Dr David Fengwei Xie's research focuses


Led by Dr David Fengwei Xie in Newcastle University’s School of Engineering, the group conducts cutting-edge research underpinned by polymer science to tackle issues related to sustainability, health, and food. We have a strong focus on biopolymers (polysaccharides and proteins), which can be readily sourced from renewable biomass, to develop materials and composites with advantageous performance and appropriate end-of-life considerations. We also investigate the functional properties of biopolymers for food applications, from texture and health effects to preservation and packaging. The three pillars of our research are: a) fundamental polymer/food science, b) advanced polymer engineering, and c) smart materials design. Our capabilities to realise desired food/material microstructures and establish the structure-property relationship of polymers enables us to effectively address application-related challenges.

Current research

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

Opening opportunities to join the group

  • MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowships 2023 is open. This fellowship is for applicants who have less than eight years post-PhD. Early-career researchers interested in conducting research in the Xie Group under this fellowship are welcome to be in touch. (Closes: 13/09/2023)
  • Self-funded PhD students are welcome. Read more and apply here.

Research interests

We have well-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, xanthan gum) and proteins (e.g. collagen, gelatin, silk fibroin)
  • Other compostable/degradable polymers (e.g. PVA, PLA, PHA, PCL, PBSA, PBS, PBAT)
  • Polyurethanes
  • Dissolution, modification, processing and characterisation of biopolymers
  • Polymer processing: 3D printings, electrospinning, casting, moulding, extrusion
  • Different material forms: films, coatings, hydrogels, aerogels, fibres, particles
  • Characterisation of material structure and properties: thermal, rheological, mechanical, microscopy, spectroscopy, etc.
  • Rheology and printability of liquids, pastes and melts
  • Polymer composites
  • Functional polymer materials (e.g. antimicrobial, electroconductive, stimuli-responsiveness, controlled release, pollutants absorption)
  • Food materials: texture and health effects
  • Edible films and packaging
  • Sustainable, compostable/biodegradable and disposable materials
  • Biopolymer materials for pharmaceutical and biomedical applications (e.g. wound dressing, tissue scaffolding, drug release)

Our robust research capabilities enable us to team up with the industry, advancing technological breakthroughs and promoting sustainable practices in the circular economy. If you wish to partner with us for collaboration or provide financial support for our research projects to address your technical hurdles and product enhancements, kindly contact us.