I am an enthousiastic materials science researcher focusing on the mechanics of soft and hard polymer networks, and more specifically how heterogeneous architectures can impact and potentially improve their mechanical and physical response.
I have completed a PhD thesis in Materials Science in the group of Pr. Thomas Pardoen at UCLouvain in Belgium. Then, I have pursued a post-doctoral stay in the group of Pr. Zhigang Suo at Harvard University in the field of Soft Active Materials for two years. As a second postdoc, I worked on the mechanics and fracture of multiple-network elastomers and pressure-sensitive adhesives in the Laboratory of Soft Matter Science and Engineering at ESPCI Paris with Pr. Costantino Creton and Pr. Matteo Ciccotti. I have now joined the Polymer Materials Engineering Lab (IMP - UMR5223) at INSA-Lyon where I have recently obtained a permanent CNRS Research Associate position.
To learn more details on my background, have a look at my CV.
08/2021 : With holidays coming to an end, it is time to go back to school but also to conferences!
For this fall, I will have the pleasure to physically attend the DEPOS conference (Deformation of Solid Polymers) in Mandelieu-La Napoule where I’ll be presenting some of my most recent work on ionic liquid modified epoxys and where my dear collaborator Sylvie Castagnet will be presenting a Keynote on some of our shared work on the cavitation of elastomers. I will then also have the pleasure to present an invited Keynote at the EURADH 2021 virtual meeting (European Adhesion Conference) on the role of damage by sacrificial bonds on the fatigue and toughness behavior of multiple network elastomers.
07/2021 : The official announcement finally came in! => I succesfully obtained a permanent CNRS research fellow position (“Chargé de recherche”) and I will thus start as a Research Associate inside the IMP lab (UMR n°5223) at INSA-Lyon on October 1st. Truly happy to start this brand new chapter of my academic journey!
04/2021 : Great start of the month, with no April fool prank, but instead two of our latest papers finally published! Our first cavitation work with ESPCI is thus accepted for publication in Soft Matter, while our newest work on epoxy network reinforced with ionic-liquid grafted POSS with the IMP lab (through Houssém Chabane PhD) just got out in Polymer => go have a look at the Publications section for their detailed reference and links!
03/2021 : I had the pleasure (following our discussion at this year Adhesion Society Meeting) to perform an online invited talk with the Crosby research group (UMass, Amherst) and related co-workers on the cavitation thematic on March 24th => Thanks again to Al for the invitation, we are definitely looking forward pushing further some of our discusion and why not some possible collaborations in the future!
03/2021 : Congratulations to Ana-Carolina Fernandez-Rodas who just finished her master thesis resarch project with a very-well performed oral defense! => Good luck in your future endeavours Carolina and starting with your internship at the CEA!
02/2021 : Another one of our work making use of mechanochemistry to better understand the fracture mechanisms in multiple network elastomers is now posted in ChemRxiv => go give it a look to better apprehend the intrinsic challenge and differences to improve fatigue resistance vs fracture toughness! Why is Mechanical Fatigue Different from Toughness in Elastomers? The Role of Damage by Polymer Scission
02/2021 : Good news for this early february with 2 of our papers accepted for publication (see “Publications”) with (i) a review of the work performed over the last 10 years in my PhD group on a better understanding of the nanomechanics of polymer-based composites (including both multi-scale characterization and physics-based modeling) under the wise supervision of Pr. Thomas Pardoen, and (ii) a work from my post-doctoral stay in Harvard in collaboration with Pr. Xi Yao on the development of novel anti-icing materials and blankets based on propylene-glycol gels.
01/2021 : Conference series coming up! Despite the current worlwide travel-restricted situation, some conferences have chosen to maintain their 2021 edition through virtual events. Gabriel Sanoja and myself will be thus presenting some of our most recent work on the use of mechanochemistry to study cavitation and fatigue mechanisms in multiple network elastomers both at the Adhesion Society meeting (February 22nd to 25th) and at the American Physical Society (APS) meeting (March 15th to 19th).
01/2021 : Our latest paper on the visualization of cavitation process in elastomers via the use of mechanochemistry is now posted on arXiv. Go give it a look in the soft condensed matter category: 3D Fluorescent Mapping of Invisible Molecular Damage after Cavitation in Hydrogen Exposed Elastomers.
keywords : mechanics and fracture of polymer networks, multi-scale characterization, micro-mechanical modeling, design of smart active materials.
