Semester and Master Projects

Our lab is always looking for motivated students wishing to discover computational solid mechanics through challenging research topics and/or practical applications. We try to provide unique project subjects, tailored to the student and related to research relevant to the laboratory, such as:

  • fracture and damage mechanics
  • numerical methods (finite elements, boundary elements, coupling methods, homogenization, etc.)
  • structural analysis
  • contact mechanics, tribology
  • discrete and atomistic modeling
  • high performance computing
  • material modeling
  • and many more…

The complete list of available projects can be found below shortly before each semester. We often engage in collaborations with other labs and universities. We are also open to suggestions for project topics. If you have an idea for a project you wish to do within our lab, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Master’s semester projects – Spring 2024

For master’s theses and more semester projects, you can contact [email protected]. Don’t hesitate to check out previous projects on infoscience.

Deep drawing is a common process in the high-volume production of sheet metal components for the automotive and consumer goods industries. In this process, a sheet is pulled into a forming die by the mechanical action of a punch and is secured in place between the die and the binder. The complexity of feasible parts depends on the deformation and fracture properties of the sheet material. Additionally, the friction in the contact areas between the sheet and the forming tools plays a crucial role. Friction can be beneficial as it controls the flow, preventing wrinkles. However, excessive friction can cause splitting of the parts. Therefore, it is important to have a thorough understanding of the frictional behavior of metal sheets in the deep drawing process. 
Several semester projects in collaboration with Novelis Switzerland, a leading supplier of highly specialized aluminum sheet products for the automotive industry, are available. These include the possibility to conduct experiments at Novelis R&D lab, or within the Tribology and Interfacial Chemistry (TIC) Group at EPFL, as well as numerical simulations within the Computational Solid Mechanics Laboratory at EPFL. 

Pin-on-Plate Tests
One widely used method to measure the friction coefficient and study wear between two sliding surfaces is the pin-on-plate friction test. In this setup, a stationary pin is pressed against a plate and slides horizontally while a load cell measures the tangential force exerted on the pin. The CoF (Coefficient of Friction) is then obtained by dividing the measured tangential force by the applied normal load. Additionally, the wear weight at a certain sliding distance provides a measure of the system’s wear. 
This project aims to use a pin-on-plate tribometer to investigate the influence of lubrication, normal load, and surface roughness on the wear and frictional behavior of a cast iron tool pin and an aluminum plate. To achieve this, the student will conduct pin-on-plate tests and measure the wear weight before and after the tests. Besides the wear measurements, the student will also measure microhardness and capture confocal and SEM images before and after the tests. A background in materials science is recommended for this project. 

Evaluation Method for Frictional Shear Stress Distribution in Strip-Draw Tests: 
In this project, mechanical strip-draw tests (as shown in the figure below) are used to quantify the friction response of typical deep drawing contact partners, i.e., sheet metal, tool, and lubricant (tribological system). Previous investigations have demonstrated that the friction response to various testing conditions, such as contact normal pressure and sliding velocity, is highly nonlinear and cannot be adequately described by simple linear models like Coulomb friction. Additionally, it was concluded that the frictional shear stress distribution in the contact area of a strip-draw test is inhomogeneous. 
The objective of this work is to develop a reverse engineering method for the inhomogeneous frictional shear stress distribution in a strip-draw test. Using this method, both existing and new strip-draw tests will be evaluated. The resulting database will be analyzed, and, considering continuum mechanics principles, a suitable new frictional contact model will be derived to accurately represent the behavior observed in the experiments. If time permits, the new contact model will be implemented as a user subroutine into an existing FEA code. Finally, the functionality of the code will be demonstrated through simulation examples. A background in mechanical or civil engineering is recommended for this project. 

 

Earthquakes  can be devastating, both in terms of human and material damage. Although their existence has been known since the dawn of time, the physics of earthquakes is still poorly understood. Natural faults and earthquake characteristics are known to follow scaling  power-law. The origin of this phenomenon has strong implications on the physical mechanisms driving slip events. However, it is not yet clear. The emergence of complexity can be related to the disorder of the system. Understanding if the observed complexity  comes from the inherent complexity of the frictional motion or the system’s complexity is essential to better understand – and one day eventually predict – earthquakes. It has been  shown numerically with a simple system without any disorder that resulting slip events follow a power-law distribution for the small events – like natural slip events – and a log-normal distribution for the larger ones. This project aims to study how adding  disorder in this simple system will influence the transition between the power-law and the log-normal distribution of slip events. To do so, the student will use a finite element software developed in the lab (Akantu).

