Fatigue and Fracture mechanics

The fatigue & fracture mechanics research group is headed by Prof. Wim De Waele and consists of a team of 10-15 researchers. There are two teams within the research group, focusing on experimental techniques and analytical/numerical techniques. A list of projects can be consulted below.


Experimental fracture mechanics

The team on experimental fracture mechanics, led by Prof. Wim De Waele , focusses on the evaluation of structural integrity of metal structures and their joints. Static failure (fracture), dynamic failure (fatigue) and combined damage mechanisms (fatigue + wear, fatigue + corrosion) are studied by dedicated experimental techniques supported with numerical simulations. The team has wide experience with advanced instrumentation techniques for crack growth monitoring and damage detection, such as 3D Digital Image Correlation, Electrical Potential Drop, Infrared Thermography and some image processing techniques. Most activities are related to fusion welded joints and hybrid adhesive joints


Analytical & numerical fracture mechanics

The analytical & computational fracture mechanics team is led by Prof. Stijn Hertelé . His team investigates the fatigue and fracture of metal structures (with focus on welded connections) in scenarios exceeding standard guidance. Current research encompasses the fracture of pipeline welds in scenarios of high plastic deformation, fatigue lifetime assessment of dynamically loaded machine components and structures, and continuum damage mechanics. There is a strong interest in failure under combined damage mechanics (e.g. white etching cracking), and the coupling between non-destructive inspection techniques (NDT) and fracture assessment techniques. There is a long term aim to include the full geometrical / material complexity of the structure and its defect(s) into the assessments.