Background and activities


Research group: NTNU Nanomechanical Lab

Research areas: Nanomechanics, material mechanics, multiscale simulations, anti-icing, Icephobicicity, Hydrophobicity, Hydrogen Embrittlement


Zhiliang Zhang graduated with a BSc and MSc degree, both in structural engineering, from Tongji University, Shanghai, China in 1985 and 1988, respectively. He received his PhD degree from Lappeenranta University of Technology, Finland in 1994. Before being appointed as a full Professor in Mechanics and Materials at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in 2003, Zhang had worked at SINTEF Materials Technology, Trondheim, for 9 years, and played a central role in building up the competence of the Fracture Mechanics group to an international level. He was a visiting young scientist (1998) at GKSS Research Centre, Germany and a visiting scientist (2000-2001) at Harvard University, USA. He was a visiting professor at Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT) (2005) and Changjinag visiting professor at Beijing University of Science and Technology (former Beijing Institute of Steel and Iron) (2008-2011).  Since 2009 Professor Zhang has been a member of the Norwegian Academy of Technological Sciences (NTVA). He was a fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and a visiting professor at Kyoto University in 2011. He was a member of the executive committee of European Structural Integrity Society (2010-2022). He has just finished his sabbatical at California Institute of Technology (2017-2018).

Professor Zhang was the founder of NTNU Nanomechanical Lab, which was officially opened on the 29th of August 2006 by the former NTNU Rector Torbjørn Digerns. He was the chairman of the 20th European Conference on Fracture (ECF20) which was successfully held at Trondheim from 30 June to 4 July 2014 with about 600 participants from all over the world.

Since 2004 Professor Zhang has educated 15 PhD students, 7 post-doctoral candidates, co-supervised 5 PhD students, and about 40 master students. He is currently supervising/co-supervising 14 PhD students, working on diverse aspects of engineering materials and nanotechnology by using combined experimental and multi-scale computational simulation approaches.

Professor Zhang holds close contacts with the industry. During the last 13 years he has been the project leader at NTNU for 13 projects funded externally with a total budget more than 94 million NOK. His work on the complete Gurson model, crack tip constraints J-Q-M formulations and many new mechanical testing methods have been widely referred in the literature, and his UMAT code of the complete Gurson model to ABAQUS has been distributed all over the world. His recent research highlights include the design and fabrication of anti-icing surfaces with ice adhesion strength down to 1 kPa, which is probably the lowest in the world for surfaces without using oils abd additives.

He has authored and co-authored about 210 scientific papers (130 journal papers and 80 conference papers) with the latest ones published in top international journals such as Nature Communications, Materials Horizons, Nano LettersSMALLJournal of the American Chemical Society (JACS)Applied Physics LettersJournal of Mechanics and Physics of Solids (JMPS)Polymer and Acta Materialia.


Project and master student topics:

Data-driven computational mechanics
Machine learning based additive manufacturing (3D printing)
Machine learning based material design
Anti-icing technology and ice adhesion mitigation
Metal coated polymer particles for novel applications

Super-Dewetting Surfaces
Super-Low Ice Adhesion Surfaces
Other timely and updated topics can be found here. 

Ongoing Research Projects

Title: Multiscale Hydrogen Embrittlement Assessment for Subsea Conditions (M-HEAT)
Duration: 2019-2022
Funding: Norwegian Research Council the PRTROMAKS II program & Industrial pertners

Title: Safe Pipelines for Hydrogen Transport - HyLINE 
Duration: 2019-2022
Funding: Norwegian Research Council the ENERGIX program & Industrial pertners

Title: Durable Arctic Icephobic materials
Duration: 2016-2020
Funding: Norwegian Research Council the PRTROMAKS II program

Duration: 2014-2018
Funding: 17 mkr from the Norwegian Research Council
Duration: 2016-2020
Funding: 9 mkr from the Norwegian Research Council FRINATEK program
Title: Nanotechnology for anti-icing application 
Duration: 2013-2016
Funding: Statoil AS
Title: Integrity of Nickel Alloys in Subsea Applications (INASA)
Duration: 2014-2017
Funding: Aker solution and NTNU
Duration: 2014-2018
Funding: from the Norwegian Research Council, Det norske oljeselskap ASA and Wintershall Holding GmbH
Title: Nano-enabled sustainable cement sheath behind casings (led by Prof. Pål Skalle)
Duration: 2013-2017
Funding: from the Norwegian Research Council
Title: Arctic Materials – Effect of residual stresses
Duration: 2013-2017
Funding: from the Norwegian Research Council and the industry


Scientific, academic and artistic work

A selection of recent journal publications, artistic productions, books, including book and report excerpts. See all publications in the database