A to monitor its thermo-hygrometric conditions along the year. This data will be used to calibrate the computational models to be developed. After, the 3D model will be used to develop computational models based on current climate conditions and future climate scenarios. Different passive design solutions will be tested within the computational models to improve the thermal performance of the buildings´ envelope. Also, carbon negative solutions, as green walls, will be analysed to enable capturing greenhouse gases over the building lifetime and promote comfort and well-being to the Campus users. At the end an optimal cost methodology will be implemented to identify the best solutions to be implemented.
The results obtain along the project will help Lusófona University – Lisbon University Center to make an informed decision on how to adapt to climate change and invest in more cost-effective rehabilitation strategies.

be-READY – Resilient road pavements for sustainability

  • Promoter Entity COFAC – Lusófona University
  • Coordinator Vítor Antunes
  • Funding Institution EEA Grants
  • Partners Laboratório Nacional de Engenharia Civil (LNEC), Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), Infraestruturas de Portugal (IP), Construções JJR & Filhos (JJR), Oslo Metropolitan University (OsloMet) and Viken County
  • Period of funding 2022-2023
  • Website be-ready.com

The Project “be-READY – REsilient roAD pavements for sustainabilitY” of Professor Vítor Antunes from the Civil Engineering Department of Lusófona University was approved.
Aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations and in the context of the European Green Deal, transportation infrastructures are fundamental for global development, promoting socio-economic opportunities and enabling economies to operate more competitively and with more resilience against adverse conditions. The transportation infrastructure sector, particularly in its road construction and maintenance activities, has contributed significantly to the 34% of construction and demolition waste produced, considering the total waste generated worldwide. Bituminous roads represent more than 80% of the European road network, which presently integrates around 950 billion tonnes of bituminous materials, being this a 100% recyclable material.

Pavement asset management actors have been pursuing further sustainable solutions and practices to adopt in their construction and maintenance actions. The general approach for improving sustainability consists of reducing energy consumed, emissions generated, and the amounts of virgin material used. It means implementing preventive maintenance, lowering the bituminous mixture heat and adopting other eco-friendly pavement technologies.
The research group at ULHT has been involved in pavement research for the last nine years. On the other hand, the research group at OsloMet is preparing a master course on sustainable pavement and has been pursuing an active role in supporting the Viken County in a project to build a near to zero-emission road section and green public procurement.
Therefore, in collaboration with IST, LNEC, IP and JJR, the objectives of the proposal are: (i) update the existent specifications for the use of construction and demolition waste in road construction and maintenance; (ii) prepare a course on sustainable road design and construction, taking into consideration different climatic conditions and the extreme events (climate change and high loads); (iii) evaluate the performance of recycled pavements during the life-cycle by monitoring real road sections; (iv) calibrate models by performing Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) of sustainable and resilient pavement solutions considering the long-term performance of pavements and costs related to energy needs and greenhouse gas emissions.

App4SHM – Smartphone application for structural health monitoring

Development of a smartphone application to monitor the structural health of buildings and special structures (like bridges) after catastrophic events.

This application will be able to interrogate the phone’s internal sensors, or other paired devices via Bluetooth or USB, and to analyze and compare the data collected through intelligent algorithms properly trained in order to detect damage and quantify the structural risk in real time. As it is a mobile application with access to a server, it is possible to create a networked system of several nodes through the simultaneous use of several smartphones.

This is a R&D project funded by COFAC and involving students and professors from ULHT’s civil engineering and computer science courses: Eloi Figueiredo, Hugo Rebelo, Ionut Moldovan, Luís Silva, Nuno Penim, Paulo Oliveira, Pedro Alves.

IP3 – Development of solutions to be adopted in the expansion of the IP3 rigid pavement

  • Funding Institution IP – Infraestruturas de Portugal
  • Coordinator Luís Quaresma (ULHT)
  • Period of funding 2021

QUANTI – Damage quantification in composite structures using artificial intelligence and numerical simulations

  • Promoter Entity IST-UL, ULHT, UC, UNESP, UFMG and UFPA
  • Coordinator Nuno Maia (IST-UL) and Samuel da Silva (UNESP)
  • Funding Institution FCT/CAPES (2019.00164.CBM)
  • Coordinators per institution involved Nuno Maia (IST-UL), Elói Figueiredo (ULHT), João Pedro Martins (UC), Samuel da Silva (UNESP), Carlos Cimini Junior (UFMG), João Weyl (UFPA).
  • Period of funding March 2021 to March 2023

