Below you find the complete list of Tier-1-projects since the start of the regular project application programme.

Modeling the evolution of interplanetary Coronal Mass Ejections: inclusion of a magnetic flux rope and coupling to a magnetospheric model

Date: 01.07.2017
  • Promotor(s): Christine Verbeke , Camilla Scolini , Stefaan Poedts
  • Institution(s): KU Leuven
  • Domain(s): Astronomy and astrophysics , Mathematics
'Space weather' refers to the complex effects of the radiation and the plasma stream from the Sun on our space environment and Earth. Solar eruptions and especially magnetic plasma clouds – called Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) –, are the most important drivers of space weather. Their magnetic field plays a very important role in quantifying the effects on Earth. We recently added a magnetic flux rope to our heliospheric model EUHFORIA, that models the solar background wind and the inserted CMEs up to Earth. The objective of this project is to run a series of simulations in order to assess the impact of the flux-rope model parameters on geospace. To achieve this goal, we will couple the GUMICS magnetospheric model to the outputs from EUHFORIA simulations.

Computational Fluid Dynamics based design of a novel reactor technology for the Oxidative Coupling of Methane (II)

Date: 01.07.2017
  • Promotor(s): Pieter Reyniers
  • Institution(s): UGent
  • Domain(s): Chemistry , Technology
The low natural gas price and the large amounts of shale and natural gas available have created a renewed interest in methane as a source of liquid energy carriers (gasoline, diesel) or as a raw material for the chemical industry. One of the most promising technologies is the so-called ‘Oxidative Coupling of Methane’ (OCM) but it is currently not yet applied in industry because of problems with the high heat release and the low ethylene yields. A new type of reactor will be developed based on computational fluid dynamics and detailed chemical kinetics that can resolve the issues of the existing technologies by radically changing the flow pattern of the gas, thus forcing a rotational motion inside the reactor.

Ab initio study of the influence of atomic defects and strain on superconductivity in ultrathin transition metal dichalcogenides

Date: 01.07.2017
  • Promotor(s): Jonas Bekaert
  • Institution(s): UAntwerp
  • Domain(s): Physics
Transition metal dichalcoenide (TMD) materials, such as niobium diselenide (NbSe2) and tantalum disulfide (TaS2), have recently been made atomically thin in experiments - even down to a single monolayer. They ar observed to superconduct, i.e., to conduct electrical current without any resistance. It is not at all clear, however, in what way the number of atomic layers influences the properties of these ultrathin superconducting films. To elucidate this question we will carry out state-of-the-art first-principles calculations of the electronic and vibrational properties of these films that are at the origin of the superconducting state. We will in particular consider atomic defects, such as missing atoms in the lattice, as well as strain, as a means of adapting the superconducting behavior.

Linking Protein Motion and Function: A Combined Molecular Dynamics and QM/MM Study

Date: 01.07.2017
  • Promotor(s): Eliot Boulanger
  • Institution(s): KU Leuven
  • Domain(s): Chemistry
Proteins are large biological molecules, and experiments can determine the average positions of the thousands of atoms making them up. However, this information - the structure of the protein - only tells us part of what we need to know to identify their biological roles. Here, using the forces acting on the atoms and Newton’s laws of motion, we will study the atoms' motions. Based on the resulting simulations, we will identify the main structural variants of the proteins (their conformations) and then calculate properties relevant to their function for each of the conformations by applying the laws of quantum mechanics to the electrons forming the chemical bonds of the relevant parts.

Long-term hindcast climate simulation over Antarctica, using the coupled COSMO-CLM² model

Date: 01.07.2017
  • Promotor(s): Alexandra Gossart , Niels Souverijns
  • Institution(s): KU Leuven
  • Domain(s): Earth sciences
Precipitation and clouds play a key role in the Earth’s climate system. Clouds are an essential component for precipitation, which is the only source of mass over the Antarctic ice sheet. Despite the importance of Antarctic precipitation and clouds, their representation in climate models remains problematic. This is unfortunate, as variations in precipitation will largely determine the contribution of the Antarctic ice sheet to sea level rise. This project aims at understanding the different components of the surface mass balance by combining a set of ground-based observations together with climate model simulations at high resolution. As these terms are largely unknown, this will highly enhance understanding of ice sheet dynamics and sea level rise.