Dr Mingchao Liu

Dr Mingchao Liu

Department of Mechanical Engineering
Assistant Professor

Contact details

School of Engineering
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Mingchao Liu is an Assistant Professor at the University of Birmingham in the UK. His research mainly focuses on the mechanics of slender structures and its application for the design of shape-morphing structures and modelling of soft robotics.


  • PhD in Engineering (Sept. 2013 – July 2018), Department of Engineering Mechanics, Tsinghua University
  • Visiting PhD Student (Jan. – July 2015) and Endeavour Research Fellow (June – Dec. 2017), School of Civil Engineering, The University of Sydney
  • Bachelor of Engineering (Sept. 2009 – July 2013), Department of Engineering Mechanics, Shandong University


Dr Mingchao Liu is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Birmingham in the UK. Before moving to Birmingham, he was a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore from 2021 to 2023, and a Newton International Fellow at the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford, sponsored by the Royal Society from 2018 to 2021. He received his Ph.D. in Solid Mechanics from Tsinghua University in 2018, and B.Eng. in Engineering Mechanics from Shandong University in 2013. He was also an Endeavor Research Fellow at the University of Sydney in 2017. His current research is mainly focused on the mechanics of slender structures, especially the elastic instabilities, and their applications in the design of shape-morphing structures and mechanical metamaterials, as well as the modelling of soft robots.


Research interests

Solid mechanics; Elastic stability; Morphing structures; Metamaterials; Soft robotics.



  1. Qin, L., Peng, H., Huang, X., Liu, M.*, Huang, W.* (2023). Modeling and simulation of dynamics in soft robotics: A review of numerical approaches. Current Robotics Reports, Accepted.


  1. Kansaraa, H., Liu, M.*, He, Y., Tan, W.* (2023). Inverse design and additive manufacturing of shape-morphing structures based on functionally graded composites. J Mech. Phys. Solids, 105382.
  2. Huang, W., Zhang, Y., Yu, T.*, Liu, M.* (2023). Bifurcations and stability analysis of elastic slender structures using static discrete elastic rods method. J Appl. Mech., 90(9): 094501.
  3. Meng, Z., Yan, H., Liu, M., Qin, W., Genin, G.M., Chen, C.* (2023). Encoding and storage of information in mechanical metamaterials. Adv. Sci., 2301581. (Highlighted in Advanced Science News.)
  4. Huang, W., Liu, M.*, Hsia, J.K.* (2023). A discrete model for the geometrically nonlinear mechanics of hard-magnetic slender structures. Extre. Mech. Lett., 59, 101977.
  5. Huang, W., Liu, M.*, Hsia, J.K.* (2023). Modeling of magnetic cilia carpet robots using discrete differential geometry formulation. Extre. Mech. Lett., 59, 101967.
  6. Wang, Y.†, Wang, Q.†, Liu, M., Qin, Y., Cheng, L., Bolmin, O., Alleyne, M., Wissa, A., Baughman, R.H., Vella, D., Tawfick, S.* (2023). Insect-scale jumping robots enabled by a dynamic buckling cascade. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 120(5), e2210651120.
  7. Liu, M., Domino, L., Dupont de Dinechin, I., Taffetani, M., Vella, D.* (2023). Snap-induced morphing: From a single bistable shell to the origin of shape bifurcation in interacting shells. J Mech. Phys. Solids, 70, 105116.


  1. Mao, J.*, Wang, S., Tan, W.*, Liu, M.* (2022). Modular multistable metamaterials with reprogrammable mechanical properties. Eng. Struct., 272, 114976.
  2. Ma, C., Zhang, Y., Jiao, S.*, & Liu, M.* (2022). Snap-through of graphene nanowrinkles under out-of-plane compression. Nanotechnology, 34(1), 015705.
  3. Zhang, Y., Yang, J., Liu, M.*, Vella, D. (2022). Shape-morphing structures based on perforated kirigami. Extre. Mech. Lett., 56, 101857.
  4. Meng, Z., Liu, M., Yan, H., Genin, G.M., Chen, C.* (2022). Deployable mechanical metamaterials with multistep programmable transformation. Sci. Adv., 8(23), eabn5460.


  1. Liu, M., Gomez, M., Vella, D.* (2021). Delayed bifurcation in elastic snap-through instabilities. J Mech. Phys. Solids, 151, 104386.
  2. Jiao, S., Liu, M.* (2021). Snap-through in graphene nanochannel: With application to fluidic control. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 13 (1), 1158–1168.
  3. Wang, Q., Liu, M., Wang, Z., Chen, C., Wu, J.* (2021). Large deformation and instability of soft hollow cylinder with surface effects. J Appl. Mech., 4(88), 041010.


