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PProGRess (Pore-scale Processes in Geomaterials Research group) studies the various processes that occur inside the pore space of porous geomaterials. The group specializes in non-destructive imaging of the 3D structure of all kinds of materials, from the nano- to macro-scale. Our group wants to stretch the limits of real-time imaging of processes in the pore space of geomaterials, in terms of both temporal and spatial resolution.

PProGRess evolved from the “Sedimentary Geology and Engineering Geology” (SGIG) research group, and therefore still holds a lot of expertise in the field of natural building stones and the assessment of their properties. PProGress researchers are skilled in many traditional research techniques, e.g. optical microscopy, grain size analysis and technological testing of natural building stones.

PProGRess is part of the Ghent University Centre for X-Ray Tomography (UGCT) and of the department of Geology at Ghent University.

UGCT logo Vakgroep Geologie UGent logo
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News

Welcome Gülce and Nektaria

1st September 2020. PProGRess welcomes PhD students Gülce Kalyoncu and Nektaria Panou. They will investigate the impact of salt precipitation on the energy storage in the geological subsurface from the scale of pores up to storage reservoirs (km-scale).

2D-3D Scopy: Towards Reality in raw materials

17th July 2020. In the light of the 2D3DScopy project, involving post-doctoral researcher Margaria Merkulova and PhD student Jonathan Sittner, an entertaining science web video has been made to demonstrate the integration of 3D image data obtained by spectral X-ray computed tomography into process simulation. The video can be watched here .

Online webinar by Arjen Mascini

30th June 2020. On the 30th of June Arjen Mascini presented his latest publication 'Event-based contact angle measurements inside porous media using time-resolved micro-computed tomography' during the first Porous Media Tea Time Talks (PMTTT) , co-organized by PProGRess' post-doctoral researcher Tom Bultreys. Arjen's talk can be watched here . Read the full article here .

These talks will be held online every two weeks. If you don't want to miss these talks, you can subscribe to the PMTTT channel on YouTube.

Welcome Margarita and Sebastiaan

15th May 2020. PProGRess welcomes Dr. Margarita Merkulova (post-doctoral researcher) and Sebastiaan Godts (PhD student, BRAIN 2.0, project PREDICT)! The research of Margarita includes combined chemical and structural characterisation of mineral ore systems in 2D and in 3D with means of X-ray computed tomography. Sebastiaan will investigate phase transitions of salts under changing climatic conditions to predict salt crystallization damage and the formation of complex salt mixtures.

Welcome Jeroen and Kanchana

1st November 2019. PProGRess welcomes Dr. Jeroen Van Stappen (FWO Research Fellow) and Dr. Kanchana Kularatne (post-doctoral researcher)!

Welcome Shan, Tom, Jonathan and Florian

1st Octobre 2019. PProGRess welcomes four new PhD students in the group: Shan Wang (multi-scale pore network modelling), Tom Phillips (multi-phase flow in fractured rocks, joint PhD with Heriot-Watt University), Jonathan Sittner (Energy-sensitive micro-CT for raw materials, under the 2D3DScopy project) and Florian Buyse (characterization of ores and slags).

UGCT Specialist course on High-resolution X-ray Computed Tomography

9th Octobre 2019. This week, UGCT hosted the third edition of our Doctoral Schools on "High-resolution X-ray Computed Tomography: a guide to image acquisition, visualization and analysis". We were delighted to welcome a large group of enthusiastic researchers from all around the world, and we would like to thank our guest lecturers Joost Batenburg (Universiteit Leiden / CWI Amsterdam), Jan Dewanckele and Denis Van Loo (both TESCAN-XRE).

Specialist Course

Heritage Science and Conservation Summer School

17th April 2019.

Stone Environment

Flint in flames - Experimenting with prehistoric fires

29th March 2019. Our PhD student, Géraldine Fiers, is working in close collaboration with the Archaeology department of Ghent University on reconstructing our prehistoric ancestors’ daily life. One of the aspects is trying to understand the setting of open fire hearths. Regularly, in archaeological excavations stone tools are found burnt probably because they ended up either intentionally or accidentally in these open fire hearths. This burning alters the microscopic traces that form by contact with other materials, which gives us important information about the use of a stone tool.

On the 13th of April 2019, open fire experiments will be performed at the Gallische Hoeve in Destelbergen. The aim is to find answers to questions regarding the impact of fire on the interpretability of stone tools and how prehistoric fires can be reconstructed by interpreting burning traces present on these tools. If you would like to see how this all works out, the Gallische Hoeve is open for public from 2:30 pm onwards.

