Immersed granular flows are daily used in many industrial processes and encountered in many geological phenomena. The understanding of such flows is a growing challenge in mechanics and civil engineering research area. Avalanches, lava flows and transport of marine sediments involve fluid-grains mixtures to name only a haphazard few. The great inhomogeneity that can be encountered in immersed granular flows and the influence of these inhomogeneities are mainly responsible to the lack of knowledge in this research area. Developing a fast and handy software to compute immersed granular flows became a requirement to improve processes in pharmaceutical, cosmetic, chemical and agro-food industries as well as to understand many natural phenomena.
The MigFlow Project was created in 2014, under the impetus of Dr. Jonathan Lambrechts, members of the Institute of Mechanics, Materials and Civil Engineering (iMMC), who looked further into an issue stated by Prof. Jean-François Remacle and Dr. Frédéric Dubois. Thanks to the collaboration established between the Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain) and the University of Montpellier, he spent a year at the Laboratoire de Mécanique et Génie Civil (LMGC), with the goal of coupling the advanced Finite Element Method, developed by the MEMA department of the iMMC, with the lmgc90 software, developed at the LMGC. During this year, he achieved the draft of the current MigFlow Software, that could be only used for steady flows, and came back at the UCLouvain with the project to extend the software to more general flows with the help of Prof. Vincent Legat, head of MEMA department.
They jointly proposed the cutting back of the model and its extension to unsteady granular flows as a master thesis subject achieved by Matthieu Constant during the academic year 2015-2016. This master thesis ended up to interesting results that led V. Legat and J. Lambrechts to suggest to M. Constant a PhD thesis subject, started in September 2016 and ended in September 2020. During this thesis, he worked on the stabilisation of the FEM and introduced two-fluids flows. He used the MigFlow software to study applications such as free fall of Stokes clouds in a viscous fluid, air injection in immersed granular beds, and density sorting of grains by water jigging.
In September 2018, Nathan Coppin started a PhD thesis with the objective to study the rheology of immersed granular flows, with a focus on the role of friction. He implemented frictional contacts in MigFlow. He used the software to study the granular drag exerted on an object moving through an immersed granular media.
In September 2020, Michel Henry started a PhD thesis focused on the FEM part of the model. He implemented an ALE method to enable MigFlow to simulate free surfaces and boundary motion.