Three VKI members received the Solvay Awards

On October 21st, 2018, the Solvay Awards ceremony celebrated the laureates of the 2016 (Masters and PhDs) and the 2017 (PhDs) sessions. The Solvay Group awards PhD graduates who have successfully defended their thesis the previous year in the Faculty of Sciences or Engineering School of the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) or of the Vrije University Brussel (VUB). Three VKI PhD graduates have been distinguished for their PhD works and received this prestigious award from the Solvay Company: Bernd Helber (VKI PhD 2016 and currently research engineer at VKI), Chiara Spaccapaniccia (VKI PhD 2016 and currently research engineer at VKI) and Aurélie Bellemans (VKI PhD 2017 and currently post-doc at ULB). The Solvay group wishes to encourage young people to train and undertake research in science and technology fields in which research is essential  for the development of current and future industrial activities; and stimulate the inventiveness of talented PhD graduates and encourage them to think of how their work can contribute to societal progress. Congratulations to our 3 laureates!

Solvay Awards


Promoter VUB: Prof. Annick Hubin

Promoter VKI: Prof. Thierry Magin

Material Response Characterization of Low-Density Ablators in Atmospheric Entry Plasmas

Future space exploration missions will aim at returning extraterrestrial samples to Earth and continuing manned space exploration. Transformation and destruction of an ablative heat shield protect payload and astronauts from the severe heating when entering our atmosphere at velocities exceeding 10 km/s. This work focuses on the development of a complementary approach for characterizing the degenerative phenomena and interaction with the plasma flow that heat shieldof spacecraft undergo during reentry. Its main contribution is the advancement of experimental characterization methods required for improving the heat shield reliability, reducing design uncertainties, and developing new material simulation tools.

Chiara Spaccapaniccia

Promoter ULB: Prof. Gérard Degrez and Jean-Marie-Buchlin (VKI)Promoter VKI: Jean-Marie-Buchlin

Experimental study of Natural Convective Internal Flows

Generation IV nuclear reactors must be able to remove decay heat through passive systems, i.e. Natural Convection.In these conditions, buoyancy forces dominate the flow and thermal stratification is expected in the reactor's vessel. Since high temperature gradients may compromise the integrity of the structure, it is important to identify strategies to mitigate the stratification.Simultaneous measurements of mass flow, velocity and temperature were carried out in scaled water models reproducing reactor's geometry and heat transfer regime. It was found out that temperature gradients can be reduced by optimizing the upper plenum's geometry.

Aurélie Bellemans

Promoter ULB: Prof. Alessandro Parente

Promoter VKI: Prof. Thierry Magin

SPARK: Simplified Plasma Models based on Reduced Kinetics

Performing high-fidelity plasma simulations remains computationally expensive because of their large dimension and complex chemistry.In plasma science, hundreds of species in thousands of reactions are used in detailed physical models.These models are very complex as they describe the non-equilibrium phenomena due to finite-rate processes in the flow. With the current computational resources, detailed 3D simulations are still out of reach. A trade-off has to be made between the level of accuracy of the model and its computational cost. SPARK presents various methods to develop accurate reduced kinetic models for reacting flows. Starting from detailed chemistry, high-fidelity reductions are achieved through the combination of physics-based and empirical techniques.

Solvay Awards

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