PhD students

Nicolas Dimov

Sarah Gayot 

Sarah Gayot has completed a Master’s degree in Chemistry at the French University of Lille in 2018, with a major in Polymer & Composite Engineering. Since then, she has joined the Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium) to start a PhD under the joint supervision of Pr. Thomas Pardoen (IMAP) and Pr. Christian Bailly (IMCN). Resulting from a partnership between UCL and the chemical company Arkema, represented by Dr. Michel Glotin and Dr. Pierre Gérard, Sarah’s work aims at improving the mechanical properties of continuous glass fibre reinforced thermoplastic acrylic composites, for the manufacturing of recyclable composite parts. To do so, a dual approach has been suggested: first, a top-down analysis of real-scale composite samples should lead to a better understanding of (i) the mechanical behavior of thick parts and (ii) the origin of defects in the material - e.g. porosity . Then, adopting a bottom-up perspective should help correct (or at least control) the occurrence of such defects during the manufacturing of CFRTP.

Nathan Klavzer

Nathan Klavzer graduated as a chemical and materials engineer at UCLouvain (Belgium) in 2019, with a specific focus on materials engineering. He is currently working on a PhD thesis, which started in January 2020, under the supervision of Prof. Pardoen at UCLouvain. His research is centred around the micro/nano-mechanical behaviour of highly crosslinked epoxy resins used as matrices for fibre reinforced composites. Precisely understanding the micro/nano-mechanisms dictating the nucleation and development of deformation and fracture has become of particular interest in the composite sector, in order to improve the predictive capabilities of numerical models. Hence, the objective of his research is to unravel the origin of the heterogeneous low scale deformation and related fracture observed in epoxy resins.

 Vincent Voet

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

Pierre Bollen, Dr, Senior scientist - Composites, Hybrids, coatings

Pierre Bollen graduated as engineer in chemistry and materials science at Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium) in 2010. In 2015, he obtained at UCL his PhD thesis entitled hierarchical hybrid materials combining wideband electromagnetic absorption and mechanical performance, funded by a FRIA grant. After working one year as a support engineer in the field of extended finite element modeling, he came back at the UCL as a senior researcher involved in applied research projects in collaboration with industry. He is currently dealing with erosion coating on CFRP as well as thermal and electromagnetic management in electrical power converter.

Vincent Destoop, Dr, Senior scientist - Mechanics of composites and adhesive bonding

Vincent Destoop made his PhD on the adhesion of tooth-filling materials to the dentine. He’s now working on composite materials to replace metals in aircraft applications. He takes part to projects studying the mechanical behavior of composite materials (mainly polymer matrix reinforced with long fibers) which are new candidate materials for modern planes. His investigations focus on their bulk, cracking, impact and adhesion properties.

Audrey Favache, Dr, Senior scientist - Tribology

Audrey Favache obtained a PhD degree in the domain of process control in 2009 at Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium), after having graduated there as chemical engineer in 2005. Since then, she is working as a "senior" researcher on several applied research projects in collaboration with the industry in the domain of mechanics of materials. More particularly, she is interested in the link between the mechanical properties of the individual components of a complex system and the global mechanical response of this system. She applied this approach to the framework of tribology and contact mechanics for understanding the scratch resistance of coatings and multilayered systems. Her work covers both experimental aspects and finite element simulations.

 Florent Hannard, Dr, Postdoctoral researcher




Sophie Ryelandt, Senior scientist

Sophie Ryelandt 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.

Olivier Poncelet, Dr, Senior scientist




Thaneshan Sapanathan, Dr, Chargé de recherche FNRS

Thaneshan SAPANATHAN 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.

 Frederik Van Loock, Dr, Postdoctoral researcher

Frederik Van Loock is a post-doctoral research associate at the Institute of Mechanics, Materials and Civil Engineering (IMMC) at the Université catholique de Louvain. He holds a BSc and MSc in Aerospace Engineering from the TU Delft (NL) and a PhD in Engineering from the University of Cambridge (UK), where he studied the mechanics of the solid-state nanofoaming process and the mechanical properties of polymeric nanofoams. His research interests are in the field of the mechanics of materials, with a special interest in the deformation and failure behaviour of polymers, polymeric foams, and polymer-based composites. His research at UCLouvain is focused on the development of a shear transformation zone model to predict the deformation and fracture of polymeric glasses.

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