Dr Zhenyu Zhang PhD

Dr Zhenyu J Zhang

School of Chemical Engineering

Contact details

School of Chemical Engineering
The University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Zhenyu's research interest focused primarily on characterising soft matter, e.g. polymers, surfactants, and colloids, at surface or interface. Past work has been supported by both internal and external funding bodies including Science and Technology Facility Council (STFC), European Cooperation in Science and Technology, The Carnegie Trust, and industrial partners. 


  • PhD in Polymer Physics, University of Sheffield, 2008
  • MSc (Distinction) in Polymer Science and Engineering, University of Birmingham and Aston University, 2004


Dr Zhenyu Zhang's research is focused on characterising bio-interface, e.g. protein adsorption, cell-surface interaction, cell mechanics, and molecular diffusion. His past work has been supported by both internal and external funding bodies including Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC), Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng), The Carnegie Trust, and industrial partners. 

Originally from China, Zhenyu completed a MSc course of Polymer Science & Engineering jointly offered by Aston/Birmingham Universities with Distinction before starting a PhD in Polymer Physics at the University of Sheffield in 2004. After working as a post-doctoral research associate in the same institute, Zhenyu joined the University of Strathclyde in 2013 as a lecturer in the Department of Chemical and Process Engineering. In September 2015 his group moved to the School of Chemical Engineering, University of Birmingham.


• Foundation Year Chair
• Plant design


Research themes

• Soft matter at interface
• Nanotribology
• Improved Oil Recovery


View Dr Zhang's Google Scholar page here 

• M Raftari, Z J Zhang, S R Carter, G J Leggett, and M Geoghegan “Nanoscale contact mechanics between two grafted polyelectrolyte surfaces” Macromolecules 48 (2015) 6272
• A AL-Baradi, M R Tomlinson, Z J Zhang, and M Geoghegan “Determination of the molar mass of surface-grafted weak polyelectrolyte brushes using force spectroscopy” Polymer 67 (2015) 111
• Y Pen, Z Zhang, A L Morales-Garcia, M Mears, D S Tarmey, R G Edyvean, S A Banwart, and M Geoghegan “Effect of extracellular polymeric substances on the mechanical properties of Rhodococcus” Biochim. Biophys. Acta-Biomembrane 1848 (2015) 518
• Z J Zhang, D Simionesie, and C Schaschke “Graphite and hybrid nanomaterials as lubricant additives” Lubricants 2 (2014) 44
• M Raftari, Z Zhang, S R Carter, G J Leggett, and M Geoghegan “Frictional properties of a polycationic brush” Soft Matter 10 (2014) 2759
• Z Zhang, A J Morse, S P Armes, A L Lewis, M Geoghegan, and G J Leggett “Nanoscale contact mechanics of biocompatible polyzwitterionic brushes” Langmuir 29 (2013) 10684
• K Busuttil, N Nikogeorgos, Z Zhang, M Geoghegan, C A Hunter, and G Leggett “The mechanics of nanometre-scale molecular contacts” Faraday Discuss. 156 (2012) 325
• Z Zhang, A J Morse, S P Armes, A L Lewis, M Geoghegan, and G J Leggett “Effect of brush thickness and solvent composition on the friction force response of poly(2-(methacryloyloxy)ethyl phosphorylcholine) brushes” Langmuir 27 (2011) 2514
• Z Zhang, I W Fletcher, C R Hurley, C Boardman, P Doyle, and G J Leggett “Morphological, and quantitative frictional measurements of cotton fibres using friction force microscopy” J. Mater. Chem. 20 (2010) 8531
• Z Zhang, Y Pen, R G J Edyvean, S A Banwart, R M Dalgliesh, and M Geoghegan “Adhesive and conformational behaviour of mycolic acid monolayers” Biochim. Biophys. Acta-Biomembrane 1798 (2010) 1829
• A J Morse, S Edmondson, D Dupin, S P Armes, Z Zhang, G J Leggett, R L Thompson, and A L Lewis “Biocompatible polymer brushes grown from model quartz fibres: synthesis, characterization and in situ determination of frictional coefficient” Soft Matter 6 (2010) 1571
• P Burgos, Z Zhang, R Golestanian, G J Leggett, and M Geoghegan “Directed single molecule diffusion triggered by surface energy gradients” ACS Nano 3 (2009) 3235
• M Geoghegan, J S Andrews, C A Biggs, K E Eboigbodin, D R Elliott, S Rolfe, J Scholes, J J Ojeda, M E Romero-Gonzalez, R G J Edyvean, L Swanson, R Rutkaite, R Fernando, Y Pen, Z Zhang, and S A Banwart “The polymer physics and chemistry of microbial cell attachment and adhesion” Faraday Discuss. 139 (2008) 85
• Z Zhang, M Tomlinson, R Golestanian, and M Geoghegan “The interfacial behaviour of single PDMAc chains measured as a function of pH” Nanotechnology 19 (2008) 035505