|Personal data||Research themes||Ongoing teaching||Publications|
Complexity addresses from a unifying point of view a large body of phenomena occurring in systems composed of interacting subunits. It constitutes a highly interdisciplinary, fast-growing branch of science and provides a privileged interface between mathematical and physical science on the one side and real-world complex systems on the other, as encountered, in particular, in life sciences. The Center is devoted to research on complex systems and the related fields of nonlinear science, statistical physics, thermodynamics, physical chemistry, systems biology, and simulations techniques. It contributes to the promotion of these topics thanks to training and visitor programmes, meeting organization, and the participation to national and international projects. It is composed of researchers of the academic staff of ULB, permanent FRS-FNRS researchers, postdoctoral researchers and graduate students. It is attached to the departments of physics, chemistry and biology of organisms of the Faculty of Sciences, as well as to the department of chemistry and material science of the Faculty of Applied Sciences.
Person in charge of the Unit : Oui
The objective of the research carried out at the Transfers, Interfaces and Processes (TIPs) laboratory of the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) is the experimental characterization and the mathematical modeling of transport phenomena within systems containing several phases (gas and/or liquid and/or solid), exchanging matter, heat or momentum, through an interface between these phases, at scales between the micron and the millimeter. The research carried out revolves around mainly fundamental and/or generic questions. They have direct applications in the fields of health, environment, heat transfer technologies and agro-food, chemical, microtechnology, materials and space industries. Our current research concerns 9 scientific topics: Drying, Enzymatic processes, Evaporation and boiling, Gas-liquid transfers, Microfluidics, Physiological fluids, Soft/Wet microrobotics, Surface rheology and, as a side research area, the characterization of Ancient hydraulic systems. The TIPs laboratory is composed of 5 professors and approximately 35 researchers. It is divided into two research units : "TIPs - Transport phenomena and process engineering" and "TIPs - Fluid physics". The TIPs laboratory collaborates with a number of scientific and industrial partners in Belgium, Europe, USA, Israel and Canada, in the frame of several networks funded by the European Commission or by the European Space Agency, and also thanks to support at National level (BELSPO, FNRS, Brussels and Walloon Regions). The team investigates mostly fundamental and/or generic questions, i.e. common to several natural or industrial processes. Studied problems most often involve notions of nonlinear dynamics, physical chemistry (equilibrium and non-equilibrium), statistical mechanics, transport phenomena, applied mathematics, ... The used tools are either theoretical (stability analyses, scaling laws, asymptotic techniques, ...), numerical (commercial or 'home-made' software), or experimental (fluid behavior visualization by interferometry, Schlieren, infrared thermography, ...). The TIPs laboratory has an experimental facility devoted to the realization, the characterization and the manipulation of systems including several phases (gas and/or liquid and/or solid), exchanging mass, energy or momentum, at a characteristic length scale between the micron and the millimeter. The lab is part of the Micro-milli platform. It is managed by Adam Chafaï, PhD.
At the TIPs (Transfers, Interfaces and Processes) Department of ULB, the main goal of the ongoing research is to develop new theoretical, numerical and experimental methods allowing to understand and predict the behavior of multiphase systems, and to design or optimize industrial processes dedicated to the transformation of matter (mineral, organic or biological) and energy. There are essentially six main research themes : mixing, gas-liquid mass transfer, dynamics of interfaces and their instabilities, wetting, porous media, heat transfer and phase change (evaporation, crystallization, ...). The Department is made of two complementary research units : the Fluid Physics Unit and the Chemical Engineering Unit. The Fluid Physics Unit collaborates with a number of scientific and industrial partners in Belgium, Europe, USA, Israel and Canada, in the frame of several networks funded by the European Commission or by the European Space Agency, and also thanks to support at National level (BELSPO, FNRS, Brussels and Walloon Regions). The team investigates mostly fundamental and/or generic questions, i.e. common to several natural or industrial processes. Studied problems most often involve notions of nonlinear dynamics, physical chemistry (equilibrium and non-equilibrium), statistical mechanics, transport phenomena, applied mathematics, ... The used tools are either theoretical (stability analyses, scaling laws, asymptotic techniques, ...), numerical (commercial or 'home-made' software), or experimental (fluid behavior visualization by interferometry, Schlieren, infrared thermography, ...).
