Materials and Solid Mechanics (MSM)

Solid mechanics describes how a solid (materials, structures) behaves when it is exposed to forces and deformations. It gathers the fundamental principles and methods of structural mechanics.



he performance of a structure must be computed to define its optimal design versus its uses and its constraints. The field of construction is only one domain of application, as mechanics of solids and structures is a key knowledge to focus on metal shaping, material manufacturing or to study any structure subjected to fatigue, fire, seisms, etc.

Material science studies the structure, properties, behavior and performance of the materials. Currently mechanical, thermal, metallurgical points of view are  covered  by  MSM  team. MSM research activities combine theoretical and numerical modelling (multi-scale and multi-physics approaches), laboratory experiments and field tests, characterization (inverse modelling), processes, design and decision-making tools, as well as fatigue life prediction.

MSM develops constitutive laws in the home-made finite element software Lagamine with coupling between thermal, mechanical and metallurgical behaviour. Phenomenological as well as multiscale (e.g. homogenization approaches, crystal plasticity) models are proposed.


Research topics

The following list gathers the main fields covered by MSM team:

  • Thermo-mechanical-metallurgical links and associated constitutive laws
  • Modelling of industrial material forming processes
  • Ductile failure, fracture criteria, damage modelling
  • Crystal plasticity, multi-scale analysis (texture, recristallisation, rupture, quasi cuntinuum method, etc.)
  • Identification of material parameters by coupling experiments and simulations (metal behavior at high temperature, sheet anisotropy, fatigue behavior, etc.)
  • Development of finite elements


The team

Scientific and academic staff

Duchene Laurent (associate professor)

Habraken Anne-Marie (Research Director FNRS) 

Tran Hoang Son (Post-doctorant)

Bouffioux Chantal (Research Engineer)

Sibo Yuan (Assistant – PhD student)

Hélène Morch (PhD student)

Jardin Ruben (PhD student)

Researcher shared with MMS team (Jocelyn Delahaye PhD student)


Admninistrative staff

Defrère Laurence (Secretary- MS²F)

Lidija Jurin (SAP executive secretary)


