PhD Students

Mariia Arseenko
graduated as an engineer majoring in nanomaterials at Belgorod National State University (Russia) in 2013. Now, she is performing a PhD thesis under the supervision of Pr. Aude Simar at Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium). Her research is part of the ERC Starting Grant ALUFIX and focuses on healing of damage in Al alloys with help of healing agents involving eutectic particles. Friction stir processing (FSP) will be used to provide fine distribution of healing particles in the Al matrix. The experimental part on the work includes choosing the best healing material and FSP parameters by help of microstructure and mechanical properties characterization as well as the identification of the damage mechanisms involved.

Nicolas Dimov

Julie Gheysen
graduated as a chemical and materials science engineer at Université Catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain in Belgium) in 2018. Now, she is currently performing a PhD thesis under the supervision of Prof. A. Simar. Her research is part of the ERC Starting Grant ALUFIX and focuses on the development of a new healable aluminum alloy. Additive manufacturing (AM) is used to finely disperse healing particles in the aluminum matrix. Then, a heat treatment should allow the diffusion of healing agents and restore metallic continuity. The project includes selection of the best healing agents and AM parameters, characterization of the microstructure, the mechanical properties and the damage mechanisms.

Nelson Gomes Affonseca Netto
graduated as a Naval Mechanical Engineer from Brazil (2016) and has completed a Master’s Thesis in Mechanical Engineering at University of North Florida (USA) in 2018. He now has joined the Université Catholique de Louvain (Belgium) to start a PhD under the supervision of Prof. Aude Simar and Dr. Lv Zhao. His research is part of the ERC Starting Grant ALUFIX and focuses on characterization and fracture investigation of metal matrix composites (MMCs) in the presence of shape memory alloy particles.
Friction stir processing (FSP) will be used to manufacture composites on 7xxx aluminum alloys and to homogeneously distribute the shape memory alloy particles in the aluminum matrix. The research goal is to introduce localized residual stresses in the metal matrix to delay or deviate the crack propagation under static or fatigue loading, and thus delay failure in structures made of high strength aluminum alloys.

Matthieu Baudouin Lezaack
graduated as a mechanical science engineer at Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium) in 2017. He currently performs a PhD thesis under the supervision of Pr. Aude Simar. His research focuses on friction stir processing (FSP) performed on 7xxx aluminium alloys. FSP could enhance mechanical properties such as fatigue, toughness and crack opening resistance without losing significant strength. Based on the microstructure analysis of 7xxx aluminium series and post processing heat treatments, FSP seems to supress conventional forming process drawbacks in particular precipitates free zones (PFZ) generally observed in industrial alloys. These PFZ are weak zones acting as preferential path to failure. In addition, FSP is expected to be an efficient way to restore the microstructural homogeneity of the alloy.

Juan Guillermo Santos Macias
is doing a PhD thesis under the joint supervision of Pr. Pascal Jacques and Pr. Aude Simar. This project aims at improving the mechanical behaviour of additive manufactured parts through a friction stir processing (FSP) surface mechanical treatment. This post-processing method significantly enhance ductility and is expected to also enhance fatigue resistance. Fatigue is a critical phenomenon in many applications, e.g. structural parts in the aerospace industry. More specifically, this research is focused on studying the effect of FSP on the microstructure (porosity and second phase size and spatial distribution) and mechanical behaviour (residual stresses and fatigue) of selective laser melting AlSi10Mg parts. Furthermore, in order to define an adequate FSP patterning strategy, the project will also feature an analysis of the influence of processing parameters through a chained thermal and microstructural model.

