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Mechanical and thermal characterization of mineral-vegetal composites

ABG-100558 Master internship 6 months 600
Institut Pascal
clermont ferrand Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes France
  • Materials science
  • Agronomy, agri food
  • Civil engineering, construction and public works
vegetal, concrete, mechanic, digital image correlation, DIC

Employer organisation

Institut Pascal is an interdisciplinary research laboratory working in the strategic fields of the Engineering and Systems Sciences: process engineering, mechanics, robotics, physics for information sciences, health technologies. It is supervised by the University of Clermont Auvergne and the CNRS (INSIS as main institute, INS2I and INP as secondary institutes).

Institut Pascal develops innovative and intelligent systems using integrative and multi-scale approaches based on the following scientific fields: electromagnetism, reliability, process and bioprocess engineering, civil engineering, imaging, materials, mechanics, microsystems, nanophysics, perception, photonics, robotics, separation and functionalization of biomolecules, interventional technologies and medical diagnosis.

Institut Pascal is organised into 5 research departments particularly:

• Mechanics, Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Industrial Engineering (M3G department) - Hélène CHANAL
Mechanics, Materials, Structures, Machines.

137 lecturers (UCA, Clermont Auvergne INP), 5 researchers (CNRS), 28 lecturers and medical physicians (UCA/CHU), 23 medical physicians, 15 technical staff (UCA), 11 technical staff (CNRS), 147 PhD students and 28 non-permanent staff.



Biobased materials, produced from biomass, are being increasingly used on a massive scale in the construction sector. From an environmental point of view, they allow the storage of CO2 during their entire lifetime thanks to the mechanism of photosynthesis. In addition, their high porosity and chemical composition give them high hygrothermal and acoustic insulation properties. Therefore, these materials are key alternatives to traditional construction materials for the energy-efficiency renovation of existing buildings.

Hemp concretes are the most widely used biobased concretes in France. Although construction rules exist for these materials, their growth is still limited by the lack of knowledge and high variability of the performances of biobased concretes, especially for their mechanical properties.



The training is dedicated to the observation and characterization of mineral-vegetal Interfacial Transition Zone (ITZ). The first objective will be to study the properties of ITZ of several vegetal-binder couples selected in previous tasks. The second objective concerns the experimental characterization of the hygrothermal and mechanical performances of vegetal concretes at a composite scale.



In a first step, the methodology to observe ITZ around vegetal particles will be developed. The novelty consists on the monitoring of the formation by imaging with a high-definition camera to measure the kinetics of the formation of the ITZ surface.

The second step will be dedicated to local characterizations for different test configurations: micro-indentation and pull-out tests on particles will be investigated to provide information on the gradient of elastic modulus and the behavior of ITZ (from the matrix to the aggregate). As a result, it will be possible to assess the level of compatibility of an aggregate from a batch with a given binder by comparison with the reference.

During the third step several sets of mechanical tests in compression and shear will be performed. Digital Image Correlation technique will be used to determine the stress paths and the stress transfer in ITZ. The transfer of these stresses to the plant aggregate will be evaluated and will allow us to define the optimum mechanical strength for the investigated composites. Therefore, the global mechanical properties will be issued.

Secondly, the impact of the improvement of ITZ will be assessed on the most relevant hygrothermal properties such as conductivity, diffusivity, effusivity, Moisture Buffer Value (MBV) and water vapour transfer of the composites.


Master Student in material science, civil engineering, bio engineering

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