The IGG Geomechanics and Geotechnologies Laboratory (Figure 1 and Figure 2), based at the Politecnico di Torino, has acquired considerable experience over time on site and in the laboratory, relating to physical, mechanical and technological characterization of rocks, aimed at performing engineering works, through an important endowment of research devices.


The laboratory is equipped with:

  • MTS (Materials Test System) stiff loading machine, servo-controlled (with digital technology), 2700 kN, equipped with a load cell, for the execution (automatic/manual) of various types of tests, with different control parameters (load/deformation) and in various conditions: almost static, "fast" creep, low frequency dynamics; strain gauge transducer kits specific for uniaxial compression tests, various types of tensile strength, toughness, and fracture propagation; 100 MPa triaxial confinement cell and heating apparatus for confined tests, with temperatures up to 150 °C, equipped with special longitudinal and circumferential strain gauges. 
  • Conventional loading machines: unidirectional 3000 kN and bidirectional (compression, traction) 50 kN, equipped with load cells and triaxial cell.
  • Shear machine, provided with 500 kN and 50 kN actuators (horizontal and vertical).
  • 500 kN loading machine for "slow" creep tests.
  • Linear dilatometer for NX specimens operating up to 1500 °C.
  • ILCM (Intermediate Linear Cutting Machine: a structure specifically designed to carry out a test considered, to date, the most realistic as regards the rock-tool interaction process. The equipment assesses the forces exchanged during excavation between a tool (sliding or rolling) and the rock by means of a triaxial load cell. The tool mounted on the machine is in this case a disk, with the same characteristics as those mounted on the head of a TBM (Tunnel Boring Machine). The sample used faithfully represents the rock to be tested. The possibility of varying some geometric parameters, such as the distance between the grooves and the depth of cut, allow to evaluate the spacing/penetration ratio that optimizes the specific excavation energy.
  • Test desk with motorized tilting base for long discontinuity tests (tilt test).
  • Motorized laser profiligraph on 2 axes for automatic detection of roughness of discontinuities on big surfaces (1 m2).
  • Equipment for the determination of indices, such as: punching (point load test), sclerometric and roughness; speed of ultrasonic waves from pulsed test on specimen (pulse bar test) and contrast press.
  • Apparatus for particle size analysis for the execution of qualification tests according to the most common standards in the world, such as ovens, electromechanical sieve shaker, sieves etc.
  • Equipment for the preparation of specimens, such as disk cutting machine, core drilling machine and grinding machine.

Furthermore, attention is paid to numerical modelling and automatic calculation, using "general purpose" calculation codes such as Flac, UDEC, Map3d, to carry out analyses linked to field problems (e.g.: strain-strain in continuous and discrete structures with FEM, FD, BEM, DEM techniques) and specific calculation programs, developed internally by the IGG for analysis and processing of various types of data (e.g.: interpretation of geological structural surveys; determination of the stress state of a rock mass by means of data acquired from on-site tests), data acquisition from sensors, control of material-testing machines; "general purpose" calculation codes for statistical analysis, mathematical developments, graphics, database.


Responsible: Eng. Marilena Cardu (Associate Professor at Politecnico di Torino – Research Associate at CNR)

Eng. Giorgio Iabichino (Senior Associate)

Eng. Valentina Isaia (Research fellow)

Eng. Igor Marino (Research fellow)

Eng. Simone Saltarin (Research fellow)



+39 011 0907676 (Laboratory)

+39 011 0907615-7655 (Office)






The activity carried out mainly concerns investigation topics related to the development of both basic and applied research lines.

The studies belonging to the first topic aim to define the behaviour of rocks at different scales, under various actions they are subjected for the purposes of excavation and processing, as well as the methods necessary for their characterization according to a technological way. Of course, the investigation topics are mainly oriented towards aspects of application relevance, as shown in the following table of ongoing research programs:

In the second area, the studies developed essentially address the problems of excavation, the stability and stabilization of rock masses, the related safety and environmental ptotection problems, and the technological characterization of rocks in view of their use in construction. Also for these issues, a brief detail is shown in Table 2 below.

