Professor Zhibing Zhang BSc, MSc, PhD, CEng, FIChemE

Zhibing Zhang

School of Chemical Engineering
Professor of Chemical Engineering

Contact details

+44 (0) 121 414 5334
+ 44 (0) 121 414 5324
Chemical Engineering
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Professor Zhang has built an international reputation for developing original work on micromanipulation of single micro-/nanoparticles and encapsulation/bioencapsulation with applications in chemical, food, nutraceutical, pharmaceutical, household care and human care industries.

Professor Zhang is a member of the Editorial Boards of Journal of Microencapsulation; Artificial Cells, Blood Substitutes and Biotechnology and International Journal of Chemical Engineering, EPSRC Peer Review College, an Overseas Assessor of Chinese Academy of Sciences, and an Assessor for IChemE Accreditation.

He has authored and co-authored over 100 journal papers and approximately 200 other publications (refereed conference papers, book chapters, conference presentations, patent, etc).


  • PhD, Chemical Engineering, East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai, China, 2.1988
  • MSc, Chemical Engineering, East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai, China, 3.1985
  • BSc, Chemical Engineering, 1st Class Equivalent, Hefei University of Technology, Hefei, China, 7.1982


  • Industrial Secondment in Granutec, Germany, 10.2010 & 3.2011
  • Industrial Secondment in Procter & Gamble, 7.2007-11.2007
  • Professor of Chemical Engineering, University of Birmingham, 10.2004-
  • Visiting Professor, Ecole des Mines d’Albi-Carmaux, Albi, France, 5.2003-9.2003
  • Reader in Chemical Engineering, University of Birmingham, 10.2001-9.2004
  • Senior Lecturer in Chemical Engineering 10.1999-9.2001
  • Lecturer, School of Chemical Engineering, University of Birmingham, 8.1995 -9.1999
  • Research Fellow (RF2), School of Chemical Engineering, University of Birmingham, 10.1994 - 7.1995
  • Research Fellow (RA1A), School of Chemical Engineering, University of Birmingham, 10.1990 - 9.1994
  • Honorary Research Fellow, School of Chemical Engineering, University of Birmingham, 9.1989 - 9.1990
  • Lecturer, UNILAB Research Centre for Chemical Reaction Engineering, East China University of Science and Technology, China, 4.1988 - 9.1989
  • Researcher Fellow, UNILAB Research Centre for Chemical Reaction Engineering, East China University of Science and Technology, China, 2.1988 - 4.1988


Teaching programmes

  • Mathematical Modelling of Time Dependent Processes
  • System Modelling
  • Advanced Reaction Engineering B
  • Measurement Techniques
  • Molecular Delivery/Encapsulation
  • Supervision of MEng and MSc research projects
  • Co-ordinator of 4th year MEng research projects

Postgraduate supervision

Principal supervisor of:

  • A. Fernandez
  • R. Manton
  • Wan Rosmiza
  • Y. He
  • X. Pan
  • S. Pancholi
  • D. Tanangteerapong
  • P. Hudson (EngD)
  • Tom Coughlin (EngD)

Co-supervisor of :

  • Y. Zhang
  • V. Davda


Research themes

  • Bioengineering
  • Energy and Chemical industries
  • Food, Health and Nutrition
  • Speciality Products

Research activity

  • Formulation of micro- and nano- particles: microencapsulation, bioencapsulation, stabilisation and targeted delivery
  • Mechanical characterisation of micro-/nanoparticles
  • Manufacture and preservation of probiotics and neutraceuticals
  • Particle adhesion on surfaces
  • Fouling: biofilm growth and detachment, food fouling and control
  • Tissue engineering: cell mechanics, bioencapsulation, biomaterials, cell-substrate interactions and finite element analysis
  • Microrheology
  • Development of functional products from sustainable resources
  • Understanding the contact mechanics between razor blades and skin

