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Dr Bin Xu

Associate Professor

Department: Mechanical and Construction Engineering

Dr Ben B. Xu is an associate professor in engineering materials and mechanics, with multi-disciplinary research interests covering functional materials, applied mechanics and micro-engineering. Ben obtained his PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Heriot-watt University in 2011 and 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. Since joining Northumbria in 2013, he has taken on a number of leadership roles, including programme leader for engineering MSc, Deputy lead of UoA 12 for REF 2021, etc, and became the Director of Research in the department since 2018. 

He has published 1 US patent, 1 book chapter and over 70 peer-reviewed articles in the leading journals, including Nat. Commun., Adv.  Mater., Adv. Fun. Mater., Energy. Environ. Sci., Nano Energy, Phys. Rev. Lett., etc (h-index 21, 4 ESI Highly Cited Paper). Ben has been invited to give 60+ invited/plenary talks in international conferences/leading institutions, chaired 10+ international events and reviewed paper publications for 30+ journals. He serves as an associate editor for the journal ES Engineered Science, and an editorial board member for the journal Polymers. 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. 

Ben is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC), Fellow of the Institute of Materials, Mining and Minerals (FIMMM), Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (FRSA), a chartered scientist and a chartered engineer. He has been a member in the Advisory Council and Nomination Committee in The Institute of Materials, Mining and Minerals (IoM3) from 2019, the RSC Newcastle upon Tyne and North East Coast Committee from 2020, and the executive committee for The Chinese Society of Chemical Science and Technology (CSCST-UK) from 2016. Ben has been reviewing grant proposal for EPSRC, NSFC, Leverhulme and ERC since 2015, and an invited penal member for UKRI EPSRC and NERC.

Progresses from Ben’s research have been featured by media presses in 2020, NECONNECTED 2020, 2019, GuardianNECONNECTED 2019, polymer.cnMaterials views china 2019, Materials views china 2016.

Bin Xu

Campus Address

Ellison Building



  • 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

Key Publications

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • A broadband and tunable microwave absorption technology enabled by VGCFs/PDMS–EP shape memory composites, Li, X., Zhu, Y., Liu, X., Xu, B., Ni, Q. 15 Apr 2020, In: Composite Structures
  • A facile surface preservation strategy on the lithium anode for high performance Li-O2 batteries, Luo, Z., Zhu, G., Yin, L., Li, F., Xu, B., Dala, L., Liu, X., Luo, K. 21 May 2020, In: ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
  • A Flexible Topo-optical Sensing Technology with Ultra-high Contrast, Wang, C., Wang, D., Kozhevnikov, V., Dai, X., Turnbull, G., Chen, X., Kong, J., Tang, B., Li, Y., Xu, B. 19 Mar 2020, In: Nature Communications
  • A stimuli-responsive gel impregnated surface with switchable lipophilic/oleophobic properties, Li, Z., Liu, Y., Lei, M., Sun, A., Sridhar, S., Li, Y., Liu, X., Lu, H., Fu, R., Xu, B. 14 Feb 2020, In: Soft Matter
  • Electro- and photon-induced cooling in BNT-BT-SBET relaxors with in situ optical temperature sensing, Wang, L., Zhang, J., Wang, J., Yao, Y., Ren, L., Chen, X., Birkett, M., Dala, L., Xu, B. 23 Mar 2020, In: Optics Letters
  • Fabrication and investigation on ternary heterogeneous MWCNT@TiO2-C fillers and their silicone rubber wave-absorbing composites, Zhao, J., Zhang, J., Wang, L., Lyn, S., Ye, W., Xu, B., Qiu, H., Chen, L., Gu, J. 1 Feb 2020, In: Composites - Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing
  • Half-Sphere Shell Supported Pt Catalyst for Electrochemical Methanol Oxidation, Liu, X., Gu, X., Xu, B., Wang, Y., Fu, R., Bayati, M., Lu, J., Luo, K., Ren, B. 24 Apr 2020, In: Journal of the Electrochemical Society
  • Interfacial Interaction Enhanced Rheological Behavior in PAM/CTAC/Salt Aqueous Solution- A Coarse-Grained Molecular Dynamics Study, Liu, D., Li, Y., Liu, F., Zhou, W., Sun, A., Liu, X., Chen, F., Xu, B., Wei, J. 25 Jan 2020, In: Polymers
  • Manganese hexacyanoferrate reinforced by PEDOT coating towards high-rate and long-life sodium-ion battery cathode, Wang, X., Wang, B., Tang, Y., Xu, B., Liang, C., Yan, M., Jiang, Y. 14 Feb 2020, In: Journal of Materials Chemistry A
  • Stretchable Self-Healing Polymeric Networks with Recyclability and Dual Responsiveness, Dai, X., Du, Y., Wang, Y., Liu, Y., Xu, N., Li, Y., Shan, D., Xu, B., Kong, J. 13 Mar 2020, In: ACS Applied Polymer Materials

Current and Recent Projects

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Smart materials and surfaces enabled resilience engineering technology, Xu, B., 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., 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., The Royal Society, 31/03/16 - 30/03/17, £14,586.00
  • Stimuli-responsive gel based microfluidic switch, Xu, B., 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., Reece Group Limited, 01/02/15 - 31/01/18, £41,400.00
  • SMSL-REECE Joint Summer Undergraduate Research Internship Program, Xu, B., Reece Group Limited, 09/06/14 - 30/09/14, £10,900.00
  • COST Training School - Particles at Liquid Interfaces: Fundamentals and Applications, Xu, B., COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology), 02/04/14 - 05/04/14, £508.00

PGR Supervision

  • Ding Wang Mechanics Study and Application of Micro-Engineered Smart Surface Start: 01/02/2015
  • Honghao Zhou Start: 01/11/2019
  • Ansu Sun 3D printing assisted development of bio-inspired structure and device for advanced engineering Start: 01/03/2017
  • Panagiotis Galatis Start: 16/05/2017
  • Panagiotis Galatis Start: 16/05/2017

Research Themes and Scholarly Interests

Dr Xu is currently leading the research group of Engineering Materials and Mechanics (EM2G) 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, micro-robots, etc. His work on soft active matter and developing novel micro-device is supported by the Royal Society, EPSRC and industries, with a total project value > £1.3 m. 

Progresses from Ben’s research have been featured by media presses in EPSRC, 2020NECONNECTED2020, 2019, GuardianNECONNECTED 2019,, Materials views china 2019Materials views china 2016.


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