Dr David Fengwei Xie's research focuses


Led by Dr David Fengwei Xie in the School of Engineering, Newcastle University, The Group is undertaking frontier research underpinned by polymer science and engineering to tackle challenges in sustainability, health, food, and environmental areas. We have a strong focus on biopolymers (polysaccharides and proteins), which can be readily sourced from renewable biomass, to develop biodegradable and biocompatible ‘green’ materials. We also study the functionality of polysaccharides for food applications. Three pillars of our research are: a) fundamental materials science; b) advanced polymer engineering; and c) smart materials design. We aim to realise unique structures (macro-, nano- and molecular scales) to deliver polymeric materials and composites with high performance and functionality and suitable end-of-life consideration for specific applications.

Current research

  • Polymer (nano)composites
  • Green processes for biopolymers
  • Biopolymer films and coatings
  • Biopolymer hydrogels
  • 3D printing of biopolymer materials
  • Stimuli-responsive and functional biopolymer materials
  • Biopolymer materials for biomedical, electronics, sensing, energy and environmental applications

Opening opportunities to join the group

  • The Royal Society’s Newton International Fellowships scheme is open for non-UK scientists with up to 7 years of postdoctoral experience wishing to conduct research in the UK. This fellowship is for three years. The application requires supporting statements or references from 5 individuals. (Closes: 28/03/2023)
  • Newcastle University invites applications for the prestigious EPSRC Doctoral Prize Fellowship. This Fellowship position is an opportunity for EPSRC-funded PhD students to receive 24 months of additional support following the successful completion of their PhD. Read more and apply here. (Closes: 28/03/2023)
  • Self-funded PhD students are welcome. Read more and apply here.

Research interests

We have fully resourced research equipment and strong expertise in (bio)polymer science and engineering to carry out research and collaborative activities in the different aspects:

  • Biomass utilisation
  • Natural biopolymers including polysaccharides (e.g. cellulose, chitin/chitosan, starch, alginate, pectin, carrageenan, hyaluronic acid, and xanthan gum) and proteins (e.g. collagen, gelatin, silk fibroin, keratin, and soy protein)
  • Dissolution, modification, derivatisation, processing, and characterisation of natural biopolymers
  • Compostable and degradable polymers (e.g. PVA, PLA, PHA, PCL, PBSA, PBS, PBAT)
  • Polymer processing and materials engineering (e.g. 3D printing, electrospinning, casting, moulding, extrusion)
  • Characterisation of material structure and properties such as rheological analysis, thermal characterisation (DSC, TGA, DMTA), mechanical testing, microscopy (SEM, TEM), spectroscopy (FTIR, Raman, XPS), among others
  • Bioplastics and biocomposites
  • Renewable and biodegradable nanomaterials
  • Different material forms: Films, coatings, membranes, hydrogels, aerogel, fibres, and particles
  • Sustainable, compostable/biodegradable, environmentally friendly, and disposable materials
  • Functional polymer materials (e.g. antimicrobial, electroconductive, stimuli-responsiveness, controlled release, pollutants absorption)
  • Food materials (polysaccharides) and health effects
  • Materials for pharmaceutical and biomedical applications (e.g. wound dressing, tissue scaffolding, drug release)