Other activities

  • Consultancy and technical services to companies


Select publications

  1. Wang, Q. G, Magnay, J. L, Nguyen, B. V, Thomas, C. R., Zhang, Z., El Haja, A. J., Kuiper, N. J. (2009) Gene expression profiles of dynamically compressed single chondrocytes and chondrons. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 379: 738-42
  2. Nguyen, V. B., Wang, C. X., Thomas, C. R. and Zhang Z. (2009) Mechanical properties of single alginate microspheres determined by microcompression and finite element modelling, Chemical Engineering Science 64: 821 – 829.
  3. Yan, Y., Zhang, Z., Stokes, J., Zhou, Q. and Ma, G. and Adams, M. J. (2009) Mechanical characterization of agarose micro-particles with a narrow size distribution, Powder Technology 192: 122-130.
  4. Nguyen, B. V., Wang, Q. G., Kuiper, J. J., El Haj, A. J., Thomas, C. R. and Zhang, Z. (2009) Strain-dependent viscoelastic behaviour and rupture force of single chondrocytes and chondrons under compression. Biotechnology Letters 31:803–809.
  5. Yong, P., Paterson-Beedle, M., Liu, W., Zhang, Z., D.A. Beauregard, D. A., Johns, M. L. and Macaskie, L. E. (2009) A study of biofilm and non-line-of-sight bio-hydroxyapatite coatings using a Serratia sp. Advanced Materials Research 71-73: 741-744
  6. Xue J. and Zhang Z. (2009) Physical, Structural and mechanical characterization of calcium shellac microspheres as a carrier of carbamide peroxide. Journal of Applied Polymer Science 113: 1619-1625.
  7. O’Sullivan, M., Zhang, Z. and Vincent B. (2009) Silica-shell / oil-core microcapsules with controlled shell thickness and their breakage stress. Langmuir 25: 7962-7966.  
  8. Hu, J., Chen, H. Q. and Zhang, Z. (2009) Mechanical properties of melamine formaldehyde microcapsules for self-healing materials. Materials Chemistry and Physics 118:63-70.
  9. Yue, L., Preece, J. A., York, D. and Zhang, Z. (2009) Microcapsules with low content of formaldehyde: preparation and characterization. Journal of Materials Chemistry 19(37): 6882-6887.
  10. Akhtar, N., Bowen. J., Asteriadou, K., Robbins, P.T., Zhang, Z. and Fryer, P. J.  (2010) Matching the nano- to the meso-scale: Measuring deposit-surface interactions with atomic force microscopy and micromanipulation. Food and Bioproducts Processing, 88 (C4): 341-348.
  11. Bowen, J., Cheneler, D., Walliman, D., Arkless, S. G., Zhang, Z. B., Ward,  M. C. L. and Adams,  M. J. (2010) On the calibration of rectangular atomic force microscope cantilevers modified by particle attachment and lamination. Measurement Science & Technology. 21(11) Article Number: 115106.
  12. Stenson, J., Ren, Y., Donald, A. M. and Zhang, Z. (2010) Compression testing by nanomanipulation in environmental scanning electron microscope (ESEM). Experimental Techniques 34(2): 60-62.
  13. Yan, Y., Zhang, Z., Cheneler, D., Stokes, J. R. and Adams M. J.(2010) The influence of flow confinement on the rheological properties of complex fluids. Rheologicia Acta 49(3): 255-266.
  14. Wang, Q. G., Nguyen, Thomas, C. R., Zhang, Z., El Haj, A. J. and Kuiper N. J. (2010) Molecular profiling of single cells in response to mechanical force: comparison of chondrocytes, chondrons and encapsulated chondrocytes. Biomaterials 31(7): 1619-1625.
  15. Long, Y., Preece, J. A., York, D. and Zhang, Z. (2010) Organic-inorganic double shell composite microcapsules. Chemical Communications 46(10): 1718-1720.
  16. Nguyen, B. V., Wang, Q. G., Kuiper, N. J., El Haj, A. J., Thomas, C. R. and Zhang, Z. (2010) Biomechanical properties of single chondrocytes and chondrons determined by micromanipulation and finite element modeling, J. Royal Society Interface 7 (53): 1723-1733.   
  17. Chan, E.-S., Wong, S. L., Lee, P. P., Lee, J.-S. Ti, T. B., Zhang, Z., Poncelet, D., Ravindra, P., Phan, S.-H. and Yim Z.-H. (2011) Effects of starch filler on the physical properties of lyophilized calcium–alginate beads and the viability of encapsulated cells. Carbohydrate Polymers 83 (1): 225-232. 
  18. Thomas, C. R., Stenson, J. D. and Zhang Z. (2011) Measuring the mechanical properties of single microbial cells.Advances in Biochemical Engineering and Biotechnology 124: 83-98. 
