Ongoing research projects


Ongoing research projects in iMMC (August 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


Fluid mechanics

Processing and characterisation of materials

Chemical engineering

Solid mechanics

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List of projects related to: multi-scale modeling

Efficient and scalable frameworks for PDE simulations
Researcher: Thomas Gillis
Supervisor(s): Philippe Chatelain

focuses his research on the development of efficient and scalable computational framework for the simulation of 3D PDEs on massively parallel and heterogeneous architectures.

Multi-scale modeling of a structured catalytic reactor for steam methane reforming
Researcher: Florent Minette
Supervisor(s): Juray De Wilde

Methane reforming is the most widely practiced process for the production of hydrogen and syngas. The process is however strongly limited by heat transfer between the furnace and the process gas, pressure drop and intra-particle diffusion limitations. Structured catalytic reactors are promising in order to intensify the process and deal with the limitations encountered in conventional reformers.
The multi-scale modeling of ZoneFlow structured catalytic reactors is addressed. The intrinsic reaction kinetics is experimentally studied in a micro-packed bed reactor. The Langmuir-Hinshelwood-Hougen-Watson-type rate equations are derived and non-linear regression is applied to estimate the rate parameters. A pseudo-continuum approach description of the catalyst coating is used to account for intra-catalyst diffusion limitations. The complex flow pattern is described by means of a CFD model. To bridge the scales of turbulence, the RANS approach is adopted and the k-epsilon turbulence model is applied. Thermal conduction and radiative heat transfer are included. The reactor model is validated using specific experiments including cold flow pressure drop, inert heat transfer and pilot plant tests under reactive conditions.
The developed model is then used to study and optimize the performance of ZoneFlow reactors under commercial operating conditions.

Modèle hybride multi- échelle pour l’ étude rh éologique des solutions de macromolécules
Researcher: Nathan Coppin
Supervisor(s): Vincent Legat

graduated in physical engineering at Université Catholique de Louvain in 2018 and is currently pursuing a PhD under the supervision of Prof. Vincent Legat. The goal of his thesis is to study the performance of the MigFlow Software using applications that require the management of frictional contacts.

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.

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.