Supervisors:
Ferry Roxane Mathilde Suzanne, Jean-François Molinari

Extreme loads on solids lead to the formation of a multitude of cracks that propagate, branch and coalesce to form fragments. This process is called dynamic fragmentation. This process is of importance in many domains of engineering, where it is fundamental to predict the outcome of high velocity impacts or explosions. Often, one would like to extract statistics such as fragment size distribution. This project will feature experiments on object breaking into pieces to extract experimental statistics on fragments. The student will then use a finite element software (Akantu) to simulate crack propagation using different methods such as phase-field modelling of fracture or cohesive elements. The statistics obtained numerically will be compared to the experimental ones to highlight  the advantage and limitations of the different simulation methods.

Supervisors:
Thibault Ghesquière-Diérickx,  Shad  Durussel, Jean-François Molinari

The impact of  a drop on a solid surface is a canonical problem in fluid mechanics of fundamental significance in numerous natural and industrial processes, such as ink-jet printing, aircraft icing and spray cooling. Recently we found out soft solids display a similar behavior when colliding with a rigid surface. Namely, the contact is not made on the tip, but on an annular radius, with air trapped in between. This project  will explore the scenario of highly viscous droplets and soft solids impacting on each other. The student will use the finite element software (Comsol Multiphysics) to simulate the dynamics using knowledge of both fluid and solid mechanics. Depending on the interest of the student the project will focus either on full 3D simulations to capture symmetry breaking or on axisymmetric ones to investigate the feasibility of using level-set or phase field simulation for droplet-air interface. 

Supervisors:
Jacopo Bilotto, Jean-François Molinari

 

Former student projects

Below is a non-exhaustive list of previous projects done by students of LSMS.

Introduction to dynamic fragmentation with FEM – plate breaking

L. Geiser 

2023-06-28.

Testing Benchmark for a Block Conjugate Gradient Solving Scheme in Poroelasticity

T. Heipke 

2023-07-17.

Study of shoe performance using a lattice spring model : Comparison of multiple outsoles

T. Schiesser 

2023-07-05.

Simulation of dynamic fragmentation of solids

T. Maurer 

2023-07-05.

Discrete Element Method (DEM) study of the interaction between a solid body and granular medium

N. Riez 

2023-01-12.

Data-driven Computational Mechanics: Implementation and Application

Y. Neypatraiki 

2023.

Development of a DEM simulation of the interaction between a shoe and soil

L. Jaques 

2022-06-06.

Extension of granular materials using machine learning

C. Majoor 

2022-06-06.

Classification of Granular Material – Applied Machine Learning to granular materials

A. Felber 

2022-06-13.

Heat transfer in layered media

A. Hatstatt 

2022.

Outsole-and-soil contact simulation with the FEM

M. Toure 

2022.

Ultiscale modeling of 1D site response analysis with data-driven computational mechanics and discrete-element method

A. Cornet 

2022.

DEM study of interaction between a salid body and a granular medium

V. Bhaivab 

2022.

Implementation of the INTERNODES method for contact

M. Waldleben 

2022.

Optimal material removal process

T. Ghesquière; S. Pham-Ba 

2021.

Contact Mechanics for Hyperelastic Materials

Y. Eddebbarh 

2021-07-02.

Exploration of auxetics materials in sport

T. Ghesquière-Diérickx; N. Tireford 

2021.

Dynamic crack propagation with phase-field approach

S. Durussel 

2021-06-25.

BEM Study of the Contact between Rough Surfaces for Dry and Lubricated Condition

S. Yin 

2021-06-25.

On the preconditioning of the INTERNODES matrix for applications in contact mechanics

Y. Voet 

2021-10-13.

Introduction to Dynamics with Finite Elements

J. Klok 

2021.

Improving the frictional resistance of a micro-architectured interface

T. Poulain 

2021.

Pressure effect on a crack

S. Wey 

2021-06-22.

Multi-scale modeling of aggregate interlock phenomena in concrete

M. Pundir 

2021.

On the preconditioning of the INTERNODES matrix for applications in contact mechanics

Y. Voet 

2021-01-05.

On the Characterisation of the Surface Roughness of 3d Object Scanned with Micro CT

J. Morin 

2021-01-27.

Dynamic rupture in plexiglass

X. Vingerhoets 

2021-01-13.

The investigation on the detachment of contact clusters between rough surfaces during sliding

S. Yin 

2021-01-13.

Numerical simulation of a two layered elastic system using the Boundary Element Method

J. Bussat 

2021-01-12.

Characterization of the surface roughness of 3d objects from micro CT

D. Delévaux 

2020-06-15.

Development of discrete surface growth models for frictional surfaces

T. Fry 

2020-01-23.