ClimaBridge – Impact of climate change on the structural health of bridges

  • Promoter Entity COFAC – Lusófona University
  • Coordinator Eloi Figueiredo (ULHT)
  • Funding Institution EEA Grants
  • Partners Oslo Metropolitan University (OsloMet), Infraestruturas de Portugal (IP) and Laboratório Nacional de Engenharia Civil (LNEC)
  • Period of funding March 2021 to March 2023
  • Website climabridge.ulusofona.pt

The goal of this project is to develop a systematic framework for the probabilistic assessment of the impact of climate change on the structural health of existing bridges, by coupling climate risk evaluation and health monitoring techniques. Basically, we intend to integrate existing procedures for the assessment of climate change threats into the Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) of bridges, leading to a climate-aware SHM framework.

Additionally, this project intends to present the latest technological updates on the SHM of bridges to the scientific community, technical staff of consultancy companies and public entities in Portugal and Norway, as well as to promote technological advances and business initiatives around the life-cycle management of bridges.
Various activities are planned under the ClimaBridge Project, namely: two three-day workshops (Lisbon and Oslo), a joint course on SHM, long-term monitoring of an existing railway bridge, several scientific meetings and a one-day conference.

Geodynamics and vibrations due to trains

  • Promoter Entity COFAC – Lusófona University
  • Coordinator Nuno Santos (ULP)
  • Funding Institution EEA Grants
  • Partners NGI (Norwegian Geotechnical Institute)
  • Period of funding March 2021 to March 2023

A project dedicated to the themes of geodynamics and vibrations induced by rail traffic and financed by the Fund for Bilateral Relations – EEA Grants. The initiative is promoted by the Lusófona University and has the participation of a Norwegian partner (NGI). It is coordinated by Nuno Santos.

For more information, visit the EEA Grants Portugal.

Reconhecer Project

  • Coordenador Elói Figueiredo (ULHT) e Luís Oliveira Santos (LNEC)
  • Starting April 2019

The Barcelos City Council intends to inventory special structures like bridges, viaducts, tunnels, overpasses, underpasses, and water passages existing in the municipality, which are under its direct responsibility. For this purpose, the municipal executive approved the implementation of the “Reconhecer” project, developed by the Lusófona University and the National Laboratory of Civil Engineering (LNEC), through a protocol involving the three entities. According to the document, this project also intends to support the definition of a strategy for monitoring the condition of those special structures, to facilitate the budgeting of their maintenance and, ultimately, to promote permanent protection of human lives.

Research Topics

Circular Materials

Circular Materials Management has revolutionized construction and infrastructure practices by prioritizing sustainability and resource efficiency. By embracing circular economy principles, we shift away from the outdated linear model of “take, make, dispose” towards a more sustainable approach. Reusing materials becomes paramount, extending their lifespan and reducing the need for virgin resources. Incorporating recycled materials into new solutions not only minimizes waste but also reduces carbon emissions associated with resource extraction and production. Furthermore, prioritizing renewable resources in construction processes have helped to mitigate the carbon footprint of infrastructure development. By opting for sustainable alternatives such as reclaimed asphalt pavement, hemp fibres, brewery spent grains, or recycled aggregates, we lessen our reliance on finite resources while promoting environmental stewardship. These materials not only offer comparable performance but also contribute to preserving natural habitats and biodiversity. Incorporating circular materials management practices into construction and infrastructure projects not only enhances climate resilience but also fosters economic opportunities and innovation. It stimulates the development of new recycling technologies, promotes local sourcing and production, and encourages collaboration across sectors to create closed-loop systems. Ultimately, by embracing circularity, we pave the way for a more sustainable future, where resource efficiency and environmental protection go hand in hand. Research topic coordinator: Vítor Antunes