Place to be: Gallische Hoeve, Alfons Braeckmanlaan 430, 9040 Gent
Link to project page

Experiment Drs. Géraldine Fiers

Network launched for heritage science and conservation between PProGRess, KIK-IRPA, BBRI and the University of Oxford

21st March 2019. Funded by the Belgian Federal Scientific Policy Office, the network is a two-year initiative (2019-2021) to foster collaboration and knowledge exchange between UGent, the Belgian Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK-IRPA), the Belgian Building Research Institute (BBRI) and the University of Oxford. Heritage stone Monitoring and Remediation : knowledge exchange placements (KNOWMORE network) connects researchers, practitioners, and policy makers working on stone-built heritage in the Belgium and the UK.

The network will enable expert meetings and knowledge exchange placements in both countries. Additionally, it will coordinate an international Summer School on heritage science and stone conservation in Ghent in August 2019.

The challenges facing stone-built cultural heritage are complex and numerous. Conservation interventions require interdisciplinary approaches that are informed by scientific investigations in laboratory and field settings. The processes underpinning stone weathering and conservation can be understood as material change (at micro- and macro-scales) in the context of diverse environments. The proposed partners are at the forefront of understanding the processes that determine stone weathering in the context of cultural heritage through a range of approaches. However, methodologies often address the issues and challenges in isolation: the opportunity for this network lies in identifying cross-scale opportunities for knowledge exchange and collaborations and linking laboratory and field investigations. Within this, there is a need to identify relevant monitoring and documentation procedures. These investigations and procedures should be set in the context of uncertain changes in climate in Belgium and the UK, which face similar issues.

Read more about the activities of our partners:

Check out our YouTube Channel!

PProGRess has launched its own YouTube Channel, as a showcase for our experimental data, results and presentations. Go and have a look at our movies at this link!

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Research

Topics Projects Publications

We mainly investigate the chemical, physical and biological processes that influence structural and chemical changes in geomaterials. These processes include the weathering of building stones and concrete, crystallization of ice, salts and mineral phases inside porous media, dissolution of minerals by environmental impact and the behavior of fluids inside porous geological materials.
One of the most important experimental techniques we apply in this context is non-destructive imaging at the micron scale, particularly by X-ray micro-CT.

Building stone research

Building stones are sensitive to weathering and undergo internal changes through a complex interaction of chemical, physical and biological processes. Following a holistic approach, both geomaterials and extrinsic influences are viewed as part of a complex system. Our current research endeavours encompass a variety of projects, including:

  • - the link between nano- micro and macroscale processes inside natural stone
  • - the boundaries of the possibilities of the non-destructive imaging techniques and their improvement
  • - the prediction of the macroscopical behaviour based on microscopical study
  • - data fusion of the different non-destructive imaging techniques to obtain maximum information
  • - the monitoring of internal changes due to external chemical, biological and/or physical changes
  • - the modelling of fluid flow behaviour inside the porespace of natural building stones
  • - the modelling and monitoring of crystallisation (e.g. of salts) in the pore space of natural building stones.

By data-fusion of non-destructive research techniques, we characterize the (sub)micron scale petrophysical properties of geomaterials and their internal fluid flow behaviour. Since 2005, the PProGRess group has co-operated the Centre for X-Ray Tomography (UGCT; www.ugct.ugent.be) (headed by Prof. L. Van Hoorebeke, Department of Physics and Astronomy, UGent), where "state-of-the-art" X-ray micro/nano-CT scanners have been developed.

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Education

Courses

PProGRess members teach several courses in the BSc and MSc Geology programmes of Ghent University, including (click for scope and links to ects files*):

* ECTS stands for European Credit Transfer and accumulation System. This guarantees a uniform description of every course, improving transparency and comparability in Europe.

Master projects

2019-2020

Multi-scale analysis of the influence of NOx on SO2 acid weathering of Lede Stone (Maxim Steurbaut)

2017-2018

Colloid transport visualization in sediments and rocks using dynamic X-ray imaging (Benjamin Blykers)

Stone weathering in urban environments: an assessment under full climatic monitoring (Daphne Guilbert)

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Services

PProGRess offers various services, both to other members of Ghent University and external customers. Services performed by PProGRess are mainly limited to characterization of stones and other building materials; for (commercial) micro-CT related services, we refer to UGCT and to TESCAN-XRE.

We can perform petrographic analysis on natural building stones, technological tests on building materials, analysis of sediments and 3D printing.

Petrography

PPRoGRess performs petrography on natural building stones, for the description and/or identification of this materials. This can be done for any building stone, but our main expertise in terms of analysis lies in building stones from Belgium and Northern France. Petrographic analysis is performed according to European Standard EN 12407:2007. For more information please contact Tim De Kock or professor Veerle Cnudde.