A common trait throughout my whole research experience is the strong will of seeking a better molecular understanding of polymer networks deformation and fracture micromechanisms, in order to in-fine establish more clearly the relation between polymer microstructure and their macroscopic properties. Building on the knowledge of this rather theoretical quest, I also envision to tackle more multi-disciplinary and coupled problems through the study and design of soft active materials. The area of soft matter mechanics being extremely vast, it still offers plenty of room for new exciting developments.
Projects : in construction…
# 2020 - now : Laboratoire Ingénierie des Matériaux Polymères (IMP - UMR5223) | INSA de Lyon, Villeurbanne, FRANCE
Prospective research on the large strain and fracture behavior of ionic liquid (IL) modified polymer systems. The first step focuses on controlling the mechanical behavior through the topological nano-structuration of a phosphonium-ionic liquid epoxy system, while in second step multi-functional responses will be also considered, taking advantage of IL conductivity and thermal properties. The work is performed in the laboratoire d’Ingénierie des Matériaux Polymères (IMP) in collaboration with S. Livi, Pr. S. Pruvost, J. Bernard, Pr. J. Duchet \& Pr. J.-F. Gérard.
# 2017 - 2019 : ESPCI | PSL, Paris, FRANCE
Fundamental research using mechano-chemistry as a tool to study the mechanics and fracture of soft polymer networks, going from adhesives to hydrogels and elastomers. A focus is set on the understanding of the stress-transfer and fatigue mechanisms occurring in multiple network hydrogels and elastomers through optical analysis of fluorescent molecular markers. The work is performed in SIMM lab in collaboration with Pr. Creton, Pr. Ciccotti & Pr. Barthel.
# 2015 - 2017 : School of Engineering and Applied Science | Harvard, Cambridge - MA, USA
Research in the field of soft active materials in the group of Pr. Zhigang Suo. My research involved the preparation of tough hydrogels, their specific mechanical and fracture characterization under a large variety of testing conditions (from sub-zero temperatures to fatigue loading), as well as the development of new engineering devices making use of their multifunctional properties.
# 2011 - 2015 : IMAP, iMMC | UCLouvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, BELGIUM
Research in materials science with both experimental and modeling work in the field of mechanics of polymers and polymer-based composites. Development of an original physics-based theory for modelling the meso-scale heterogeneous micro-mechanisms of glassy polymers. Collaborations on applied research projects with the aeronautical industry (Safran group, TechSpace Aero, Sonaca), as well as fundamental research with other international groups (KULeuven, Trinity College, IMDEA, Imperial College), were pursued in parallel.
Dissertation: “Mechanical Characterization and Physics-Based Modeling of a Highly-Crosslinked Epoxy Resin”, supervised by Pr. Thomas Pardoen \& Pr. Christian Bailly.
# 2010 - 2011 : Erasmus student exchange in the Chemical Engineering and Chemistry Department | TU/e Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, NETHERLANDS
Five months stay as a visiting master student, including a two-months research project in the field of nano-composites under the supervision of Pr. L.E. Govaert and Pr. J.G.P. Goosens.
EURADH 2021 Virtual meeting, keynote session - FRA - October 12th : Role of damage by sacrificial bonds: Intrinsic differences between fatigue and toughness mechanisms in multiple network elastomers.
UMass, Polymer Science and Engineering, Crosby research group - virtual webinar (Amherst, MA, USA) - March 24th: Mechanochemistry as a tool to study cavitation in multiple network elastomers.
University of Amsterdam, Soft Matter Group, Van der Walls-Zeeman Institute (Institute of Physics) - Amsterdam - NED - November 28th: 3D Visualization of cavitation process in multiple network elastomers.
ESPCI - SIMM lab thematic workshop on Soft Matter Mechanics, Paris - FRA - November 13th : 3D Visualization of cavitation process in multiple network elastomers.
APS (American Physical Society) March meeting, Boston (MA) - USA - March 6th : Towards a unified model of soft adhesives (on behalf of Matteo Ciccotti).
University of Michigan, Ann-Arbor (MI) - USA - February 27th : From the meso-scale modeling of epoxy resins to the fatigue of hydrogels: a micro-mechanical approach of polymer networks.
Universidade do Porto, Porto - POR - January 28th: Macroscopic viscoplastic behavior of thermosets - RTM6 as a case study.
xx. X. P. Morelle, J. Chopin, C. Creton, E. Barthel, M. Ciccotti, “Critical parameters governing heterogeneous adhesion of PSA on textured surfaces”, under preparation.
yy. R. Bai, X. P. Morelle, J. Wang, Z. Suo, “Rupture and debonding of soft layered materials”, under submission.