For several years, we have developed a collaboration with archaeologists in order to analyze ancient hydraulic systems. It is commonly accepted that the Romans possessed a technical mastery of water supply. Nevertheless, few writings on this engineering practice are available. Moreover, due to the scientific knowledge in the field of fluid mechanics during the Roman period, these writings do not contain the usual modern information on the characterization of a hydraulic system. However, thanks to the current knowledge in fluid mechanics, it is now possible to simulate the flow that was taking place in a hydraulic remains presenting a good state of conservation. It is therefore possible to supplement the usual field information with data such as flow rates, velocity and pressure fields, energy losses, yields... In recent years, we were interested in fountains found in large houses in the southern part of the ancient Roman city of Apamea (Byzantine times). We were able to characterize their functioning using classical fluid mechanics approaches. The analysis of the results obtained clearly shows that these fountains were supplied with water by an aqueduct and that this feed was technically feasible in view of the remains of the Byzantine aqueduct still present in the north of the city. We were also interested in a peculiar system that can be observed within the ruins of the city of Perge (Turkey). During the Roman Imperial Period, at the middle of the main street of the city, a water channel was operated. This channel has peculiar dimensions and blocks were positioned inside it at a regular interval. By using open surface flow theory, we have been able to characterize the flow in this system and in diversions originating from it. Selected publications : Vekemans, O., & Haut, B. Hydraulic analysis of the water supply system of the Roman city of Perge. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 16, 322-329. 2017 Haut, B., Zheng, X.Y., Mays, L., Han, M., Passchier, C., & Angelakis, A.N. Evolution of rainwater harvesting in urban areas through the millennia. A sustainable technology for increasing water availability. In W.J.H. Willems & H.P.J. van Schaik (Eds.), Water and Heritage. The Netherlands: Sidestone Press. 2015 Vannesse, M., Haut, B., Debaste, F., & Viviers, D. Analysis of three private hydraulic systems operated in Apamea during the Byzantine period. Journal of Archaeological Science, 46, 245-254. 2014
In the field of drying, an important part of our work concentrates on the study of transport processes taking place at the scale of a product, during its drying. We have been interested in various products, from baker's yeast pellets to soils, colloidal suspensions, peppercorns or cocoa beans, in different kind of devices/geometries (laboratory tunnel dryer, fluidized bed, spray dryer, sessile drop, Hele-Shaw cell…). By combining experiments and mathematical modeling, we try to highlight and characterize the key phenomena involved and to develop models, validated experimentally, of the drying kinetics of these products. From the experimental point of view, we have developed various devices, combining continuous measurement of the drying rate and optical characterizations (by the use of microscopes or infrared cameras). From a more fundamental point of view, we are also interested in the quantification and the modeling of the competition that can exist in a porous medium between the evaporation of the liquid and the convective motion induced by capillarity (imbibition). At the scale of the dryer, we participate in several projects aiming at the development, based on a rational approach, of solar dryers, to be implemented within farmer cooperatives in developing countries (Uganda, Cambodia...). As part of a long-standing collaboration with Polytechnique Montréal, we are also interested in the development of alternative devices for the drying of yeast grains (rotary dryer, conical spouted bed...). Selected publications : Van Engeland, C., Spreutels, L., Legros, R., & Haut, B. Convective drying of baker’s yeast containing a carrier. Accepted in Drying Technology. 2018 Sobac, S., Colinet, P., Larbi, Z., & Haut, B. Mathematical modeling of the drying of a spherical colloïdal drop. Submitted to Journal of Colloïd and Interface Science. 2018 Herman, C., Spreutels, L., Turomzsa, N., Konagano, E., & Haut, B. Convective drying of fermented Amazonian cocoa beans (Theobroma cacao var. Forasteiro). Experiments and mathematical modeling. Food and Bioproducts Processing, 108, 81-94. 2018 Talbot, P., Lhote, M., Heilporn, C., Schubert, A., Willaert, F.X., & Haut, B. Ventilated tunnel solar dryers for small-scale farmers organizations: theoretical and practical aspects. Drying Technology, 97, 803-817. 2016