Ongoing and past projects

  • MATSPIF-ID (2018-2022) Identification of material parameters (large plastic deformation state) by Single Point Incremental Forming process (PDR FNRS Grant).
  • ECA Emerald Casting Assistant (2018-2020) MECATECH project– Walloon Region project with EBDS Engineering, Louvain Interaction Laboratory (UCL), Pegard Productics.
  • Upgrading Lagamine code to an efficient parallel version (2017): Internship Antoine Sadzot, Haute Ecole de la ville de Liège (supervision: L. Duchêne).
  • Solar Perform (2016-2019) MECATECH Walloon Region project with CMI, CRM and Lithcote - Comportement en service des absorbeurs thermiques d'un récepteur solaire dans les centrales à tour de nouvelle génération: évaluation de la tenue des formulations actuelles et investigation de nuances prospectives.
  • Size effect Ph.D. thesis of Sibo Yuan, assistant (2015-...) +  FSA-ULg support operational cost (2016): Experimental characterization and numerical modeling of metallic material mechanical behavior at various length scales
  • SPIF Master thesis of Antonio Martinez (2016-2017): 'Etude expérimentale et numérique du formage incrémental de type Single Point Incremental Forming'
  • Sandwich panel Master thesis of Francisco Javier Gil Mena (2016-2017): Development of an analytical or numerical model allowing to approximate the wrinkling strength from the design of the outer steel sheet' with CRM
  • Assemblages boulonnés Master thesis with Sonaca of Clément Heslouin (2016-2017): 'Evaluation de l'intérêt d'appliquer en aéronautique les techniques de modélisation des assemblages boulonnés développées en Génie Civil
  • Straightening of metallic steel bars Industrial contract ASCOMETAL (February-September 2015) collaborative  project MSM - JP Ponthot team, ASCOMETAL and a master student of INSA Rouen
  • LASERCLADING, PDR-FRS-FNRS Project, Optimisation of Lasercladding process (07/2014-06/2018), supervision of R. Jardin, H.-M. Montrieux and H.S. Tran, collaboration MMS Jacqueline Lecomte Beckers
  • OPTIBRI, RFCS European project, Optimal use of high Strength Steel grades within bridges (2014-2017), supervision of C. Bouffioux and of a broad of experimental campaign.
  • INTEMATE Belspo, Interuniversity Attraction Poles P7- Multiscale mechanics of interface dominated materials, (UCL-KUL-ULG, RMA, Ghent) (2012-2017) responsibility of transversal tasks on modelling, 2 Ph D theses to launched (tool steel laser deposition; fatigue crack in Ti6Al4V) 1 Post Doc on crystal plasticity and links toward Discrete Dislocation Dynamics and Molecular Dynamics
  • ANALYSIS OF RUPTURE OF BIMETALLIC ROLLING MILLS by FE simulations, Ph D of I. Neira (2012-2015), Grant from Chilean government with P. Flores. Operating cost ULg Special Funds and FNRS
  • MODELLING OF TA6 THERMOMECHANICAL MACROSCOPIC BEHAVIOUR (2007-2015), Ph D G. Gilles FRIA Grant and research assistant, further researches toward microscopic laws.
  • EXPLANATION OF RUPTURE OF ROLLER FOR VERTICAL ROLLING MILLS, industrial contract Magotteaux (2012-2014), Supervision of L. Zhang, G. Gilles.
  • DAMAGE PREDICTION IN INCREMENTAL FORMING, Project FRFC-SPIF (May 2011-2014), OhD ends in 2015 collaboration with MMS (J Lecomte Beckers), supervision of C. Guzman and Anne Mertens
  • REMESHING IN INCREMENTAL FORMING, Ph D of J. Sena (2011-2014), Grant from Portuguese Government with Aveiro R de Souza and R. Valente
  • CONTHEDAS Industrial contracts on sheetpile cooling and straightening process (November 2010-January 2014) with ARCELOR MITTAL collaboration with JP Ponthot, ULg and CRP Tudor Luxembourg
  • CRFORMET (Développement d'un critère de formabilité 3D des métaux) (2 years Post-Doc 2007-2009), then CIFRE Ph. D Thesis with Arcelor Mittal and ENSAM Metz (2010-2013), Development of a 3D formability criterion adapted to any forming process.
  • FABULOUS Project Winnomat 2 Region Walloon (April 2009–2012) Development of a computational tool to model Fan Blade Out for TA6V blades. JP Ponthot is promoter, AM Habraken is in charge of elastoviscoplastic anisotropic model, supervision of V. Tuninetti, C. Bouffioux, O. Milis, P. Gonry, T. Pardoen (UCL) develops the damage aspects.
  • NICKEL MICROFORMING Post Doctoral stay of 2 years of C. Keller (Sept 2009–Aug 2011), Scale effect : experimental work, identification of a gradient plasticity model and test modeling, work in collaboration with SIMTech Singapour and Galati Roumania and PhD of A. Mitica “Microforming of Ni”, research paid by Roumania and mobility grant of ULg, partners: Crismat Caen, SIMTech Singapour.
  • RPQFlat Modeling of the process of hardening of steel plates by quench and optimization of their flatness and their metallurgical properties (roller pressure quench flat) (July 2009- June 2011), FIRST Post Doc (Walloon Region)