G. E. Sanoja, X. P. Morelle, J.Comtet, C. Creton, “Why is Mechanical Fatigue Different from Toughness in Elastomers? The Role of Damage by Polymer Chain Scission”, 2021, accepted in Science Advances, pre-print available on ChemRxiv.
X. Yao, B. Chen, X. P. Morelle, Z. Suo, “Anti-icing propylene glycol materials”,Extreme Mechanics Letters, 2021, vol 44, 101225. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eml.2021.101225.
T. Pardoen, N. Klavzer, S. Gayot, F. Van Loock, J. Chevalier, X. P. Morelle, V. Destoop, F. Lani, P. Camanho, L. Brassart, B. Nysten, C. Bailly, “Nanomechanics serving polymer-based composite research”, Comptes Rendus de Physique,for the “Plasticity and Solid State Physics” special issue, 2021.doi:10.5802/crphys.56
H. Chabane, S. Livi, X. P. Morelle, Rodolphe Sonnier, Loïc Dumazert, Jannick Duchet-Rumeau, Jean-François Gérard, “Synthesis of New Ionic Liquid-Grafted Metal-Oxo Nanoclusters – Design of Nanostructured Hybrid Organic-Inorganic Polymer Networks”, Polymer for “GFP 50th Anniversary” special issue, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polymer.2021.123721
X. P. Morelle, G. E. Sanoja, S. Castagnet, C. Creton, “3D Fluorescent Mapping of Invisible Molecular Damage after Cavitation in Hydrogen Exposed Elastomers”, Soft Matter, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1039/D1SM00325A
J. Chevalier#, L. Brassart, F. Lani, C. Bailly, T. Pardoen, X. P. Morelle#, “Unveilling the nanoscale heterogeneity controlled deformation of thermosets”, Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids, vol 121, 2018, pp. 432-446. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmps.2018.08.014
X. P. Morelle, W. R. Illeperuma, K. Tian, R. Bai, Z. Suo, J. J. Vlassak, “Highly stretchable and tough hydrogels below water freezing temperatures”, Advanced Materials, vol 30, 2018, 1801541. https://doi.org/10.1002/adma.201801541
P. Rothemund, X. P. Morelle, K. Jia, G. M. Whitesides, Z. Suo, “A transparent membrane for active noise cancelation”, Advanced Functional Materials, vol 28, 2018, 1800653. https://doi.org/10.1002/adfm.201800653
E. Zhang, R. Bai, X. P. Morelle, Z. Suo, “Fatigue fracture of nearly elastic hydrogels”, Soft Matter, vol 14, 2018, pp. 3563-3571. https://doi.org/10.1039/C8SL00460A
R. Bai, J. Yang, X. P. Morelle, C. Yang, Z. Suo, “Fatigue fracture of self-recovery hydrogels”, ACS Macro Letters, vol 7, 2018, pp. 312-317. https://doi.org/10.1021/acsmacrolett.8b00045
X. P. Morelle, R. Bai, Z. Suo, “Localized deformation in Plastic Liquids on Elastomers”, Journal of Applied Mechanics, vol. 84 : issue 10, 2017, pp. 101002 https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4037410
R. Bai, Q. Yang, J. Tang, X. P. Morelle, J. Vlassak, Z. Suo, “Fatigue fracture of tough hydrogels”, Extreme Mechanics Letters, vol 15, 2017, pp. 91-96. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eml.2017.07.002
X. P. Morelle, J. Chevalier, C. Bailly, T. Pardoen, F. Lani, “Mechanical characterization and modeling of the deformation and failure of the highly crosslinked RTM6 epoxy resin”, Mechanics of Time-Dependent Materials, vol. 21 : issue 3, 2017, pp. 419-454. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11043-016-9336-6
J. Chevalier, X. P. Morelle, C. Bailly, P.P. Camanho, T. Pardoen, F. Lani, “Micro-mechanics based pressure dependent failure model for highly cross-linked epoxy resin”, Engineering Fracture Mechanics, vol. 158, 2016, pp.192-216. https://doi.org/1016/j.engfracmech.201602.039
V.-D. Nguyen, F. Lani, T. Pardoen, X. P. Morelle, L. Noels, “A large strain hyperelastic viscoelastic-viscoplastic-damage constitutive model based on a multi-mechanism non-local damage continuum for amorphous glassy polymers”, International Journal of Solids and Structures, vol. 96, 2016, pp. 192-216. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijsolstr.2016.06.008
Invited lecturer for a 2h seminar on the viscoplasticity of polymers, given to an auditorium of 50 engineering students in their 2nd year of master degree.
