top of page
Books On Shelf


We publish in a range of peer-reviewed journals. We are committed to sharing knowledge to maximise values across academia, industry, and the public, and making all as open as possible, but if you cannot get hold of anything please feel free to get in touch.​

Mechanical energy absorption of metal–organic frameworks

The absorption of mechanical energy is becoming a promising application of MOF materials, which is important to the protection from damages and injuries associated with mechanical impact, vibration, or explosion. MOFs can absorb energy through solid–liquid interaction in nanopores or framework deformation under mechanical pressure. Energy absorption through these mechanisms can be amplified by the high surface area and porosity of MOFs and achieve a higher energy density than conventional energy absorption materials. For example, the pressurised intrusion of a non-wetting liquid into MOF nanopores can absorb impact energy by generating a large solid–liquid interface, and the structural transition or plastic deformation of MOFs can also be exploited for energy absorption under extreme conditions. This chapter provides an overview of these energy absorption mechanisms and the performance of different materials, connecting the fundamental science of MOF mechanics to practical engineering solutions.

High rate nanofluidic energy absorption in porous zeolitic frameworks

Optimal mechanical impact absorbers are reusable and exhibit high specific energy absorption. The forced intrusion of liquid water in hydrophobic nanoporous materials, such as zeolitic imidazolate frameworks (ZIFs), presents an attractive pathway to engineer such systems. However, to harness their full potential, it is crucial to understand the underlying water intrusion and extrusion mechanisms under realistic, high-rate deformation conditions. Here, we report a critical increase of the energy absorption capacity of confined water-ZIF systems at elevated strain rates. Starting from ZIF-8 as proof-of-concept, we demonstrate that this attractive rate dependence is generally applicable to cage-type ZIFs but disappears for channel-containing zeolites. Molecular simulations reveal that this phenomenon originates from the intrinsic nanosecond timescale needed for critical-sized water clusters to nucleate inside the nanocages, expediting water transport through the framework. Harnessing this fundamental understanding, design rules are formulated to construct effective, tailorable and reusable impact energy absorbers for challenging new applications.

Press ReleaseFront CoverMedia coverage (>50): IOM3, Chemistry World, Physics World, The Science Times, AZO Materials,, etc.

A candidate of mechanical energy mitigation system: Dynamic and quasi-static behaviors and mechanisms of zeolite β/water system

The water intrusion of zeolite β is tested under quasi-static and dynamic conditions to investigate its potential as an impact protection system. Its energy absorption and the influence of zeolite pretreatment, sodium chloride concentration in water, and solid-liquid mass ratio are examined. Quasi-static results show that a higher amount of zeolite with a heating temperature within 1000 °C is preferable, while the influence of sodium chloride is complicated. Drop weight tests are carried out which demonstrated the cushioning effect of the material at low-speed impact, with the peak force decreased by 42.82% and the duration time increased by 79.16%, in comparison to pure water.

Energy absorption mechanism of polyvinyl butyral laminated windshield subjected to head impact: Experiment and numerical simulations

Experiments and finite element simulations are conducted to investigate the energy absorption of Polyvinyl butyral (PVB) laminated windshield glass under the impact of a head form. Experiments were carried out at different impact speeds and angles; a finite element model was set up to simulate the impact process and validated by experiments. The influences of the PVB interlayer including its thickness, Young's modulus, and yield stress on the reaction force and head injury criterion (HIC) are examined, including the significant role of PVB interlayer in the energy absorption of the windshield, which can be designed for an improved windshield safety for pedestrians.

​Publication List

Book Chapters


Journal Papers

Conference Papers

  • Xiao, H., Jiang, H., Yin, H. and Sun, Y., 2022. Nanofluidic Attenuation of Metal-Organic Frameworks. InterNoise, Glasgow, U.K.

  • C. Xu, T. Xu, Y. Sun, Y. Yuan, B. Liu, Y. Li. Experimental study of PVB/SGP laminated glass plate subjected to headform impact. International Conference of Automotive Safety Technology, Shanghai, China, 2016. (in Chinese)

  • Y. Sun, J. Xu, C. Zhao, P. Li, Y. Li. Exploring a new candidate of energy absorber: thin-walled tube structures filled with nanoporous material functionalized liquid. International Research Council on Biomechanics of Injury (IRCOBI) Conference, Berlin, Germany, 2014. Paper No. IRC-14-66.

  • Y. Wang, B. Liu, Y. Sun, J. Xu, Y. Li. Simulation of cyclist injury in vehicle to electric-bicycle accident based on PC-Crash. International Forum of Automotive Traffic Safety, Changsha, China, 2011.

  • J. Xu, M. Zhu, B. Liu, Y. Sun, Y. Li. Head protection characteristics of windshield during pedestrian-vehicle accident. SAE World Congress, Detroit, US, 2011. Paper No.2011-01-0582.

  • B. Liu, M. Zhu, Y. Sun, J. Xu, D. Ge, Y. Li. Quasi-static experimental study on the constitutive behavior of automotive windshield interlayer. International Conference on Composites/Nano Engineering, Shanghai, China, 2011.

  • Y. