Ongoing research projects
Ongoing research projects in iMMC (May 2023)
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:
List of projects related to: geotechnics, soil dynamics
|Development of thermo-tensile nano devices operating ex situ or in situ in transmission electron microscopes (TEM)|
Researcher: Alex Pip
Supervisor(s): Hosni Idrissi
The main goal of my research project is to develop modern miniaturized devices dedicated to quantitative small-scale thermo-tensile testing in-situ inside a transmission electron microscope. These unique devices will be used to investigate the effect of T on the plasticity/failure mechanisms in selected materials, nanocrystalline palladium films and olivine. My project builds up on already existing MEMS devices, namely the commercial Push-to- Pull from Bruker.Inc and UCLouvain’s ‘lab-on-chip’ nano tensile testing devices. Currently, those devices are limited to room temperature experiments. My work will be dedicated to the integration of heating systems inside these two devices, in order to heat samples up to hundreds of °C. This will allow performing in-situ TEM thermo-tensile tests on Pd films and olivine samples where the coupling between tensile loading and heating could lead to unprecedented results regarding the effect of T on the mechanical response and the plasticity/failure mechanisms.
This project has a direct application in the field of geology, as one of the selected material is olivine, the material that makes up most of the upper part of the Earth’s mantle. Thermo-tensile testing of olivine at the micro/nano scale will bring crucial data about its rheology under conditions similar to the Earth’s mantle. This part of the project involving olivine will be performed in close contact with prof. Patrick Cordier and his team at UMET (Université de Lille). The other selected material is Pd, a material that is well known by the UCLouvain’s IMMC researchers used here as a benchmark. I will mostly work within the WINFAB platform, where I will develop and build the new thermo-tensile devices using the nanofabrication equipment. As theses devices are expected to be used in-situ inside a TEM, I will also partly work at the EMAT research center (UAntwerpen).
|A phase-field discrete elements model applied to granular material|
Researcher: Alexandre Sac-Morane
Supervisor(s): Hadrien Rattez
The main goal of the research project is to combine a phase-field modelization with a discrete elements modelization. This new approach is then applied to granular material to investigate the effects of the environment. A model is built and will be calibrated by experiments.
|Influence of soil saturation on earthen embankments failure by overtopping|
Researcher: Nathan Delpierre
Supervisor(s): Sandra Soares Frazao, Hadrien Rattez
In the current context of climate change and aging infrastructure, the failure of earthen dikes is becoming a
critical issue. Dikes have an essential protection role in flood defense, coastal protection or for the storage of
mining industry waste. The objective of the research is to develop and validate a simulation model to take into
account the effect of
saturation of the dike material on its stability when it is subjected to overtopping flows, which alone cause 34%
of failures (Costa, 1985). For this purpose, a complete simulation model will be developed, taking into account
the internal and external flows as well as the erosion and the consequences on the evolution of the stability of
the dam. The originality of this project lies in the multidisciplinary approach that takes into account the
evolution of the dike both from a hydraulic and hydrogeological point of view (water content, flow velocity and
surface erosion) but also from the point of view of the geomechanics and thus of the intrinsic stability of the
dike. Laboratory experiments will be carried out in order to validate the model experimentally. At this level, the
novelty brought by this project is the control of the evolution of the water content of the dike in real time with
pressure gauges and tensiometers. The acquired data will allow to calibrate the model and to confirm the key
role of the initial saturation in the dam failure.
Finally, based on the critical characteristics defined in terms of dike saturation, a study on large-scale
monitoring techniques will be carried out. In particular, the possibility of using technologies such as
photogrammetry or GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar) to determine the degree of saturation of a soil will be
investigated in the context of dike monitoring.