  1. Liu, M., Domino, L., Vella, D.* (2020). Tapered elasticæ as a route for axisymmetric morphing structures. Soft Matter, 16, 7739–7750.
  2. Meng, Z., Liu, M., Zhang, Y., Chen, C.* (2020). Multi-step deformation mechanical metamaterials. J Mech. Phys. Solids, 144, 104095.
  3. Meng, W., Liu, M., Gan, Y., Pauchard, L., Chen, C.* (2020). Cracking to curling transition in drying colloidal films. Eur. Phys. J E, 43(10), 1–9.
  4. Suo, S., Liu, M., Gan, Y.* (2020). Fingering patterns in hierarchical porous media. Phys. Rev. Fluids, 5 (3), 034301.
  5. Suo, S., Liu, M., Gan, Y.* (2020). An LBM-PNM framework for immiscible flow: With applications to droplet spreading on porous surfaces. Chem. Eng. Sci., 218, 115577.
  6. Mohammad, N., Meng, W., Zhang, Y., Liu, M., El-Zein, A., Gan, Y.* (2020). Desiccation crack formation and prevention in thin bentonite layers. Environ. Geotech., 40, 1-15.


  1. Liu, M., Wu, J., Gan, Y.*, Hanaor, D., Chen, C.* (2019). Multiscale modeling of the effective elastic properties of fluid-filled porous materials. Int. J Solids Struct., 162, 36–44.
  2. Liu, M., Suo, S., Wu, J., Gan, Y., Hanaor, D., Chen, C.* (2019). Tailoring porous media for controllable capillary flow. J Colloid Interf. Sci., 539, 379–387.
  3. Cui, G., Liu, M., Dai, W., Gan, Y.* (2019). Pore-scale modelling of gravity-driven drainage in disordered porous media. Int. J Multiphase Flow, 114, 19–27.
  4. Suo, S., Liu, M., Gan, Y.* (2019). Modelling imbibition processes in heterogeneous porous media. Transp. Porous Media, 126, 615–631.

2018 and earlier

  1. Liu, M., Wu, J., Gan, Y., Hanaor, D., Chen, C.* (2018). Tuning capillary penetration in porous media: Combining geometrical and evaporation effects. Int. J Heat Mass Transf., 123, 239–250.
  2. Li, S., Liu, M., Hanaor, D., Gan, Y.* (2018). Dynamics of viscous entrapped saturated zones in partially wetted porous media. Transp. Porous Media, 125, 193–210.
  3. Shi, Z., Zhang, Y., Liu, M., Hanaor, D., Gan, Y.* (2018). Dynamic contact angle hysteresis in liquid bridges. Colloid Surf. A-Physicochem. Eng. Asp., 555, 365–371.
  4. Liu, M., Zhang, Y., Wu, J., Gan, Y., Chen, C.* (2016). Analytical solutions for elastic response of coated mesoporous materials to pore pressure. Int. J Eng. Sci., 107, 68–76.
  5. Liu, M., Wu, J., Gan, Y., Chen, C.* (2016). The pore-load modulus of ordered nanoporous materials with surface effects. AIP Adv., 6(3), 035324.
  6. Liu, M., Wu, J., Gan, Y., Hanaor, D., Chen, C.* (2016). Evaporation limited radial capillary penetration in porous media. Langmuir, 32(38), 9899–9904.
  7. Liu, M., Jin, P., Xu, Z., Hanaor, D., Gan, Y., Chen, C.* (2016). Two-dimensional modeling of the self-limiting oxidation in silicon and tungsten nanowires. Theore. Appl. Mech. Lett., 6(5), 195–199.
  8. Liu, M., Gan, Y.*, Hanaor, D., Liu, B., Chen, C.* (2015). An improved semi-analytical solution for stress at round-tip notches. Eng. Fract. Mech., 149, 134–143.
  9. Liu, M., Chen, C.* (2015). A micromechanical analysis of the fracture properties of saturated porous media. Int. J Solids Struct., 63, 32–38.
  10. Wang, B.*, Liu, M., Zhao, J., Zhou, S. (2014). A size-dependent Reddy–Levinson beam model based on a strain gradient elasticity theory. Meccanica, 49(6), 1427–1441.

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