In addition to the institutional research activities described, IGG-CNR at Politecnico di Torino also operates through research contracts on specific topics proposed by external public or private companies.

In this sector, studies were carried out to determine the stability of open pit and underground exploitation sites, as well as studies to evaluate the safety conditions of the working environments (construction sites and plants) both underground and open pit. Numerical modelling of tunnel excavations and underground openings were conducted. Specific monitoring stations (with various methodologies) of the main parameters characterizing the state of stress and strain of structural elements in underground excavations for mining or civil purposes have been developed and implemented. Furthermore, studies were carried out to verify field data for the construction of trenches (urban sub-services) for the gas distribution, with the aim of characterizing the backfilling materials employed; different numerical models were built, simulating the mechanism that produces yielding and calculating its action on the pipes, by performing several types of analysis.

  • Cardu, M., Coragliotto, D., Oreste, P. (2019). Analysis of predictor equations for determining the blast-induced vibration in rock blasting, INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MINING SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, China University of Mining and Technology, pp. 11, ISSN: 2095-2686, DOI: 10.1016/j.ijmst.2019.02.009
  • Dragano, M.A.; Seccatore, J.; Cardu, M.; Marin, T.; Bettencourt, J., (2019). Influence of blasting charges and delays on the energy consumption of mechanical crushing, REM. REVISTA ESCOLA DE MINAS., Scielo, pp. 8, 2019, Vol. 72, ISSN: 0370-4467, DOI: 10.1590/0370-44672014680218
  • Rispoli, A.; Ferrero, A. M.; Cardu, M. (2019). TBM data processing for performance assessment and prediction in hard rock, In: Tunnels and Underground Cities: Engineering and Innovation meet Archaeology, Architecture and Art, Taylor & Francis Group (REGNO UNITO DI GRAN BRETAGNA), World Tunnel Congress - WTC 2019, Napoli 5-9 maggio, pp. 10, 2019, ISBN: 978-1-138-38865-9
  • Di Lorenzo, A.; Pasqua, A.; Cardu, M.; Godio, A.; Seccatore, J (2019). Simplified methods of geomechanical analysis for small-scale underground mining, In: International Congress on Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering, Fontoura, Rocca & Pavón Mendoza, Rock Mechanics for Natural Resources and Infrastructure Development, Foz de Iguassu 13-18 settembre 2019, pp. 8, 2019, ISBN: 978-0-367-42284-4
  • Auletta, N.; Bianchini, S.; Cardu, M.; Fresia, P. (2019). Laboratory characterization aimed at analyzing the performance of diamond wires for marble cutting, DIAMANTE, G&M Associated Sas, pp. 17, Vol. 25, ISSN: 1824-5765
  • Seccatore, J.; Cardu, M. (2018). On the influence of the angles of breakage in the pull efficiency of tunneling by drill and blast, In: XIII Jornadas de Voladura, Asociación Chilena de Ingenieros Explosivistas (CILE), ASIEX 2018, pp. 5
  • Rispoli, A.; Ferrero, A. M.; Cardu, M.; Farinetti, A. (2018). TBM performance assessment of an exploratory tunnel in hard rock, In: Geomechanics and Geodynamics of Rock Masses, Litvinenko (Ed.) (RUSSIA), EUROCK 2018, S. Pietroburgo 22-26 maggio, pp. 10, 2018, Vol. 2, ISBN: 978-1-138-61645-5
