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Dr Ben B. Xu  FRSC, FIMMM, FRSA, FICS, 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 Department of Polymer Science and Engineering at University of Massachusetts Amherst (US, 2011-2013). Ben is a visiting professor in UCLA (US), University of Alberta (CA), The University of Sydney (AU), Manipal University (India), etc. 

Ben is a vice chair for division of 'composites' in AICHE (US) and chairing the Materials Characterisation&Properties Group in the Institute of Materials, Mining and Minerals (IoM3). He has published 7 patents, 7 book(incl. chapters) and over 200 peer-reviewed articles in the leading journals, including Sci. Adv.Nat. Commun., Adv.  Mater., Adv. Energy. Mater., Adv. Fun. Mater., Energy. Environ. Sci., Phys. Rev. Lett., etc (h-index 41). Ben has been invited to give 100+ invited/plenary talks in international conferences/leading institutions, chaired 30+ international events and reviewed paper publications for 100+ 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, 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 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 a research group 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 WorldUK Fluids Networkphys.org 2020, NECONNECTED 2020, phys.org 2019, GuardianTelegraphNECONNECTED 2019, polymer.cnMaterials views china 2019, Materials views china 2016.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

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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