  19. Mercadé-Prieto, R., Nguyen, B. V., Allen, R., York, D., Preece, J. A., Goodwin, T. E. and Zhang Z. (2011) Determination of the Elastic Properties of Compressed Microcapsules Using Finite Element Modelling. Chemical Engineering Science. 66 (10) : 2042-2049.    
  20. Mercadé-Prieto, R., Allen, R., York, D., Preece, J. A., Goodwin, T. E. and Zhang Z. (2011) Compression of elastic -perfectly plastic microcapsules using micromanipulation and finite element modelling: Determination of the yield stress. Chemical Engineering Science. 66: 1835–1843.
  21. Bowen, J., Cheneler, D., Andrews, J., Avery, A., Zhang, Z., Ward, M. and Adams, M. (2011) Application of colloid probe AFM to the adhesion of thin films of viscous and viscoelastic silicone fluids, Langmuir 27    (18): 11489-11500.
  22. Chan, E. S., Limb, T.-K., Voob, W.-P., Pogakub, R., Teyc, B.T., Zhang, Z. (2011) Effect of formulation of alginate beads on their mechanical behavior and stiffness. Particuology 9: 228–234.
  23. Tan, Y. N.; Liu, Y.; Zhang, Z. B., Huang, B. Y. and Grover, L. M. (2011)  Hydroxyapatite formation on surface of calcium aluminate cements. Advances In Applied Ceramics  110 (8): 464-468.
  24. Mercadé-Prieto, R.,  Allen,  R, York, D.,  Preece, J. A., Goodwin, T. E. and Zhang Z. (2012) Failure of elastic-plastic core-shell microcapsules under compression, AIChEJ 58 (9): 2674–2681.
  25. Xie, M.,Olderøy, M. Ø.,  Zhang, Z.,Andreassen, J.-P.,Strand, B. L.and Sikorski, P. (2012) Biocomposites prepared by alkaline phosphatase mediated mineralization of alginate microbeads. RSC Adv. 1: 1–9.
  26. Ioannidis, N., Bowen, J., Pacek, A. and Zhang, Z. (2012) Manufacturing of agarose-based chromatographic adsorbents - Effect of ionic strength and cooling conditions on particle structure and mechanical strength. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science 367 (1): 153–160.
  27. Mercadé-Prieto, R. and Zhang, Z. (2012) Mechanical Characterisation of microspheres –capsules, cells and beads: a review. J Microencapsulation 29 (3): 277-285.
  28. Pan X. M. David York, D., Preece, J. A. and Zhang Z. (2012) Size and strength distributions of melamine-formaldehyde microcapsules prepared by membrane emulsification. Powder Technology 227: 43–50.
  29. Mercadé-Prieto, R.,  Allen,  R, York, D.,  Preece, J. A., Goodwin, T. E. and Zhang, Z. (2012)Determination of the shell permeability of microcapsules with a core of oil-based active ingredient . Journal of Microencapsulation 29 (5) 463-474.
  30. Olderøy, M. Ø., Xie, M., Andreassen, J.-P., Strand, B. L., Zhang, Z. and Sikorski, P. (2012) Viscoelastic properties of mineralized alginate hydrogel beads. Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine 23(7): 1619-1627.
  31. Wang, J.-Y., Yu, H.-R., Xie, R., Ju, X.-J., Yu, Y.-L., Zhang, Z. and Chu, L.-Y.(2012) Alginate/protamine/silica hybrid capsules with ultrathin membranes for laccase immobilization. AIChEJ DOI: 10.1002/aic.13834
  32. Mercadé-Prieto, R., Allen,  R, York, D.,  Preece, J. A., Goodwin, T. E. and Zhang, Z. (2012) Determination of failure stresses for microcapsules that rupture near the elastic regime. Experimental Mechanics (in press).
  33. Liu, K. M., Preece, J. A., York, D., Bowen, J. and Zhang, Z. (2012) Measurement of the adhesion between single melamine formaldehyde micro-particles and a flat fabric surface using AFM. Journal of Adhesion Science and Technology (in press)
  34. Mou, C-L., He, X.-H., Ju, X.-J., Xie, R. Liu, Z., Liu, L., Zhang, Z., and Chu, L. Y. (2012) Change in Size and Structure of Monodisperse Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) Microcapsules in Response to Varying Temperature and Ethyl Gallate Concentration. Chemical Engineering Journal (in press).

Book chapters

  1. Z. Zhang, J Stenson and C.R. Thomas(2009) Micromanipulation in Mechanical Characterisation of Single Particles, Advances in Chemical Engineering, Li J (Editor), Academic Press, pp 29-86,
  2. Z. Zhang, D. Law and G. Lian (2010) Characterisation Methods of Encapsulates, Encapsulation Technologies for Food Active Ingredients and Food Processing. Eds: Nicolaas Jan Zuidam and Viktor A. Nedovic, Springer, pp101-126.
  3. Huckle, B. D. and Zhang, Z. (2011) Maintenance and Protection of Probiotics. M.-T. Liong (ed.), Probiotics, Microbiology Monographs 21, DOI 10.1007/978-3-642-20838-6_4, # Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011.