  • De Palma, S.; Cardu, M.; Seccatore, J. (2018). Making economically viable the exploitation by D&B in a quarry within sensitive, highly populated area, In: FRAGBLAST 12, Håkan Schunnesson & Daniel Johansson (SVEZIA), Proceedings of the 12th International Symposium on Rock Fragmentation by Blasting, Luleå 11-13 June 2018, pp. 10, 2018, Vol. 1, ISBN: 978-91-7790-135-8
  • Cardu M., Iabichino G., Oreste P., Rispoli A. (2017). Experimental and analytical studies of the parameters influencing the action of TBM disc tools in tunnelling, ACTA GEOTECHNICA, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, pp. 12, Vol. 12, ISSN: 1861-1125, DOI: 10.1007/s11440-016-0453-9
  • Rispoli A., Ferrero A. M., Cardu M., Farinetti A. (2017). Determining the Particle Size of Debris from a Tunnel Boring Machine Through Photographic Analysis and Comparison Between Excavation Performance and Rock Mass Properties, ROCK MECHANICS AND ROCK ENGINEERING, Springer-Verlag Wien, pp. 12, 2017, Vol. 50, ISSN: 0723-2632, DOI: 10.1007/s00603-017-1256-5
  • Seccatore J., Cardu M., Golin F., Isfer Maciel, L.G. (2017). Applying the concept of difficulty of tunnelling to Brazilian cases, In: ISEE (STATI UNITI D'AMERICA), 43rd Annual Conference on Explosives and Blasting Technique, Orlando, Florida January 29 – February 1, pp. 7
  • Cardu M., Rispoli A., Bilgin N. (2017). Innovazioni nello scavo meccanizzato in roccia, In: MIR 2017 – 16° Ciclo di Conferenze di Meccanica ed Ingegneria delle Rocce, Celid (ITALIA), Innovazione nella progettazione, realizzazione e gestione delle opere in sotterraneo, Torino 16-17 febbraio 2017, pp. 24, 2017, ISBN: 9788867890798
  • Cardu M., Seccatore J., Bettencourt J. (2016). Experiences from Experimental Mining in Brazil, In: Surface Mining, IBRAM - Brazilian Mining Association (BRASILE), 24th World Mining Congress, Rio de Janeiro 18-21 ottobre 2016, pp. 13, Vol. 3
  • Rispoli A., Ferrero A.M., Cardu M., Brino L., Farinetti A. (2016). Hard Rock TBM performance: Preliminary study based on an exploratory tunnel in the Alps, In: Rock Mechanics & Rock Engineering: From the Past to the Future, Taylor & Francis Group (REGNO UNITO DI GRAN BRETAGNA), EUROCK 2016, Cappadocia, Turkey 29-31 August, pp. 6, Vol. 1, ISBN: 978-1-138-03265-1
  • Cardu M., Dipietromaria S., Oreste P. (2016). Sub-level Stoping in an Underground Limestone Quarry: an Analysis of the State of Stress in an Evolutionary Scenario, ARCHIVES OF MINING SCIENCES, Polish Academy of Sciences - Committee of Mining, pp. 18, Vol. 61, ISSN: 0860-7001, DOI: 10.1515/amsc-2016-0015
  • Cardu M., Seccatore J. (2016). Quantifying the difficulty of tunnelling by drilling and blasting, TUNNELLING AND UNDERGROUND SPACE TECHNOLOGY, Elsevier Science Limited, pp. 5, Vol. 60, ISSN: 0886-7798, DOI: 10.1016/j.tust.2016.08.010
  • Cardu M., Seccatore J. (2016). Remarks on Some Mechanical Small-Scale Tests Applied to Properties of Materials, ROCK MECHANICS AND ROCK ENGINEERING, Springer-Verlag Wien, pp. 9, Vol. 49, ISSN: 0723-2632, DOI: 10.1007/s00603-015-0902-z
  • Cardu M., Seccatore J., Vaudagna A., Rezende A., Galvão F., Bettencourt J.S., De Tomi, G. (2015). Evidences of the influence of the detonation sequence in rock fragmentation by blasting – Part I, REM. REVISTA ESCOLA DE MINAS., Scielo, pp. 6, Vol. 68, ISSN: 0370-4467, DOI: 10.1590/0370-44672014680218