Corentin Velard

Vincent Voet
graduated as a mechanical engineer at the Université catholique de Louvain in 2019. He is currently performing a PhD thesis in partnership with Thales Alenia Space under the supervision of Prof. Aude Simar and Prof. Thomas Pardoen. His research focuses on thermal ageing of electronic component solder joints for space applications. Electronic equipments for satellites have to face temperature variations during their lifetime. It leads to solder joints thermal cycling due to coefficients of thermal expansion mismatches between the parts of electronic assemblies such as electronic components, solder joints and printed circuit boards (PCB). This research work aims to provide confidence interval estimates to predict the probability of succes or failure of electronic assemblies under specified conditions.

Senior scientists / postdoctoral researchers

Florent Hannard, Dr, Postdoctoral researcher
graduated as a materials science engineer at Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium) in 2013. He is currently doing a PhD thesis (funded by a FRIA grant), started in September 2013 and under the joint supervision of Prof. Thomas Pardoen and Prof. Aude Simar from UCL. His research focuses on the contribution from microstructure heterogeneities on the micromechanisms of ductile damage and cracking in metallic alloys. In order to address these effects on damage accumulation, a combined experimental and a modeling strategy is developed. The experimental strategy relies on in situ tensile testing coupled to 3D microtomography, in situ laminography during sheet loading and a variety of more classical mechanical tests. A cellular automaton type modeling is used to capture particle size distribution and cluster effects on the void nucleation and coalescence processes. His project also involves the use of friction stir processing (FSP) in order to increase the ductility of industrial aluminium alloys of the 6xxx series. From an applicability viewpoint, this method has the potential to locally improve ductility of sheets at locations where forming involves large strains or of structural components at stress concentration points.

Matthieu Marteleur, Dr, Senior scientist - Frature of steels and xxx

Alvise Miotti Bettanini, Dr, Senior scientist
discussed his PhD in April 2019. He worked under the supervision of Prof. Pascal J. Jacques and Prof. Laurent Delannay on the development of a high strength martensitic stainless steels for innovative automotive structural applications. He is now working at the Materials and Processing Engineering (IMAP) department within the ENTROTOUGH framework. This project, funded by the Wallonie Region, promotes the development of high toughness alloys for cryogenic applications like LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) pressure vessels. The CALPHAD method, which allows the predictions of phase stability and phase transformation in a metallic system using computational thermodynamics, drives the experimental effort, thus hastening the development cycle of new Fe-based superalloy with enhanced toughness at low temperature.

Sophie Ryelandt, Senior scientist
graduated as a physical engineer at Université catholique de Louvain in 1991. After having worked for six years at the R&D center of the Spadel company, she came back at UCL as a senior scientist. She is involved in various applied research projects in collaboration with the industry. Her research domains are dealing with material science, metallic composites, multilayered materials and coatings, additive manufacturing of metals, nanomechanical and mechanical testing and the link between microstructure and mechanical properties.

Thaneshan Sapanathan, Dr, Chargé de recherche FNRS
completed a mechanical engineering degree and a PhD at Monash University (Australia) in 2010 and 2014, respectively. His thesis was entitled “Fabrication of axi-symmetric hybrid materials using combination of shear and pressure”. During his PhD, he worked on architectured hybrid materials fabrication using severe plastic deformation (SPD) processes. Two novel axi-symmetric SPD techniques were investigated to fabricate hybrid materials with concurrent grain refinements. After that, he started a research project at University of Technology of Compiègne (France) in which he investigated the weldability window for similar and dissimilar material combinations using numerical simulations for magnetic pulse welding. He also studied the interfacial phenomena, behavior of material under high strain rate deformation, modeling and simulation of the magnetic pulse welding/forming. Currently, he is working as a postdoctoral research fellow at UCL on the topic of characterizations of aluminium to steel welds made by friction stir welds and friction melt bonding. In particular, he will study the residual stresses and effect of intermetallic distribution on the mechanical properties of these welds.