Preparation and monitoring of lab sessions (2h/week) with a brief theoretical course before actual experiments given to 50 engineering students in their 1st year of master degree. T.A. also involved the correction and grading of lab reports. Topic : lab #1 (Deformation and fracture at the macro-scale - uniaxial tension test and stress-strain curves); lab #2 (Introduction to fracture and concept of toughness - Critical stress intensity factor (K1c) computation.
Monitoring exercises sessions (4h/week) of classes of 30 students in 1st year of bachelor in engineering. Topic : Atomic structure, intra- and inter-molecular bounds and associated properties; introduction to thermodynamics (concepts of enthalpy, heat, entropy, spontaneous and non-spontaneous processes); acid-base reactions.
Monitoring excercise and lab session (2h/week + 6h of lab) of classes of 20 students in 2nd year of bachelor in engineering. Topic : Perfect gases, kinetic theory of gases; 1st (closed and open systems) and 2nd principle of thermodynamics ; chemical equilibrium between gaseous and aqueous phases; applications to electro-chemistry and redox reactions.
post-graduate level (3) not in dissertation commitee : mentoring and collaborative work with Louis Debertrand (2018-2019) at ESPCI, Jérémy Chevalier (2015-2018) at UCLouvain, and Ruobing Bai (2016-2017) at Harvard University.
graduate level (5) : daily based supervision of master students thesis project (6 months to 1 year) : Ana-Carolina Fernandez Rodas (2020, materials science, INSA-lyon), Elina Gilbert (2019, materials science, ESPCI), Loïc Van Nieuwenhuyse (2014-2015, materials science, UCL), Minh Le Duy (2013-2014, macromolecular nanotechnology, UCL), Jesus Gutierrez Martinez (2012-2013, mechanical engineering, UCL).
undergrad level (2) : co-supervision of 6 month research internship of : Ana Santos (2018, ESPCI) and Enrui Zhang (2016, Harvard University).
Group seminar organizer for the INSA-Lyon site of the IMP lab (2020-current) - Organization of internal group seminars for exposing the work of PhD studends, post-docs and permanent researchers, in order to promote exchanges and collaborations between lab members.
Mechanical Testing equipment trainer in INSA-Lyon site of the IMP lab (2019-current) - Person-in-charge for new training on Uniaxial testing machines (Instron and MTS) for quasi-static, fracture and fatigue loading of polymer-based specimens.
Lab visit and science promotion for teenagers in SIMM lab at ESPCI Paris (2017-2019) - Organization of small lab visit and experimental demonstration for high school students during occasional week-long science camps.
Trustee in the board of directors of Gravelines rowing club (2017-now) - As a trustee, I get involved into the general management, planning and new projects development of Gravelines rowing club. My missions non exhaustively include the organization and participation to international rowing regattas, preparation of the annual general membership meeting, and promotion of the club activities on social networks.
Lab safety officer and equipment trainer in Suo Lab at Harvard University (2016-2017) - Emergency lab contact, development of equipment safety procedure, LN2 ordering, chemical inventory and waste disposal coordination. Person-in-charge for new training on Instron testing machine and on the high-voltage amplifier.
Board member of Harvard-MIT Belgian Society in Boston (2016-2017) - Organizing social networking events and open debates among the belgian community (and more) in the Boston area, in order to promote Belgian scientific, political or economical personalities and achievements.
New equipment purchase and installation for Suo Lab installation at Harvard University (2016) - Purchase of a universal testing machine with associated load cells and temperature chamber. Coordination of lab duct work and machine installation with Harvard McKay building teams.
co-organizer of PhD promotion day at iMMC, UCLouvain (2011-2014) - Lab promotion presentation and visit organized for 2nd year engineering master students.
Student representative at EPL, UCLouvain (2008-2011) - Involvement within the Applied Physics and Chemistry degree program commission and work with academic authorities. Coordinate and organize examination schedule as well as other extra-academic group activities.
12/2020 : article of Johanna Miller from Physics Today on the use of mechano-fluorescent molecular probes to study the fracture of elastomers, highlighting the work performed in the group of Costantino Creton these last years and in particular the thesis of Juliette Slootman. Stretchy molecules rupture far from the crack
05/2019 : Following my talk at the APS March Meeting conference, a journalist (Ryan F. Mandelbaum) from the the American online science journal Gizmodo contacted Pr. Matteo Ciccotti and wrote a nice article explaining some of the motivations and results of our group’s work on adhesion of pressure sensitive adhesives. Scientists Are Stuck on the Mystery of Tape
07/2017 : Daily Science article on Belgian scientists abraod (FR) : Matériaux intelligents et régates à Harvard