Main Publications

  • Antunes, V.; Neves, J.; Freire, A. C. (2023) “Could high RAP mixtures be multi-recycled? Validation through long-term performance assessment” Transportation Engineering Journal Vol. 14 (2023) pp. 100215 DOI 10.1016/j.treng.2023.100215
  • Antunes, V.; Moreno, F.; Rubio-Gámez, M.; Freire, A.C.; Neves, J. (2022) “Assessing RAP Multi-Recycling Capacity by the Characterization of Recovered Bitumen Using DSR” Sustainability Journal Vol. 14 (2022) pp. 1-17. DOI 10.3390/su141610171
  • Antunes, V.; Neves, J.; Freire, A.C. (2021) – “Performance Assessment of Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement (RAP) in Road Surface Mixtures”. Recycling Journal Vol. 6 (2021) pp. 1-19. DOI 10.3390/recycling6020032
  • Antunes, V.; Freire, A.C.; Neves, J. (2021) – “Investigating aged binder mobilization and performance of RAP mixtures for surface courses”. Construction and Building Materials Journal Vol. 271 (2021) pp. 121511. DOI 10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2020.121511
  • Vandewalle, D.; Antunes, V.; Neves, J.; Freire, A.C. (2020) – “Assessment of Eco-Friendly Pavement Construction and Maintenance Using Multi-Recycled RAP Mixtures”. Recycling Journal Vol. 5 (2020) pp. 1-21. DOI 10.3390/recycling5030017
  • Antunes, V.; Freire, A.C.; Neves, J. (2019) – “A review on the effect of RAP recycling on bituminous properties and viability of multi-recycling”.Construction and Building Materials Journal Vol. 2011 (2019) pp. 1045-1053. DOI 10.1016/j.conbuiltmat.2018.09.063
  • Pereira, L.; Freire, A.C.; Sá da Costa, M.; Antunes, V. (2018) – “Experimental study of the effect of filler on the ductility of filler-bitumen mastics”.Construction and Building Materials Journal Vol. 189 (2018) pp. 1045-1053. DOI 10.1016/j.conbuiltmat.2018.09.063
  • Antunes, V.; Simão, N.; Freire, A.C. (2017) – “A Soil-Cement Formulation for Road Pavement Base and Sub Base Layers: a Case Study”. Transportation Infrastructure Geotechnology Journal Vol. 4 (2017) pp. 126-141. DOI: 10.1007/s40515-017-0043-9
  • Antunes, V.; Freire, A.C.; Quaresma, L.; Micaelo, R. (2017) – “Evaluation of waste materials as alternative sources of filler in asphalt mixtures”. Materials and Structures RILEM Journal Vol.50 (2017) paper 254 DOI 10.1617/s11527-017-1126-3

Structural Health Monitoring

At our group, Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) has been proposed for damage identification in infrastructure (e.g., bridges) and road pavements, and more recently for climate change adaptation. Four main vectors have driven our research: system identification (e.g., dynamic field tests), machine learning, finite element modeling, and sensor node development. For more information: https://civilresearchgroup.ulusofona.pt/SHM/  

Sustainable Road Infrastructure Materials and Design

Considering the goals for sustainable development and future, and the opportunities to improve our transportation infrastructures, namely the road infrastructure. This new research area is an evolution from the “road pavement materials”.

Research Collaborations

MATEREO signed a collaboration agreement with the Lusófona University

September 23, 2021

This agreement intends to foster the transfer of scientific knowledge from research to practice in the area of bridge management and to promote the development of research activities between both institutions.

Infraestruturas de Portugal (IP) assina protocolo com a Universidade Lusófona

July 8, 2019

This protocol, signed between two reference entities in the business and academic fields, will push into the implementation of program contracts to transit research into practice. The projects include joint training and research actions, consultancy, technical training and provision of specialized technical support in the field of civil engineering applied to transport infrastructure, targeted research at the postgraduate, masters and doctoral levels, access to information and technical documentation – scientific within the scope of common activities, use of experimental means and other laboratory infrastructures at the Lusófona University (ULHT), and holding seminars and workshops, always with special emphasis in areas related to civil engineering. For more information, please click here.

Cooperation Agreement with IfaS and the Trier University of Applied Sciences

University Lusófona (ULHT) has a cooperation agreement with IfaS and the Trier University of Applied Sciences, in Germany, since 2016.

The cooperation aims to development training programs on issues of circular economy, sustainable development and material flow management, as well as the academic exchange of students and Professors, as well as experiences and knowledge on issues of resource economics and the environment.

Professors and representatives of the ULHT participate on the yearly International Circular Economy Week (ICEW) of Rhineland-Palatinate since 2017. The ICEW and the exchange activities between IfaS and the ULHT has served as a platform bringing together like-minded professionals, academia and businesses from all over the world to one unique place on earth – the Environmental Campus Birkenfeld – for activities to showcase, demonstrate and share knowledge on the latest advancements in the application of Circular Economy, the practical means of tackling global economic and technological challenges of energy transition policies towards 100% renewable energy systems, and sustainable resource management (including water, sanitation and waste management strategies) paying special attention to the sustainable business aspect of the initiatives.

Gestão de conteúdos por Eloi Figueiredo © 2022 COFAC.