Camille van der Rest, Dr, Senior scientist
completed her PhD thesis on the optimisation of Heusler Fe2VAl-based thermoelectric compounds through innovative metallurgical processing in 2015. It was under the joint supervision of Prof. Pascal Jacques and Prof. Aude Simar. Her research topics now concern thermoelectric materials, additive manufacturing and friction stir processing technologies. Concerning thermoelectrics, the main objective is the development of low-cost, non-toxic, and powerful materials that could be used in large-scale industrial applications of heat recovery. In addition, she studies some fundamental aspects in order to improve the performances of such materials, i.e. ordering phenomena in off-stoichiometric Fe2VAl-based Heusler compounds. It is essential to make the link between (innovative) manufacturing processes, microstructures and the functional properties of these TE materials. Concerning additive manufacturing, the main contributions are on the characterisation and optimisation of the microstructures and the mechanical behaviour of Al parts obtained by Selective Laser Melting and the developpment of new materials for additive manufacturing. Again, the link between the process parameters and the final microstructure/properties is a key issue. Finally, Camille developed, together with Prof. Aude Simar and Prof. Pascal Jacques, a novel Friction Melt Bonding (FMB) process in order to weld aluminium alloys and steels. This process is still under development thanks to the collaboration with other researchers of IMAP.


Pauline Delroisse, Dr
graduated as mechanical engineer at Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL - Belgium) in 2014. She is working under the supervision of Pr. Aude Simar on a PhD thesis related to additive manufacturing which is the continuity of her master thesis. The main objective of this work is to process and optimize new lightweight architectured structures using selective laser melting (SLM). These structures are made of aluminium alloy (AlSi10Mg) and characterized in terms of microstructure (influence of the process parameters, porosity,..) and mechanical properties (impact resistance, tensile and compressive behaviors). Her work is in support of the increasing interest of the aeronautical and aerospatial industries in this new manufacturing technology.

Chunjie Huang, Dr
received a Ph. D degree in Jan. 2018 from the Lab. of ICB-Lermps of Université Bourgogne-Franche-Comté (UBFC) in France. His research interests are cold spray (CS), friction stir processing (FSP) and selective laser melting (SLM).
In June 2018, he started a post-doctoral stay in iMMC under the supervision of Prof. Aude Simar funded by an ERC Starting Grant. The topic of his research is the crack propagation of FSPed Al 7075 alloy and the healing of SLMed Al alloys.

Norberto Jimenez Mena, Dr
graduated as a mechanical engineer at the University Carlos III of Madrid, Spain, in 2013. He started his PhD thesis in September 2013 under the supervision of Prof. Aude Simar and Prof. Pascal Jacques and funded by a FRIA grant. His thesis aims at understanding and optimizing dissimilar welds of aluminium to steel by means of a novel Friction Melt Bonding (FMB) process. Currently, the transport industry lacks of reliable methods to join these two materials due to their metallurgical and physical incompatibilities. In FMB, developed and patented at the UCL, the bonding is formed by a reaction of liquid aluminium and solid steel to form a continuous intermetallic layer. The strength of the weld is mainly determined by the composition and shape of the intermetallic and the presence of solidification defects. The goal is to identify the role of the thermomechanical cycles in the intermetallic and defect formation to find an optimum that maximises the strength using finite element modelling, diffusion kinetics calculations, specific toughness testing.

Lv Zhao, Dr, Postdoctoral researcher
completed his Master and PhD degrees in Institut National des Sciences Appliquées de Lyon in 2013 and 2016. His PhD work addressed the fracture behavior of solar grade monocrystalline and multi-crystalline silicon wafers, in which a couple of innovative experimental techniques have been elaborated and new results highlighted. He is now working for the ERC Starting Grant ALUFIX as a post-doc fellow with Professor Aude Simar. He is particularly interested in the crack propagation in aluminum alloys in the presence of local residual stresses induced by healing agents such as shape memory alloy particles. His work encompasses an experimental part in which metal matrix composites (MMCs) will be fabricated by friction stir processing, and a numerical part in which cohesive zone method will be applied to address the crack path within the MMCs in the framework of finite element modeling.