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Prof Bin Xu


Department: Mechanical and Construction Engineering

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). He previously worked as a Chemical Engineer in an industrial research institute in Hangzhou (China) from 2006 to 2008.

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 140 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 29). Ben has been invited to give 80+ invited/plenary talks in international conferences/leading institutions, chaired 10+ international events and reviewed paper publications for 60+ 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 World

Materials views china   






UK Fluids Network


Materials views china


Before 2019:




Materials views china

Bin Xu

Campus Address

Ellison Building


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, 2020NECONNECTED 2020, 2019, GuardianTelegraphNECONNECTED 2019,, Materials views china 2019Materials views china 2016.

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • An efficient bifunctional Ni-Nb2O5 nanocatalysts for the hydrodeoxygenation of anisole, Xu, J., Zhu, P., El Azab, I., Xu, B., Guo, Z., Elnaggar, A., Mersal, G., Liu, X., Zhi, Y., Lin, Z., Algadi, H., Shan, S. 1 Sep 2022, In: Chinese Journal of Chemical Engineering
  • A Strand Entangled Supramolecular PANI/PAA Hydrogel enabled Ultra-stretchable Strain Sensor, Liu, D., Zhou, H., Zhao, Y., Huyan, C., Wang, Z., Torun, H., Guo, Z., Dai, S., Xu, B., Chen, F. 25 Sep 2022, In: Small
  • A Structural Gel Composite Enabled Robust Underwater Mechanosensing Strategy with High Sensitivity, Wang, Z., Zhou, H., Liu, D., Chen, S., Wang, D., Dai, S., Chen, F., Xu, B. 17 Jun 2022, In: Advanced Functional Materials
  • A thermally-driven seawater desalination system: Proof of concept and vision for future sustainability, Alrowais, R., Shahzad, M., Muhammad, B., Bashir, M., Chen, Q., Xu, B., Kumja, M., Markides, C., Kim Choon, N. 1 Jul 2022, In: Case Studies in Thermal Engineering
  • Beyond Lithium: A New Era of Sustainable Energy Engineering, Xu, B., Jiang, Y., Liu, T., Guo, Z., Yu, G., Titirici, M. 1 Aug 2022, In: Small
  • Complexation of Antibiotics with Transition Metal Ions: A Review, Chouhan, N., Hait, M., Roymahapatra, G., Huang, M., Xu, B., Guo, Z. 23 Feb 2022, In: ES Food & Agroforestry
  • Conformally Anodizing Hierarchical Structure in a Deformed Tube towards Energy-saving Liquid Transportation, Li, W., Zhou, H., Zhao, K., Jin, J., Chen, X., Shahzad, M., Jiang, Y., Matar, O., Dai, S., Xu, B., Sun, L. 1 Mar 2022, In: Chemical Engineering Journal
  • Cu2O Nano-flowers/Graphene Enabled Scaffolding Structure Catalyst Layer for Enhanced CO2 Electrochemical Reduction, Wang, Y., Lei, H., Lu, S., Yang, Z., Xu, B., Xing, L., Liu, T. 15 May 2022, In: Applied Catalysis B: Environmental
  • Demystifying integrated power and desalination processes evaluation based on standard primary energy approach, Shahzad, M., Ng, K., Burhan, M., Chen, Q., Ahmad Jamil, M., Imtiaz, N., Xu, B. 1 Jan 2022, In: Thermal Science and Engineering Progress

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Smart materials and surfaces enabled resilience engineering technology, Xu, B. (Principal Investigator), Xu, B. (Co Investigator), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, 01/02/18 - 21/11/18, £1,025.00
  • EE 3D printed smart materials structure and device for advanced engineering, Xu, B. (Principal Investigator), Xu, B. (Co Investigator), Jinbaian Steel Product Co Ltd, 01/10/16 - 30/09/19, £75,000.00
  • Dynamically monitoring in plane strain transformation/localization during creasing of the gel surface, Xu, B. (Principal Investigator), Xu, B. (Co Investigator), The Royal Society, 31/03/16 - 30/03/17, £14,586.00
  • Stimuli-responsive gel based microfluidic switch, Xu, B. (Principal Investigator), Xu, B. (Co Investigator), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, 01/10/15 - 30/07/17, £122,266.00
  • Mechanics and application of the micro-engineered smart structure, Xu, B. (Principal Investigator), Xu, B. (Co Investigator), Reece Group Limited, 01/02/15 - 31/01/18, £41,400.00
  • SMSL-REECE Joint Summer Undergraduate Research Internship Program, Xu, B. (Principal Investigator), Xu, B. (Co Investigator), Reece Group Limited, 09/06/14 - 30/09/14, £10,900.00
  • COST Training School - Particles at Liquid Interfaces: Fundamentals and Applications, Xu, B. (Principal Investigator), Xu, B. (Co Investigator), COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology), 02/04/14 - 05/04/14, £508.00

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Examination: PhD examination in Manchester University 2022
  • Examination: PhD examination in Newcastle University 2022
  • Editorial work: Advanced Devices & Instrumentation (Journal) 2022
  • Membership of board: The IOM3 Materials Characterisation & Properties Group (External organisation) 2022
  • Editorial work: Editor board member for Green Energy and Environmental Technology (Event) 2022
  • Editorial work: Advanced Composites and Hybrid Materials (Journal) 2022
  • Examination: PhD examination in the University of Edinburgh 2022
  • Participating in a conference, workshop, ...: The 28th CSCST-SCI Annual Conference 2021
  • Editorial work: Guest Editor for Special Issue of ‘Beyond Lithium: A New Era of Sustainable Energy Engineering’ for Small (Event) 2021
  • Examination: PhD examination in Northumbria University 2021

  • Yuan Wang Design and development of reliable electrode for high-performance hydrogen production under fluctuating power supply Start Date: 01/10/2022
  • Qiumei Jing Market analysis of novel sustainable energy system for Net Zero in England and China Start Date: 01/03/2022
  • Sreepathy Sridhar Nature Inspired Surface/Interface Engineering Towards Advanced Device Applications Start Date: 01/10/2017 End Date: 20/05/2021
  • Ding Wang Mechanics Study and Application of Micro-Engineered Smart Surface Start Date: 01/02/2015 End Date: 06/11/2019
  • Zhuofan Qin Paper based hybrid micro-electronics Start Date: 18/01/2021
  • Honghao Zhou A soft robotic technology by controllably morphing gel structures Start Date: 01/11/2019
  • Ansu Sun 3D Printing Assisted Development of Bio-inspired Structure and Device for Advanced Engineering Start Date: 01/03/2017 End Date: 10/09/2022
  • Panagiotis Galatis Start Date: 16/05/2017
  • Panagiotis Galatis Start Date: 16/05/2017

  • Education PGCert October 01 2015
  • Mechanical Engineering PhD November 01 2011
  • Materials Science MSc July 01 2006
  • Polymers and Textiles BSc (Hons) June 30 2003
  • Fellow of The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce FRSA 2020
  • Fellow of Royal Society of Chemistry FRSC 2019
  • Fellow of the Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining FIMMM 2016
  • Other (please specify) Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) 2015
  • Fellow (FHEA) Higher Education Academy (HEA) 2015
  • Member American Chemical Society 2011
  • Member Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) 2010

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