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Dr David Fengwei Xie - Sustainable materials scientist

word cloud DFXie


As a materials scientist, Dr Fengwei Xie is highly interested in creating advanced materials with superior properties and appealing functions that can not only improve our quality of life but also contribute to sustainability and the circular economy. Regarding this, he is passionate about innovative, cost-effective processes that would be able to achieve novel, sophisticated material structures to realise the potential of naturally-derived polymers. He sees molecular design, chemical modification, and materials hybridisation as key enablers for future materials. His research focuses on exploring the mechanisms behind the relationship between processing, structure and properties of materials particularly based on “green” polymers. At Warwick, he has been working on innovative manufacturing technologies to create next-generation sustainable nanocomposite materials for high-value (e.g. biomedical) and high-volume (e.g. automotive) applications.

Research Interests

  • Fundamental materials science
    • Chemical and physical modification
    • Molecular interactions
    • Multilevel structures
    • Structure-property relationships
  • Advanced polymer engineering
    • Processing-induced structural evolution
    • Innovative manufacturing
    • Reactive processing
    • ‘Green’ processes
  • Competitive sustainable materials
    • Enhancement and tailoring of properties through materials hybridisation
    • Biodegradable polymers for biomedical and sustainability applications
    • Bioinspiration for extraordinarily improved properties
    • Biopolymer-derived functional materials


  • Graduate Certificate in Higher Education (GCHEd), 2014, The University of Queensland, Australia [ARWU]
  • PhD in Polysaccharide Engineering, 2009, South China University of Technology, China [ARWU]
  • BE in Biological Engineering, 2004, South China University of Technology, China [ARWU]

Research experiences

  • University of Warwick, UK [ARWU]: Marie Skłodowska-Curie WIRL-COFUND Fellow, 10/2017–12/2018; Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellow, 01/2019–
  • California Institute of Technology, USA [ARWU]: Visiting Fellow, 04/2018–06/2018
  • The University of Queensland, Australia [Australia’s Group of Eight, ARWU]: UQ Postdoctoral Research Fellow (prestigious UQ Postdoctoral Research Fellowship), 02/2009–02/2012; Postdoctoral Research Fellow, 02/2012–12/2013; Research Fellow, 01/2014–08/2017; Honorary Research Fellow, 09/2017–Present
  • Université de Strasbourg, France [ARWU]: Visiting Postdoctoral Research Fellow, 09/2010–09/2010 & 09/2011–10/2011
  • University of Guelph, Canada [ARWU]: Post Doctoral Fellow, 08/2008–12/2008


Selected publications

Meng, L., Xie, F.*, Zhang, B., Wang, D. K., & Yu, L. (2019). Natural Biopolymer Alloys with Superior Mechanical Properties. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 7(2), 2792-2802.

2019 ACSSCE LHMeng

Chen, J., Xie, F.*, Li, X., & Chen, L. (2018). Ionic liquids for preparation of biopolymer materials for drug/gene delivery: A review. Green Chemistry, 20(18), 4169-4200.

Green Chemistry 2018 Review - Biopolymers/Ionic liquids for drug delivery

Zhang, B., Xie, F.*, Shamshina, J. L., Rogers, R. D., McNally, T., Wang, D. K., Halley, P. J., Truss, R. W., Zhao, S., & Chen, L, (2017). Facile preparation of starch-based electroconductive films with ionic liquid. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 5(6), 5457-5467.

starch-IL facile preparation

Zhang, B., Xie, F.*, Shamshina, J. L., Rogers, R. D., McNally, T., Halley, P. J., Truss, R. W., Chen, L, & Zhao, S. (2017). Dissolution of starch with aqueous ionic liquid under ambient conditions. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 5(5), 3737-3741.

RT dissolution of starch with IL

Xiao, X., Yu, L., Xie, F.*, Bao, X., Liu, H., Ji, Z., & Chen, L. (2017). One-step method to prepare starch-based superabsorbent polymer for slow release of fertilizer. Chemical Engineering Journal, 309, 607-616.

Tan, X., Li, X., Chen, L., & Xie. F.* (2016). Solubility of starch and microcrystalline cellulose in 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate ionic liquid and solution rheological properties. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 18(39), 27584-27593.

starch and cellulose rheology in IL

Zhang, B., Chen, L., Xie, F.*, Li, X., Truss, R. W., Halley, P. J., Shamshina, J. L., Rogers, R. D., & McNally, T. (2015). Understanding the structural disorganization of starch in water–ionic liquid solutions. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 17(21), 13860-13871.

starch IL synchrotron

Xie, D. F.*, Martino, V. P., Sangwan, P., Way, C., Pollet, E., Dean. K. M., Halley, P. J., & Avérous, L. (2013). Elaboration and properties of plasticised chitosan-based exfoliated nano-biocomposites. Polymer, 54(14), 3654-3662.

Xie, F., Pollet, E., Halley, P. J., & Avérous, L. (2013). Starch-based nano-biocomposites. Progress in Polymer Science, 38(10-11), 1590-1628.

Xie, F.*, Halley, P. J., & Avérous, L. (2012). Rheology to understand and optimize processibility, structures and properties of starch polymeric materials. Progress in Polymer Science, 37(4), 595-623.

Liu, H., Xie, F., Yu, L., Chen, L., & Li, L. (2009). Thermal processing of starch-based polymers. Progress in Polymer Science, 34(12), 1348-1368.

Professional associations and activities