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Photo of Prof Meiling Zhu

Prof Meiling Zhu

Chair in Mechanical Engineering


Telephone: 01392 725869

Extension: (Streatham) 5869

I am Professor and Chair of Mechanical Engineering, Founder and Head of the Energy Harvesting Research Group, studying energy harvesting, power management, wireless sensing, and integration and characterisation with a particular focus on energy harvesting powered wireless sensor system technologies at the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences at the University of Exeter. I am also Founder of Encortec Limited company, won a commendation in innovation of 2021 Tech South West Award, and developing a fully “fit and forget” energy harvesting powered wireless sensor technology, products and data service for applications such as rail track and industrial plant condition monitoring thus enabling truly predictive and preventative maintenance routines.   I am mechanical engineering by my early qualification but with my career progress, my research is multi-disciplinary, encompassing materials, physics, mechanical, electrical and electronic sciences and engineering, and information and communication technology.

I received my BEng in Mechanical Manufacturing in 1989, MEng in Applied Mechanics in 1992 and PhD in Mechanical Dynamics in 1994 at Southeast University, Nanjing, China. I joined the University of Exeter as Chair of Mechanical Engineering and Head of Energy Harvesting Research Group in 2013. Prior to joining Exeter, I was a Senior Lecturer in Energy Harvesting (2012-13), a Senior Research Fellow (2007-12), a Research Officer (2002-06) at the Department of Manufacturing and Materials of Cranfield University; a Research Fellow at the Biomechanical Research Group of the University of Leeds (2001-2); an awarded a prestigious Research Fellowship of the Alexander von Humboldt at the Institut B für Mechanik of Stuttgart Universität (1999-2001); a Visiting Scholar at the Department of Mechanical Engineering of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (1998-9); and an Associate Professor (1996-8) and a Post doctor (1995-6) at the Institute of Vibration Engineering Research of the Nanjing University of Aeronautics & Astronautics.

Over the last 10+ years, I have led the Energy Harvesting Research Group with a number of research grants from EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council), EU-FP7 programmes, DSTL (Defence Science and Technology Laboratory), IMRC (Cranfield Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre funded by EPSRC), IVHM (Cranfield Integrated Vehicle Health Management Centre) and industries. I have been awarded a total of around £5.0 million research funding as PI and £6.7 million as co-I for a number of research projects in the areas of my interests. Currently, I am the PI of £1.4M Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) funded project of "zero power, wide area rail track monitoring", collaborating with Network Rail,  and the Royal Society funded Industry Fellow with a project of  "high performance energy harvesting sensor systems", collaborating with Babcock International Group.  These two technology demonstrators are featured in two articles “Transforming Vibration into Usable Electricity to Continuously Power the Industrial Internet of Things”  and “Energy Harvesting Powered Rail Track Sensor Technology is Becoming a Reality”, all in IMECHE Professional Engineering Magzine, 2021.

I am elected Fellow of Institute of Mechanical Engineering (FIMechE) and Fellow of Institute of Physics (FInstP), awarded Royal Society Industry Fellow (FRSInd) and Alexander von Humboldt Fellow, and  Member of the Institute of Physics (MInstP) and Chartered Engineer (CEng).

I enjoy supporting early career researchers into sciences and engineering. I have supervised undergraduate and postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers. I teach three modules of Materials and Manufacturing  for year-one students, Structural Dynamics  for year-three students and Mechatronics for year-four students  at the University of Exeter. I welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in Master by Research and PhD study on energy harvesting, power management and wireless sensing system for applications.