Building material tests

The tests we perform include (all performed and reported according to European Standards):

  • Determination of open porosity and apparent density - NBN EN 1936:2007
  • Determination of capillary water absorption - NBN EN 1925:1999
  • Determination of water absorption by submersion under atmospheric pressure - NBN EN 13755:2008
  • Determination of sound speed propagation - NBN EN 14579:2004
  • Determination of resistance to frost weathering - NBN EN 12371:2010
  • Determination of resistance to thermal shock - prEN 14066:2012
  • Determination of resistance to salt crystallization - NBN EN 12370:1999
  • Determination of technological properties of roofing slates - EN 12326:2011
    • Water absorption
    • Freeze-thaw resistance
    • Non-carbonate content
    • Carbonate content
    • Resistance to sulfur dioxide exposure
    • Thermal shock resistance
    • Petrographic examination

For the execution of technical tests on building materials (pressure strength, tensile strength, skid resistance,...) please contact our colleagues of Labo Magnel.

Sediment anaylysis

Standard sediment analysis can be performed at our lab. Standard procedures include grain size analysis by sieving, particle size analysis with SediGraph, determination of organic matter content, determination of calcium carbonate content,...

For more information about these tests, please contact Danielle Schram.

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Team

Staff

Prof. Dr. Veerle Cnudde

Leads PProGRess
Full professor, Ghent University
Director Research & Valorisation, UGent, Faculty of Sciences
Chair of porous media imaging techniques, Utrecht University
Proposal Review Committee chair, TOMCAT beamline, Swiss Light Source

tel:+32 9 264 4580

mail

biblio

Dr. Tom Bultreys

FWO Fellow
Fluid flow and transport in porous media

tel:+32 9 264 4633

mail

biblio

Dr. Jeroen Van Stappen

FWO Fellow
Fracture mechanics and flow in rocks

tel:+32 9 264 4684

mail

biblio

Dr. Kanchana Kularatne

Post-doctoral researcher
Fluid-rock interactions and CO2 storage

tel:+32 9 264 4684

mail

biblio

Dr. Margarita Merkulova

Post-doctoral researcher
Combined chemical and structural characterisation of mineral ore systems

tel:+32 9 264 4684

mail

biblio

Dr. Maxim Deprez

Post-doctoral researcher
Freeze-thaw weathering of porous building materials

tel:+32 9 264 4627

mail

biblio

Danielle Schram

Technical Staff

tel:+32 9 264 9676

mail

PhD Students

Benjamin Blykers

X-ray grating interferometry of mineral building materials

tel:+32 9 264 4627

mail

biblio

Florian Buyse

3D characterisation of ores

tel:+32 9 264 4617

mail

biblio

Géraldine Fiers

Characterization and weathering of prehistoric flint artefacts

tel:+32 9 264 4684

mail

biblio

Sebastiaan Godts

Salt crystallization damage and complex salt mixtures

mail

biblio

Daphne Guilbert

Water transport in porous building materials

tel:+32 9 264 4684

mail

biblio

Gülce Kalyoncu

Salt precipitation in porous media

mail

biblio

Arjen Mascini

Multiphase flow in porous media

tel:+32 9 264 4627

mail

biblio

Nektaria Panou

Salt precipitation in porous media

mail

biblio

Tomos Phillips

Fluid flow in fractured media

tel:+32 9 264 4627

mail

biblio

Laurenz Schröer

Bacterial colonisation of porous sedimentary rocks

tel:+32 9 264 4633

mail

biblio

Jonathan Sittner

3D chemical characterization of materials with spectral X-ray CT

tel:+32 9 264 4617

mail

biblio

Stefanie Van Offenwert

Solute transport in porous media / Teaching Assistent

tel:+32 9 264 4633

mail

biblio

Shan Wang

Multi-scale pore network modelling

tel:+32 9 264 4633

mail

biblio

Alumni

Dr. Tim De Kock

Post-doctoral Fellow
Doctor of Science: Geology

mail

biblio

Dr. Redouane Meftah

Doctor of Science: Physics

mail

biblio

Dr. Marijn Boone

Post-doc
Doctor of Science: Geology

mail

biblio

Dr. Victor Cardenes

Post-doc
Doctor of Science: Geology

mail

biblio

Dr. Wesley De Boever

Doctor of Science: Geology

mail

biblio

Dr. Ir. Hannelore Derluyn

FWO Post-doc

mail

biblio

Dr. Jan Dewanckele

Doctor of Science: Geology

mail

biblio

Dr. Aurèlie Isebaert

Doctor of Science: Geology

mail

biblio

Delphine Vandevoorde

Master in conservation-restauration of stone

mail

biblio

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Contact

Address

Krijgslaan 281 - Building S8
Department of Geology (WE13)
1st floor - Corridor C1
9000 Ghent
Belgium

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