Dr Yueting Sun PhD

Dr Yueting Sun

Department of Mechanical Engineering
Associate Professor

Contact details

School of Engineering
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Yueting Sun is an Associate Professor and UKRI Future Leaders Fellow. Yueting has a multi-disciplinary experience, starting from vehicle crash safety and moving towards nanoporous materials in his current research.

By working at the boundary of engineering, chemistry, and physics, he combines impact mechanics, metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), and nanofluidics to pioneer the field of dynamic nanofluidic energy absorption using highly porous framework materials like MOFs, supported by a prestigious UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship.

He is keen to collaborate with people from different backgrounds to create fundamental knowledge as well as to explore practical applications of advanced mechanical energy absorption materials in various fields. Further information on his research can be found on his personal research group pages.

Yueting is also Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA), interested in transferrable skills development, research-intensive teaching, and interdisciplinary learning. He taught Advanced Vehicle Engineering and coordinated Final Year Project (Meng) in 2021-22. 


  • PhD in Mechanical Engineering, Tsinghua University, 2015
  • Bachelor in Automotive Engineering, Tsinghua University, 2010
  • Bachelor in Economics, Tsinghua University, 2010


Dr Yueting Sun received his bachelor’s degree in automotive engineering and bachelor’s degree in Economics from Tsinghua University in 2010, followed by a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Tsinghua University in 2015.

He visited the University of California, San Diego as a research assistant from 2013 to 2014, and held the KC Wong Fellowship at the University of Oxford from 2016 to 2018.

Following a postdoc in Oxford, he moved to Birmingham in Dec 2019 to take up the Lecturer position and became Associate Professor in Aug 2023.

Postgraduate supervision

Dr Yueting Sun is seeking motivated students to join his group, based in the Nanoporous Materials and Mechanics Laboratory with outstanding facilities from chemical synthesis, material processing, to mechanical testing. His research is interdisciplinary, so applications are welcome from candidates across different areas, including but not limited to:

  • Chemistry: crystallography, synthesis of nanoporous materials (e.g., MOFs, COFs, zeolites, silica, polymer), mechanochemistry
  • Physics: nanofluidics (e.g., nanoscale water), molecular simulation, thermodynamics
  • Materials: colloids (e.g., nanofluid), gel, polymer, porous/compressible liquid
  • Mechanics: impact mechanics, solid mechanics, vibration, acoustics, rheology
  • Engineering: mechanical design, mechatronics, energy sustainability

Applicants should have a good degree (equivalent to a UK First or at least a 2:1) in one of the disciplines above. Those wishing to apply should email Dr Sun with a CV to discuss possible projects and funding opportunities.


Dr Yueting Sun’s current research is focused on the mechanical energy absorption of nanoporous materials. Nanoporous materials such as MOFs are having their applications in mechanical energy absorption. For example, MOFs can offer extremely small hydrophobic pores that are comparable to the size of water molecules, squeezing liquid water into these tiny nanopores can create large solid-liquid interfaces and dissipate huge amounts of mechanical energy.

Flexible MOFs can also have structural transitions under mechanical pressure to absorb energy. Mechanical energy absorption through these mechanisms can be amplified by their large surface area and porosity, leading to much higher efficiency than conventional materials.

His broader research interest is related to the areas listed below:

  • In material chemistry, interested in nanoporous materials such as MOFs, particularly their liquid adsorption and structure transition under mechanical pressure.
  • In solid mechanics, interested in material properties under high strain rate deformation.
  • In mechanical engineering, interested in energy absorption and protection against impact, vibration, and blast.
  • In physics, interested in nanofluidics and angstrofluidics enabled by nanoporous materials.
  • In material science, interested in material systems like nanofluids, porous liquids, and compressible liquids, particularly their novel physical behaviours and potential applications.


  • Sun, Y. Jiang, H.,(2023). Energy Absorption of Metal-Organic Frameworks. in Mechanical Behaviour of Metal-Organic Framework Materials, edited by JC Tan.
  • Sun, Y. , Rogge, S.M.J., Lamaire, A., Vandenbrande, S., Wieme, J., Siviour, C.R., Speybroeck, V. Van, and Tan, J.C., (2021) High-rate nanofluidic energy absorption in porous zeolitic frameworks, Nature Materials 20, 1015-1023.
  • Sun, Y., Li, Y., Tan, J. C., (2018), Liquid intrusion into Zeolitic Imidazolate Framework-7 nanocrystals: exposing the roles of phase transition and gate opening to enable energy absorption applications, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 10: 41831-41838.
  • Sun, Y., Li, Y., Tan, J. C., (2018), Framework flexibility of ZIF-8 under liquid intrusion: discovering time-dependent mechanical response and structural relaxation, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 20: 10108-10113.
  • Sun, Y., Li, Y., Zhao, C., Wang, M., Lu, W., Qiao, Y., (2018), Crushing of circular steel tubes filled with nanoporous-materials-functionalized liquid, International Journal of Damage Mechanics, 27: 439-450.
  • Liu, B., Xu, T., Xu, X., Wang, Y., Sun, Y., Li. Y., (2016), Energy absorption mechanism of polyvinyl butyral laminated windshield subjected to head impact: experiment and numerical simulation, International Journal of Impact Engineering, 90: 26-36.
  • Sun, Y., Xu, X., Xu, C., Qiao, Y., Li, Y., (2016), Elastomeric cellular structure enhanced by compressible liquid filler, Scientific Reports, 6: 26694.
  • Sun, Y., Guo, Z., Xu, J., Xu, X., Liu, C., Li, Y., (2015), A candidate of mechanical energy mitigation system: dynamic and quasi-static behaviors and mechanisms of zeolite β/water system, Materials & Design, 66: 545–551.
  • Sun, Y., Li, P., Qiao, Y., Li, Y., (2014), Time-dependent gas-liquid interaction in molecular-sized nanopores, Scientific Reports, 4: 6547.
  • Sun, Y., Lu, W., Li, Y., (2014), A defiltration control method of pressurized liquid in zeolite ZSM-5 by silanol introduction, Applied Physics Letters, 105: 121609.
  • Liu, B., Sun, Y., Li, Y., Wang, Y., Ge, D., Xu, J., (2012), Systematic experimental study on mechanical behaviour of PVB (polyvinyl butyral) material under various loading conditions, Polymer Engineering & Science, 52: 1137-1147.
  • Xu., J., Sun, Y., Liu, B., Zhu, M., Yao, X., Yan, Y., Li, Y., Chen, X., (2011), Experimental and macroscopic investigation of dynamic crack patterns in PVB laminated glass sheets subject to light-weight impact, Engineering Failure Analysis, 18: 1605-1612.

View all publications in research portal