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Personal profile


Dr Ben B. Xu FRSC, FIMMM, FRSA, CENG, CSCI, is a full professor in materials and mechanics with a multi-disciplinary research interest covering functional materials, applied mechanics, micro-engineering and sustainable and energy technology. Ben obtained his PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Heriot-watt University in 2011. He subsequently worked as a postdoc researcher in Professor Hayward’s Group (Polymer Science and Engineering) at University of Massachusetts Amherst (2011-2013). Ben holds the title of visiting professorship in 10+ universities globally, including UCLA (US), Texas A&M University (US), University of Alberta (CA), The University of Sydney (AU), Manipal University (India), etc. 

Ben is leading the Smart Materials and Surfaces Lab (SMSL) in Northumrbria and chairing the Materials Characterisation&Properties Group in the Institute of Materials, Mining and Minerals (IoM3).He has published 6 patents, 6 book(incl. chapters) and over 150 peer-reviewed articles in the leading journals, including Sci. Adv.Nat. Commun., Adv.  Mater., Adv. Energy. Mater., Adv. Fun. Mater., Energy. Environ. Sci., Nano Energy, Small, Phys. Rev. Lett., etc (h-index 32). Ben has been invited to give 90+ invited/plenary talks in international conferences/leading institutions, chaired 10+ international events and reviewed paper publications for 80+ journals. He serves as an associate editor for Advanced Composites and Hybrid Materials (Springer Nature), Advanced Devices & Instrumentation (AAAS) and ES Engineered Science, and an editorial board member for Polymers (MDPI). He received awards as the Outstanding Paper Award at the 2018 IEEE International Flexible Electronics Technology Conference, Outstanding Reviewer for Journal of Molecular Liquids (2018), 2016 Young Investigator Award from the International Polymer Networks Group, 3rd prize in the 2016 EPSRC photo competition, 2016 RSC-CSCST Emerging Talent Grant from Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), etc.  

He was elected to the Advisory Council and Nomination Committee in IoM3 from 2019, and the RSC Materials Chemistry Division Council and Newcastle upon Tyne and North East Coast Committee from 2020, the executive committee for The Chinese Society of Chemical Science and Technology (CSCST-UK) from 2016. 

Progresses from Ben’s research have been featured by media presses in 



Materials Worldhttps://www.iom3.org/materials-world-magazine/news/2020/jun/03/elastic-folding-soft-matter-surfaces-aids-highcontrast

Materials views chinahttps://www.materialsviewschina.com/2020/09/48634/   


NECONNECTED: https://neconnected.co.uk/fold-to-glitter-researchers-discover-novel-optical-sensing-technology/




UK Fluids Networkhttps://fluids.mzs.arpa.cam.ac.uk


Materials views chinahttps://www.materialsviewschina.com/2019/08/39476/?from=timeline&isappinstalled=0


Before 2019:

NECONNECTED: https://neconnected.co.uk/northumbria-scientists-win-national-photography-prize/



Materials views chinahttps://www.materialsviewschina.com/2016/04/21008/

Research interests

Dr Xu is currently leading the research group of Smart Materials and Surfaces Lab (SMSL) in Northumbria to develop multidisciplinary research programmes, from fundamental understanding on engineering science to innovating the enabling technologies. His researches in extreme mechanics and functional materials includes the design and understanding of morphing structures, the development of novel flexible/wearable sensing/actuating structure/devices, the realization of functional surface/interface with unique chemical-physical features, the innovation of new circular economy technology using recycled plastic wastes and the exploration of future renewable energy solutions.

He has developed a novel approach to realise the sensing/actuation function by introducing elastic instabilities into the micro-engineered structure in a controllable manner, which shed extra lights in developing future micro-devices, especially in the sectors of flexible/wearable electronics, soft robots, etc. His work on soft active matter and developing novel micro-device is supported by the Royal Society, EPSRC and industries.

Progresses from Ben’s research have been featured by media presses in EPSRC,Materials World, UK Fluids Network, phys.org 2020NECONNECTED 2020, phys.org 2019, GuardianTelegraphNECONNECTED 2019, polymer.cn, Materials views china 2019Materials views china 2016.

Education/Academic qualification

Education, PGCert, Northumbria University

15 Nov 201331 Aug 2015

Award Date: 1 Oct 2015

Mechanical Engineering, PhD, Heriot-Watt University

1 Apr 200831 May 2011

Award Date: 1 Nov 2011

Materials Science, MSc, Zhejiang University of Technology

1 Sep 200330 Jun 2006

Award Date: 1 Jul 2006

Polymers and Textiles, BSc (Hons), Zhejiang University of Technology

1 Sep 199930 Jun 2003

Award Date: 30 Jun 2003


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