Ongoing research projects

IMMC

Ongoing research projects in iMMC (December 2022)


This a short description of research projects which are presently under progress in iMMC.
Hereunder, you may select one research direction or choose to apply another filter:

Biomedical engineering

Computational science

Civil and environmental engineering

Dynamical and electromechanical systems

Energy

Fluid mechanics

Processing and characterisation of materials

Chemical engineering

Solid mechanics


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List of projects related to: composite




TECCOMA
Researcher: Pierre Bollen
Supervisor(s): Thomas Pardoen

graduated as engineer in chemistry and materials science at Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium) in 2010. In 2015, he obtained at UCLouvain 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 UCLouvain 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.



MACOBIO (MAtériaux COmposites BIOsourcés)
Researcher: Vincent Destoop
Supervisor(s): Thomas Pardoen

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. Recently, his research was oriented on biosourced composites. His investigations focus on the bulk, cracking, impact and adhesion properties.




Researcher: Catherine Doneux
Supervisor(s): Thomas Pardoen

graduated as Civil Engineer at University of Liege in 1992. She began her career with a first experience on the assessment of an existing prestressed railway bridge. Thanks to several FNRS grants, she obtained a PhD degree in the domain of steel-concrete composite structures under seismic action in 2002 and was involved in several researches on paraseismic design at ULg until 2005. After some career break, she joined UCLouvain in December 2008 to take part to the development of new composite activities related to various applied research projects in collaboration with the industry (aeronautics) Her main fields of expertise are the mechanical characterization of composite materials by mechanical testing, the quality control of the standardised tests and the development of new tests. She has also some experience in fatigue testing, damage characterization and fracture mechanics. She is currently working on the preforming of composite thermoset prepreg fabrics.



Improving the properties of glass fiber reinforced acrylic thermoplastic resin based composites
Researcher: Sarah Gayot
Supervisor(s): Thomas Pardoen

For the manufacturing of continuous fiber reinforced thermoplastic composites (CFRTP), certain monomers can be infused through glass fabric and then polymerized in situ, in order to make a thermoplastic composite part. However, defects - e.g. porosity - can occur in the material, due to the thickness of the laminates and the shrinkage of the resin matrix during polymerization. Such phenomena must be understood, as well as their effects on the mechanical properties of the final composite part.

The originality of this work lies in the very nature of the polymeric matrix used for manufacturing the composite parts, which is thermoplastic instead of thermoset. Little is known about the behaviour of such thermoplastic composites, especially at a microscopic scale. During this PhD, we will try to understand how defects occurring in the material can influence the structural properties of the CFRTP, and we will try to mitigate (or at least control) the incidence of such defects. This will imply a better knowledge of how usual characterisation techniques can be applied from thin to thick composite parts. In particular, digital simulation will be used so as to predict the properties of thick composite parts from those of thinner samples.



Micromechanics of crystallization of thermoplastic matrices in the interfiber regions of high-toughness composites
Researcher: Sophie Vanpée
Supervisor(s): Thomas Pardoen

A major effort is being made all over the world by industrial and research actors to lead the technological mutation of the field of advanced continuous fibers polymer composites from the current use of thermosetting matrices to thermoplastic ones which gather economic (increased production rates), environmental (recyclable) and performance advantages (tougher matrices). However, until recently, this transformation was strongly hindered by processing difficulties. Today, a precise prediction of the behavior of these materials based on the processing conditions becomes essential for many actors, such as the company Solvay, the industrial partner of the present thesis.















It is in this context that the thesis will be carried out. The objective of the STOUGH project is to unravel the influence of the composite microstructure on the kinetics and morphology of crystallization within the matrix, particularly in the neighborhood of fibers, in order to evaluate their influence on mechanical properties of the matrix and, hence, of the composite. The project is thus intrinsically multi-scale, which necessitates a combination of analyses at the different levels of the composite system, from its constituents themselves to the unidirectional (UD) ply level and eventually to the macroscopic composite.















The main questions are around the positive or negative impact of the conditions and the type of crystallization on the fracture toughness via local damage or decohesion of the fibers, as well as on the transfer of these effects to the macroscopic scale and the properties of use. To do so, it is necessary to understand what makes the behavior of the semi-crystalline polymer confined between fibers and the non-reinforced version of the same polymer different, and how factors related to transcrystallization condition the local mechanical behavior. Does the crystal morphology induce a local softening of the strength or the opposite? Are macroscopic constitutive models adaptable to this scale? Do the local internal stresses affect the first order strength of the interfaces? These are some of the major scientific questions that motivate the fundamental side of this project and justify the framework of a PhD thesis in collaboration with Solvay.















The thesis will be based on an innovative methodology relying on the use of the appropriate experimental methods for each level of investigation. For instance, it will combine atomic probing and nanoindentation for the nano- and microscopic characterization of the matrix, fiber-matrix interface properties measurements, image correlation analyses at the scale of the representative volume of the UD ply as well as macroscopic tests at the coupon level. Additionally, the project will also include the specimens processing and manufacturing steps, as well as numerical aspects to incorporate the acquired knowledge in existing models.