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14 February 2017

In memory of Luca Bertolini (1966-2017)

Born in Sondrio (Italy) in 1966, after graduating in Industrial Technology Engineering in 1990, Luca Bertolini got the PhD in Electrochemical Engineering in 1995 under the supervision of Prof. Pietro Pedeferri and Prof. Tommaso Pastore. His theses were focused on the durability of reinforced concrete structures, and in particular the PhD thesis was on “Control of rebar corrosion in concrete by means of current circulation: electrochemical aspects”.

He became assistant professor in 1995, associate professor in 1998 and full professor in 2005 in Materials Science and Technology at Politecnico di Milano, Department of Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Engineering “G. Natta”. The teaching activity was mostly devoted to materials science and technology and structures durability for Civil and Building Engineering and was carried out both in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and in the School of Architectural Engineering of Politecnico di Milano. He also taught in technology transfer courses, specializing masters and permanent education to professionals. His didactic activity led to the publication of two volumes on “Construction materials” (in Italian), which followed a former series of publications in cooperation with other colleagues of the Department. He supervised the theses of many MS students and PhD students.

His research activity was carried out in the Department of Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Engineering of Politecnico di Milano and for some periods at Aston University, Birmingham, UK cooperating with Prof. C.L. Page and Dr. G. Sergi, as well as at TNO Delft, NL cooperating with Dr. R. Polder.

As a researcher he gained important achievements in several fields, including new cementitious materials, stainless steel reinforcement, electrochemical techniques, preservation of cultural heritage, durability design, monitoring and repair of reinforced concrete structures.

His scientific activity is demonstrated by the numerous scientific projects, which resulted in a large number of publications (more than 300 papers). Among scientific books, he co-authored “Corrosion of steel in concrete” together with Pietro Pedeferri, Bernhard Elsener and Rob Polder; this text is a reference for all professionals, students and academics interested in the durability of reinforced concrete structures.

He was member of RILEM, American Concrete Institute and World Road Association. He participated to several technical committees. He was member of the working party “Corrosion of steel in concrete” of the European Federation of Corrosion. He actively participated in the networks of European Co‐operation in the field of scientific and technological research (COST actions 521 and 534).

Luca was an outstanding scientist and a nice person. He will be remembered by thousands of students, who experienced his skills and devotion to teaching. He will be missed by many colleagues, who shared his passion for work and his kindness in human relationships. He will stay in the hearts of his family and friends, who will never forget his courage in facing his illness and his endless optimism.


“Excluding prodigious and individual moments that destiny can give us, loving our job (which is unfortunately a privilege that not many people have) is the best approximation of happiness on Earth”, Primo Levi, La chiave a stella (The wrench), 1978.


Fabio Bolzoni, Matteo Gastaldi, Federica Lollini, Elena Redaelli


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