Research pole

Environmental Mechanics and Mobility Applications

The EMMA research pole focuses on the relation between mechanical devices and their environment (vibrations, acoustics, ageing, air quality, sensing) as well as on the performance, stability and technology of mobility platforms in the air, sea, and land domains whether manned or unmanned.


Research units

Research Unit Fluid Dynamics

POC: Maj. Bart Janssens

The Research Unit Fluid Dynamics is concerned with the numerical and experimental investigation of flow problems. We treat a myriad of topics, such as the dispersion of particles, external and internal aerodynamics and the propagation of acoustic waves. The scope and objectives of the studies can range from the application of existing models and measurement techniques to the development and implementation of custom-built models. This expertise will often serve to support work in the other research units.


Research Unit Structures and Materials

POC: LtCol. Dr. Kristof Harri

This research unit primarily deals with the mechanical loading of materials and structures in a general context and more specifically with the vibrational behavior of structures and systems: the dynamic reaction and the endurance of structures and systems, vibration control and simulation and fatigue monitoring.  To study these topics, an electrodynamic shaker with a maximum capacity of 18 kN is used, which can be fitted into a climatic chamber.  Failure analysis of structures in service is a major activity and service offered to the Defense Materials Resources Directorate. Another important activity consists of the study of the static and dynamic mechanical behavior of metallic materials at high strain rate and different temperatures above and below room temperature.


Research Unit Mobility & Propulsion

POC: Maj. Benoit Marinus

The research unit Mobility & Propulsion focuses on the performance and stability of mobile platforms. Its members conduct active research in the air domain around propellers (Low-noise Design of Propellers, Tailored High-Altitude propeller), as well as various expert assessments: land vehicles stability and aerodynamics, and ship stability. Unmanned systems are of course a center of interest. This unit maintains a close link with the Applied Vehicle Technology panel of the NATO Science & Technology Organization.

POC: Geert De Cubber

The research unit Robotics & Autonomous Systems focuses on two research domains. On one hand, we aim to enhance the good use of unmanned ground, aerial and marine systems for tough applications by studying the human factors and by developing novel perception, collaborative control, Artificial Intelligence and validation methodologies. On the other hand, we tackle the cyber-physical risks related to these systems by developing novel countermeasures. The lab conducts research in varied domains, ranging from very fundamental aspects to the development of prototype products.


Dynamics of Mechanical Structures (LDMS)

POC: Maj. Kristof Harri

This laboratory supports especially the research cell: ageing and vibrations.  The laboratory is able to perform vibration testing (combined with temperature testing) in order to simulate the environmental conditions that act on a product or on structures.  LDMS is accredited by the Belgian Government.  The main piece of the laboratory is an electrodynamic shaker with a maximum capacity of 18 kN, which is able to work vertically as well as horizontally (by means of a slip table). To combine the vibration tests with temperature tests, a climatic chamber of approximately 1 m³ can be fitted to the shaker.



POC: Luc Rabet

The Materials Lab is equipped with state of the art lab instruments for determining the static and dynamic mechanical behavior of materials (tensile machines of 50, 100 and 300 kN, a torsion machine up to 5 kNm, a fatigue testing machine, an impact testing machine, Split Hopkinson Pressure Bars with a robot for high and low temperature tests.

For further materials characterization and also to conduct failure analysis, the lab is equipped with metallographic preparation tools, a spark excitation OES spectrometer, several light optical microscopes and an environmental scanning electron microscope with EDX spectrometer and an Electron Back Scatter Diffraction device.


Fluids Dynamics laboratory

POC: Maj. Janssens en Maj. Marinus

The main experimental facilities of the fluids dynamics laboratory are

  • A 60x60cm low-turbulence wind tunnel (up to 40m/s);
  • A 40x40cm windtunnel (up to 30m/s);
  • A Particle Image Velocimetry system, one Laser-Doppler Anemometer, two Hot-Wire Anemometers, two Aerodynamic Balances;

Robotics & Autonomous Systems

POC: Geert De Cubber

The Robotics & Autonomous Systems laboratory supports the related research and academic activities and provides expertise towards Belgian Defence units and designated partners.

It is essentially equipped with

  • Rotary wing Unmanned Aircraft Systems
    A series of rotary wing drones are available. The larger ones are used to support research activities in the field of 3D perception, search & rescue and humanitarian demining. The smaller ones are used to support research on human factors and for student projects.
  • Fixed wing Unmanned Aircraft System

One fixed wing drone, type TALON, is available. It is used to support research on rapid 3D aerial perception and mapping.

  • Unmanned Ground Vehicles

Several unmanned ground vehicles are available. The larger ones are used to support research activities in the field of 3D perception, artificial intelligence, search & rescue and humanitarian demining. The smaller ones are used to support research on heterogeneous multi-agent control & collaboration strategies and for student projects.


Computing cluster

A High-Performance Computing cluster with 904 cores, the associated scheduler and licensed software for various applications (Matlab, Mathematica, Labview, Julia, Tecplot, Ansys suite, Siemens StarCCM+, 3DS Simulia PowerFlow suite, Autodesk Inventor, FEKO…) and in-house codes (PropNOISEBB, ShipSTAB…) is available to conduct the necessary simulations.

Deep Learning Computing Infrastructure

In order to support the research activities in the domain of artificial intelligence for robotic agents, a dedicated deep learning computing infrastructure is available.