  • DINOSAURE Project Winnomat 2 Region Walloon (2008-2011)  Nanoscopic dimensioning applying to the coating, with ArcelorMittal, UCL, ULB. Development of a tool for the design of coating: nanometric metallic layer and polymer layer on a metallic substrate on the basis of micro laboratory test on chips, (UCL) T Pardoen is promoter, ULB studies gradient plasticity and experimental issues, AM. Habraken and L. Duchêne develop the numerical models of macroscopic observations such as wrinkles, rupture by analytical model and the development of solid shell FE element and one experiment on wrinkling. Supervision L. Zhang, A. Ben Bettaïeb
  • PHYSICS BASED MULTILEVEL MECHANICS OF MATERIALS (2007-2011) Interuniversity Attraction Poles IAP6/P24 Belgian Science Policy), Study of materials to model by FEM their macroscopic behaviour by taking into account the lower scale mechanisms.
  • SOUBIRO Study of the phenomena of breaking of bimetallic rolls in the course of the heat treatment (October 2008-September 2010), FIRST Post Doc (Walloon Region)
  • ALECASPIF Aluminium alloy improved by ECAP process and formed by SPIF (2007-2010), PAT project of Belgian Science Policy), A new Sc aluminium alloy is investigated towards aeronautical applications. Budget ULg : 254 005 EUR Partenaires universitaires : KUL - MTM (Bert Verlinden), KUL - PMA (Joost Duflou), US (University of Strathclyde) - DMEM (Andrzej Rosochowski) Partenaire industriel : CRM (Alain Schmitz)
  • TITAERO (2004-2010) Development of Ti-LCB alloy mechanical characteristics to decrease the weight of turbo-reactors REGION WALLONNE, We work on a microscopic cell able to investigate the material answer according the different phases (alpha and beta) in presence under static or fatigue loading.
  • QUAPERIN (Jan 2006-Dec 2009) QUAlity of steel alloys «PEritectiques » and INox produced by continuous casting Walloon Region project with Industeel, Carinox, ARCELOR and Aachen University RWTH  
  • CENCYLAM (Oct 2005-sept 2009) Centrifugation casting process of rolling cylinder, Walloon Region project with Marichal Kettin industry and Hydrology department (ULG). We develop a model of this process and have to identify an adapted material model.
  • ENETIC (Etude Numérique et Expérimentale des TIssus Cérébraux) Numerical modelling and experimental characterization of brain tissues
  • STUDY OF THIN SHEET IN STAINLESS STEEL PhD Thesis of Barbara Rossi (aspirant FNRS, Oct 2005 - Sept 2009), Material behaviour and structural analysis, numerical macroscopic models and experimental study, civil engineering applications.
  • MACROSCOPIC METALLIC FOAMS (2004-2009) Action Recherche Concertée, Communauté Française. This experimental and numerical study investigates new metallic material at low cost for civil engineering (recycling of cans, stretched steel sheets "metal déployé").
  • VIF (Virtual Intelligent Forging) (2004-2008), Coordinate Action EU, Numerical benchmarks and experimental benchmarks, collect of material data to define a data base for forging models.
  • NATURAL NEIGHBOURS METHOD (2005-2007) Dalian University of Technology, R.P. China, Development of an original numerical method for the analysis of 2D linear elastic problems.
  • MICRO-MACRO MODELLING OF HCP MATERIAL PhD Thesis of Thomas Lelotte (ULg assistant Oct 2004 - 2007), Extension of previous work of L. Duchêne towards hcp material, strong collaboration with L. Delannay and his Multisite law.
  • SEMPER (2003-2007) Sheet Metal Oriented Prototyping and Rapid Manufacturing, SBO project of Flanders Region). Development of the modelling of the Single point incremental forming.
  • VERAPS (2003-2007) Validation and Enhancement of Risk Assessment procedure for Seismic Connections ECSC European contract, We model the occurrence of fatigue cracks by 3D cohesive models. Actual tests are performed in Karlsruhe, the FE model must take into account the residual stresses due to welding process. Both identification and validation of the numerical model are performed before its use to predict connections behaviour in new cases.
  • PROINDU (2003-2006) REGION WALLONNE, ARCELOR "Numerical and experimental study of metal sheet hardening : development of an experimental device and implementation of hardening models in F.E. codes. This project is the industrialisation of PROMETA (« Prédiction numérique de l'angle de surformage en profilage à froid »). For 2006 and 2007 a very important number of cyclic shear tests has been ordered by ARCELOR.
  • FROM MICROSTRUCTURE TOWARDS PLASTIC BEHAVIOUR OF SINGLE-AND-MULTIPHASE MATERIALS (2001-2006) Interuniversity Attraction Poles IAP5/P08, Belgian Science Policy, Development of a set of typical constitutive models in which knowledge is implemented of the influence of various generic aspects of the microstructure on the deformation of metallic materials.
  • STUDY OF ENGINE PIPES IN ORDER TO DEVELOP A NUMERICAL TOOL INTEGRATED IN CATIA V5 (2003-2005), SAMTECH S.A., Development of a "pipe" non linear finite element integrated in CATIA V5

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