  • Cardu M., Mucci A., Uyar G.U. (2015). Investigating the effects of bench geometry and delay times on the blast induced vibrations in an open-pit quarry, GEAM. GEOINGEGNERIA AMBIENTALE E MINERARIA, Patron, pp. 12, Vol. 52, ISSN: 1121-9041
  • Cardu M., Seccatore J., Vaudagna A., Rezende A., Galvão F., Bettencourt J.S., De Tomi, G. (2015). Evidences of the influence of the detonation sequence in rock fragmentation by blasting – Part II, REM. REVISTA ESCOLA DE MINAS., Escola de Minas, pp. 8, Vol. 68, ISSN: 0370-4467, DOI: 10.1590/0370-44672014680218
  • Origliasso C.; Cardu M.; Kecojevic V. (2014). Surface Miners: Evaluation of the Production Rate and Cutting Performance Based on Rock Properties and Specific Energy, ROCK MECHANICS AND ROCK ENGINEERING, Springer-Verlag Wien, pp. 14, Vol. 47, ISSN: 0723-2632, DOI: 10.1007/s00603-013-0393-8
  • Cardu M.; Oreste P. (2014). Productivity and working costs of modern trench-cutters for the construction of concrete diaphragms in an urban environment, INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MINING, RECLAMATION AND ENVIRONMENT, Taylor & Francis Group, pp. 15, Vol. 28, ISSN: 1748-0930, DOI: 10.1080/17480930.2013.795340
  • Alber M.; Yarali O.; Dahl F.; Bruland A.; Kasling H.; Michalakopoulos T.N.; Cardu M.; Hagan P.; Aydin H.; Ozarslan A. (2014). ISRM Suggested Method for Determining the Abrasivity of Rock by the CERCHAR Abrasivity Test, ROCK MECHANICS AND ROCK ENGINEERING, Springer, pp. 6, 2014, ISSN: 0723-2632, DOI: 10.1007/s00603-013-0518-0
  • Iabichino G., Barbero M., Cravero M., Fidelibus C. & Usai G (2014). Experimental tests for the assessment of the shear strenght of marble waste dumps. Environmental Earth Sciences, 71: pp. 3259-3271
  • Cardu M.; Oreste P. (2012)- Technical–operational comparison between trench-cutters and clam excavators for concrete diaphragm construction in underground works at shallow depths, INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MINING, RECLAMATION AND ENVIRONMENT, Taylor & Francis, pp. 16, Vol. 26, ISSN: 1748-0930, DOI: 10.1080/17480930.2012.712819
  • Cardu M.; Dompieri M.; Seccatore J. (2012). Complexity analysis of blast-induced vibrations in underground mining, a case study, MINING SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, Elsevier, pp. 7, Vol. 22, ISSN: 1674-5264, DOI: 10.1016/j.ijmst.2011.06.013
  • Cardu M.; Giraudi A. (2012). Metal-rock pair characterization in excavation engineering, JOURNAL OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN INSTITUTE OF MINING AND METALLURGY, SAIMM - THE SOUTHERN AFRICAN INSTITUTE OF MINING AND METALLURGY., pp. 8, Vol. 112, ISSN: 0038-223X
  • Barpi F., Valente S., Cravaro M., Iabichino G.& Fidelibus C. (2012). Fracture mechanics characterization of an anisotropic geomaterial. Engineering Fracture Mechanics,84, pp.111-122, Semi-circular specimen under three-point Bending (SCB)
  • Valente S., Fidelibus C., Loew S., Cravero M., Iabichino G. & Barpi F. (2012). Analysis of Fracture Mechanics Tests on Opalinus Clay. Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering, Ѐnline First™, 21 February 2012, pp.767-779
  • Cardu M.; Giraudi A.; Murthy V. M. S. R. (2011). Evaluation of dimension stone cutting by diamond wire saw in two marble quarries, DIAMOND TOOLING JOURNAL, Martin Jennings, pp. 6, Vol. 3, ISSN: 2042-728X
  • Cardu M.; Lovera E.(2011). Extraction of dimensione stone as a co-product of civil engineering works: a case study, CIM JOURNAL, Canadian Institute of Mining, pp. 6, 2011, Vol. 2, ISSN: 1923-6026
