Basic Information


School of Aerospace Engineering

State Key Laboratory for Strength and Vibration of Mechanical Structures

Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an

The People’s Republic of China 

postal code : 710049


Office: 2-4108,

iHarbour, Xi'an Jiaotong University

Tel (Fax): 029-88969527


Research Interest

Mechanics of Grannular Matter

Contact Mechancis

Machine Learning

Smart Sensing and Actuating 


Research Experience


Professor, School of Aerospace, Xi’an Jiaotong University, China.


Associate Professor, School of Aerospace, Xi’an Jiaotong University, China.


HEMI Postdoc Fellow, Johns Hopkins University, United States.



02/2014-03/2018    Ph.D., The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.

09/2010-03/2013    M.S., Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an, China.

09/2006-06/2010    B.S., Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an, China.



4. Hurley, R. C.*, Pagan, D. C., Herbold, E. B., & Zhai, C. (2023). Examining the micromechanics of cementitious composites using In-Situ X-ray measurements. International Journal of Solids and Structures267, 112162.

3. Zhai, C., Zhang, S., Ji, H., Wei, D., Song, H., Liu, K.*, & Xu, M.* (2023). Flexoelectricity at fractal rough surfaces. Extreme Mechanics Letters, 101997.

2. Gu, H., Ji, H., Zhang, S., Zhai, C.*, & Xu, M.* (2023). Displacement sensing with quasi-zero stiffness structure and flexoelectricity. Smart Materials and Structures, 32(3), 035024.

1. Kuwik, B. S., Kim, G., Zhai, C., Daud, M., & Hurley, R. C. (2023). Roughness and humidity effects on contact, friction, and contact plasticity revealed by micromechanical testing and analysis. Tribology International178, 108075.



5. Liu, Q., Wei, D., Zhang, H., Zhai, C., & Gan, Y.* (2022). A Numerical Investigation on Effective Diffusion in Cement-Based Composites: The Role of Aggregate Shape. Transport in Porous Media, 143(3), 681-702.

4. Shao, Y., Shao, S., Zhai, C., Song, S., Han, W., Xu, M.*, & Ren, B. (2022). Development of a frequency-controlled inertial type piezoelectric locomotion method with nano-scale motion resolution driven by a symmetrical waveform. Mechanical Systems and Signal Processing, 177, 109271.

3. Hurle, R. C. *, Zhai, C. *  (2022). Measuring Time-Resolved Force Chain Evolution in 3D Granular Materials. Papers in Physics.

2. Zhai, C., Albayrak, N., Engqvist, J., Hall, S. A., Wright, J., Majkut, M., ... & Hurley, R. C. * (2022). Quantifying local rearrangements in three-dimensional granular materials: Rearrangement measures, correlations, and relationship to stresses. Physical Review E, 105(1), 014904.

1. Zhang, S., Zhai, C., Liu, K., Song, S., Ji, H., Shao, S. *, & Xu, M. *  (2022). Quantitative evaluation of energy harvesting capabilities on flexoelectric and piezoelectric materials. Journal of Applied Physics, 131(6), 064101.



3. Sharifahmadian, O., Zhai, C., Hung, J., Shineh, G., Stewart, C., Fadzil, A., Ionescu, M., Gan, Y., Wise, S., & Akhavan, B.* (2021). Mechanically robust nitrogen-rich plasma polymers: Biofunctional interfaces for surface engineering of biomedical implants. Materials Today Advances

2. Gupta, A., Crum, R. S., Zhai, C., Ramesh, K. T., & Hurley, R. C.* (2021). Quantifying particle-scale 3D granular dynamics during rapid compaction from time-resolved in situ 2D x-ray images. Journal of Applied Physics129(22), 225902.

1. Wang, X., Zhai, C., & Gan, Y.* (2021). Stress-dependent electrical impedance behaviours at fractal rough interfaces. Surface Topography: Metrology and Properties9(2), 025014.



3.  Zhai, C., Herbold, E., & Hurley, R.* (2020), ‘The influence of packing structure and interparticle forces on ultrasound transmission in granular media’, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

2.  Zhai, C.,Darren. D. Pagan, & Hurley, R.* (2020). In-situ 3DXRD and tomography measuremnts of cemented granular materials. The Journal of The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society.

1.  Wei, D., Zhai, C., Hanaor, D., & Gan, Y.* (2020), ‘Contact Behaviour of Simulated Rough Spheres Generated with Spherical Harmonics’, International Journal of Solids and Structures



3.  Zhai, C., Herbold, E., Hall, S., & Hurley, R.* (2019). Particle rotations and energy dissipation during mechanical compression of granular materials. Journal of Mechancis and Physics of Solids 129,19-38.

2.  Akhavan, B.*, Croes, M., Wise, S., Zhai, C., Hung, J., Stewart, C., Ionescu, M., Weinans, H., Gan, Y., Yavari, S., & Bilek, M. (2019). Radical-functionalized plasma polymers: Stable biomimetic interfaces for bone implant applications. Applied Materials Today.

1.  Zhang, F., Xu, M.*, Xie, S., & Zhai, C. (2019). Numerical simulation and experimental tests on active vibration control of two-dimensional pointing mechanism with adaptive hybrid system. International Journal of Applied Electromagnetics and Mechanics.



3.  Zhai, C., Gan, Y.* (2018). Electrical percolation in conductive granular media. Journal of Coupled Systems and Multiscale Dynamics 6 (4), 310-316.

2.  Flores-Johnson, E. A., Carrillo, J. G., Zhai, C., Gamboa, R. A., Gan, Y., & Shen, L.* (2018). Microstructure and mechanical properties of hard Acrocomia mexicana fruit shell. Scientific reports 8(1), 9668.

1.  Zhai, C.*, Gan, Y., Hanaor, D., & Proust, G. (2018). Stress-dependent electrical transport and its universal scaling in granular materials. Extreme Mechanics Letters 22, 83-88.     



6.  Zhai, C., Hanaor, D., & Gan, Y.* (2017). Universality of the emergent scaling in finite random binary percolation networks. PLOS One 12 (2).  

5.  Zhai, C., Hanaor, D., Proust, G., & Gan, Y.* (2017). Contact stiffness of multiscale surfaces by truncation analysis. International Journal of Mechanical Sciences.

4.  Zhai, C., Gan, Y.*, Hanaor, D., Proust, G., & Retraint, D. (2016). The role of surface structure in normal contact stiffness. Experimental Mechanics 56 (3), 359-368.

3.  Zhai, C., Hanaor, D., Proust, G., Brassart, L., & Gan, Y.* (2016). Interfacial electro-mechanical behaviour at rough surfaces. Extreme Mechanics Letters 9, 422-429.

2.  Zhai, C., Gan, Y.*, & Hanaor, D. (2016). ‘Numerical Analysis of Normal Contact Stiffness of Rough Surfaces’, Applied Mechanics and Materials, vol. 846, pp. 300–305.

1.   Zhai, C., Hanaor, D., Proust, G., & Gan, Y.* (2015). Stress-dependent electrical contact resistance at fractal rough surfaces. Journal of Engineering Mechanics 143(3).