Stick-Slip in Peeling of Soft Adhesives: a Finite Element Model Using Reversible Cohesive Elements

E. Ringoot 

2020.

Tissue deformation algorithm to estimate breast tumor location from prone-to-supine position

V. Brault 

2020-07-14.

Fast modeling of frontal polymerization

S. Wattel 

2020-07-02.

BEUCHAT_Bachelor_Powerpoint

Z. Beuchat 

2020-06-15.

Numerical simulation of a layered elastic system using the boundaty element method

A. Forni 

2020.

Two-dimensional granular shear model

N. Jean 

2020-06-15.

Dynamic fragmentation of a fragile ring

Z. Beuchat 

2020-06-13.

Inverse Modelling and Predictive Inference in Continuum Mechanics: a Data-Driven Approach

C. Capelo 

2020-02-03.

Variational phase-field study of adhesive wear: elastic and elastic-plastic models

S. Collet 

2020-01-23.

Nonlinear Finite Elements in Dynamics

Y. Voet 

2020-01-22.

MATERIAL POINT METHOD A numerical evaluation for elastic problems

M. Metral 

2020-01-22.

Stress concentration in sparse lattice structures

B. Ravot 

2020-01-22.

Failure of adhesive pads

E. Ringoot 

2019-12-01.

The simulation and classification of contact clusters between rough surfaces

S. Yin 

2019-07-10.

Dynamic fracture in heterogeneous medium: cascading cracks in brittle rods

E. Ringoot 

2019-06-01.

Introduction à la dynamique en éléments finis : Modélisation d’une corde tendue

S. Marceta; S-J. Pham-Ba 

2019-06-10.

INTERNODES method for contact mechanics

S. Wattel 

2019.

Introduction to dynamics with finite elements

Y. Voet 

2019-06-11.

Study of the stiffness of a prism with finite element model

V. Brault 

2019-06-11.

Modeling the breaking-off of icebergs from tidewater glaciers

Q. Wang 

2019-01-16.

Meta-concrete by means of discrete element method

S. Wattel 

2019-03-08.

Application of Material Point Method

S. Ozden 

2019-02-28.

Adhesive wear study using a cohesive elements model

S. Collet 

2019.

Griffith’s Theory Validation using Finite Element Method

M. Jara 

2019-01-14.

Propagation of peeling in finite adhesive pads

I. Honsali 

2018-09-01.

Introduction to discrete modelling : Modelling slithering locomotion

M. Beqiraj 

2018-06-10.

Modelling the deformation of an X-ray micro-CT based 3D structure

O. H. Schöpfer 

2018.

Dynamic fragmentation with the cohesive element approach

M. Metral 

2018-06-28.

Introduction to contact mechanics: Elastoplastic normal contact between solids

C. Capelo 

2018-06-28.

Non-Linear Dynamic Deformations Model Applied to Earthquake Engineering

S. Pasche 

2018-06-28.

Introduction to Discrete Modelling

A. Evard 

2018-06-28.

The material point method

Z. Fouad 

2018-06-28.

Propagation of failure in finite adhesive pads

I. Honsali 

2018-06-28.

Introduction to dynamic of structures with the finite element method

P. De Groot 

2018-06-28.

1D dynamical model of frictional stick- slip motion

N. Woerle 

2018-06-28.

Investigation of Hessian-free methods to solve systems

O. Sabir 

2018-06-28.

Modélisation et optimisation des structures en coque par éléments finis

M. Lozano 

2018.

Design of a Fiberglass Skateboard

D. Sommer 

2018.

Introduction to dynamics with finite elements: a study of wave dynamics and applications to metaconcrete

G. Güell Bartrina 

2018.

Modélisation et optimisation des structures en coque par éléments finis

M. Lozano 

2018.

Study of the plastic interaction of asperities sitting on a rough surface

F. Bardi 

2017-06-01.

Modeling weak layer failure using non-associated plasticity

J. Volmer 

2017-06-14.

Introduction to Discrete Modeling for Engineering

S. A. Durussel 

2017.

Introduction to Discrete Modeling for Engineering

S. Z. Wattel 

2017.

Coupling of finite elements with Greens functions analytic expressions

N. El Berria 

2017.

Plasticité avec la méthode des éléments finis : analyse unidimensionnelle

C. M. C. Capelo 

2017.

Dynamique en éléments finis

A. B. Descombes 

2017.

Implementation of a Constitutive Law for Concrete

I. Thury 

2016.

Developing a 3D finite element model for reinforced concrete

L. Frérot 

2015.

Plasticity aspects of nano scale contact

T. Junge 

2010.