  • Cardu M.; Oreste P. (2011). Tunnelling in urban areas by EPB machines: technical evaluation of the system, EARTH SCIENCES RESEARCH JOURNAL, pp. 7, 2011, Vol. 15, ISSN: 1794-6190
  • Cardu M.; Giraudi A.; Murthy V. M. S. R. (2011). Evaluation of dimension stone cutting by diamond wire saw in two marble quarries, DIAMOND TOOLING JOURNAL, Martin Jennings, pp. 6, 2011, Vol. 3, ISSN: 2042-728X
  • Segor V.;Pitet L.; Chiaia B.; Frigo B.;Barbero M.;Barpi F.; Borri Brunetto M.; Bovet E.; De Biagi V.; Pallara O.; Zanini E.; Freppaz M.; Maggioni M.; Bruno E.; Ceaglio E.; Godone D.; Viglietti D.; Brulport A.; Cardu M.; Giraudi A.; Godio A.; Rege R. (2011). Il distacco artificiale a Punta Seehore: metodologie impiegate e campagna sperimentale., NEVE E VALANGHE, A.I.NE.VA., pp. 8, 2011, Vol. 73, ISSN: 1120-0642
  • Cardu M.; Dompieri M.; Seccatore J. (2011). How complexity analysis contributes to blasting practice, In: International Society of Explosives Engineers (STATI UNITI D'AMERICA), 37th Annual Conference on Explosives and Blasting Technique, San Diego CA Febrauary 6-9, 2011, pp. 11, 2011, Vol. 1
  • Cardu M.; Giraudi A.; Murthy V.M.S.R.; Choudhary B.S.; Shukla A. (2011). Rock characterization and wire performances for dimension stone cutting by diamond wire saw, In: A. Zharmenov (KAZAKISTAN), Twentieth International Symposium on, Almaty October 12-14, 2011, 2011, ISBN: 9786017146153
  • Cardu M., Michelotti E. (2010). Innovative method to recover and recycle the technological materials used in dimension stones processing, CIM JOURNAL, pp. 4, Vol. 1, ISSN: 1923-6026
  • Cardu M.; Giraudi A.; Michelotti E. (2010). Combined use of explosives and cutting machines in urban demolition, GEAM. GEOINGEGNERIA AMBIENTALE E MINERARIA, pp. 8, 2010, Vol. XLVII, 2, ISSN: 1121-9041
  • Cardu M.; Oreste P.; Cicala T. (2010). Analiza danych uzyskanych podczas monitorowania pracy maszyny TBM w trakcie budowy tuneli kolejowych, GEOINzYNIERIA, DROGI, MOSTY, TUNELE, Inzynieria Bezwykopowa, pp. 4, 2010, Vol. 5, ISSN: 1895-0426
  • Iabichino G., Cravero M. (2010). Application of a new stress measurement device in underground marble quarrying, a case study, Proceedings of the 5th International Symposium on In-situ Rock Stress, August 25-27, 2010, Beijing, P.R. China, Sponsored by International Society for Rock Mechanics, (, 6 pp
  • Frigo B.; Chiaia B.; Cardu M.; Giraudi A.; Godio A.; Rege R. (2010). Experimental analysis of snowpack effects induced by blasts, In: International Snow Science Workshop - ISSW 2010, Lake Tahoe - California (USA) October 17- 22, pp. 7, 2010, ISBN: 9788857901015
  • Cravero M., Iabichino G., Lollino G. & Piana F. (2010). Geomechanical study for stability and land protection evaluation at a large quarry site. Proceedings of the 44th US Rock Mechanics Symposium and 5th U.S.-Canada Rock Mechanics Symposium, Salt Lake City, UT June 27–30, 2010, Copyright 2010 ARMA, American Rock Mechanics Association, Paper n. 10 – 2016, 16pp, in CD-ROM, A2, 44th US Rock Mechanics Symposium and 5th U.S.-Canada Rock Mechanics Symposium, 27/06/10, Salt Lake City, UT
  • Iabichino G., Cravero M, (2010). Monitoraggio geomeccanico e misurazione dello stato di sollecitazione in cave di marmo a cielo aperto ed in sotterraneo. Atti dell'85° Congresso Nazionale della Società Geologica Italiana, Sessione 16, pp. 43-63, 06/09/10, Pisa.