2021 call for research proposals: results

Further to the 2021 call for proposals, 9 projects have been selected for funding by the steering committee after international peer review.

PhD grants

3 PhD projects have been granted, involving collaborations between laboratories from Tec21’s scientific perimeter.

Fluid phase change simulation in porous and cracked media based on multimodal full-field measurements. As part of a new collaboration between the laboratory 3SR and the LEGI, Matthieu Briffaut and Philippe Séchet join forces to study the two-phase flow and condensation processes during water injection into fractured concrete. This project will exploit the complementary expertise of both laboratories in in situ x-ray and neutron imaging, and advanced numerical simulations of fluid percolation into solids.


Physical and numerical modelling of segregation in sediment transport. Philippe Frey (ETNA1 – INRAE Grenoble) will co-supervise with Julien Chauchat (LEGI) and Christophe Ancey (LHE2 – EPFL) a PhD project focusing on the role of granular interactions in vertical size segregation during sediment transport. To solve this complex problem, the project PIs are counting on the coupling of experimental investigations using an innovative visualisation method, and the theoretical modelling of segregation with coupled fluid-discrete element models.


3D mechanics of cells in complex fibrous media. Valérie Laurent (LIPhy) and Lucie Bailly (3SR) will work together on a new imaging technique using confocal microscopy to elucidate the mechanisms of cell migration in biological networks with a particular focus on the interactions between cells and the surrounding fibrous medium. By associating their expertise in physics of biological systems and in mechanics of heterogeneous materials, the PIs expect to realise mechanical tests on collagen networks, experiments on cell migration and hence elaborate new mechanical models of cells/fibres interactions in biological media.

Long term visitor grants

Tec21 associates with two German universities to co-fund two PhD projects with strong potential for industrial applications in the field of energy production. The PIs and co-PIs of the projects have planned visiting at each other’s laboratories to co-supervise the PhD students who will share their time between France and Germany.

The role of the turbulence cascade in wind energy applications. Joachim Peinke and his colleague Michael Hölling from the Institute of physics of the Carl-von-Ossietzky university of Oldenburg, will collaborate with Stéphane Barre and Martin Obligado (LEGI) on an experimental study of axisymmetric turbulent wakes under controlled conditions in wind tunnels. Focusing on turbulent wakes interactions, and their coupling with the background turbulent flow, the PIs want to elucidate the role of turbulence cascade in wind energy applications (image). In this project, the objective is to leverage the complementarity between the expertise and the facilities of both partner institutions to reproduce all the fluid dynamics phenomena involved in wind energy applications, under controlled experimental conditions.


Experimental and numerical optimisation of a cross-flow tidal turbine (OPTIDE). Pierre-Luc Delafin (LEGI) and Stefan Hoerner (Institute of fluid dynamics and thermodynamics, Otto-von-Guericke University of Magdeburg), together with Prof. Dominique Thévenin (OvGU), Prof. Yves Delannoy and Cyrille Bonamy (LEGI), will co-supervise a numerical and experimental study aiming at optimising the functioning of cross-flow tidal turbines, taking into account the effect of blades pitch actuation on the hydrodynamic efficiency of the turbines. The coupling of experimental approaches for the optimisation of the pitch trajectories, with numerical optimisation of the blade geometry and simulation of the flow around the turbine, should bring a better understanding of the key parameters to be taken into account in the perspective of using cross-flow tubines in tidal farm installations.

Short term visitor grants

A single project has been financed in this category this year.

Dispersion and transport near shear interfaces. As part of a collaboration with the University College of London, Jan-Bert Flór (LEGI) will welcome Ian Eames from the Department of mechanical engineering, for a 2 months stay in Grenoble. The aim is to work with both the MEIGE3 and the EDT4 groups of the LEGI on the dynamics of vorticity interfaces in turbulent environments, and more particularly on their role in the dispersion and transport of particles. From a longer term perspective, the idea is to reinforce the interactions between both institutions, taking advantage of the strong overlap between the research interests of Ian Eames and the activities of the LEGI in cavitation, turbulence and multiphase flows. During his stay, Prof. Ian Eames has planned to give a 16hrs course on engineering in extreme environments, covering the technical challenges and methodologies needed to understand complex engineering problems.

Post-doc grants

3 post-doc projects have been selected, involving collaborations between Tec21 research laboratories.

radioSphere: fast 3D positioning of spherical particles with x-ray radiography. This project rallies 4 research laboratories around a new x-ray radiography-based measurement tool capable of delivering the three dimensional kinematics of mono-sized spheres in dense assemblies (image) at radiography speed. Edward Andò (3SR), Thierry Faug (INRAE Grenoble), Nathanaël Machicoane (LEGI) and Hugues Bodiguel (LRP) will develop demonstrator experiments allowing the technique to be tested and improved in 4 case studies dealing with granular bed fluidisation (LEGI), dense suspensions (LRP), dense granular flow (INRAE), and lid-driven shear (3SR).


Rheology and particle migration in suspensions of hard to soft particles. Hugues Bodiguel (LRP) and Bruno Chareyre (3SR) have long been collaborating on the use of the discrete element method developed at 3SR, to solve complex problems experimentally investigated at the LRP and dealing with the rheology of solid suspensions. Their present project broadens their collaboration to the LIPhy with the theoretical input of Romain Mari who is currently working on constitutive models for suspensions of soft particles derived from the analysis of microscopic dynamics. Their ambition is to elucidate the role of particle deformability in the rheological properties of suspensions of hard to soft spheres dispersed in a Newtonian fluid.


Forced filling and spontaneous draining of hydrophobic subnanoporous particles embedded in a cellulose-based composite for energy applications. Cyril Picard (LIPhy) and Frédéric Pignon (LRP) will work together on the use of nano-porous systems for mechanical energy storage. This project at the interface of physics, physico-chemistry and fluid mechanics, combines the know-how acquired in the LRP concerning filtration and structuration of particles in microfluidic flows, with new activities initiated at the LIPhy in the past few years and dedicated to transport at the nano and the sub-nano scales for energy applications.

As part of these projects, our partner laboratories are seeking PhD and post-doc candidates.

1 ETNA group: Torrential erosion, snow and avalanches

2 LHE: Environmental hydraulics laboratory

3 MEIGE group: Modelling, experiments and instrumentation for geophysics

4 EDT group: Two-phase flows and turbulences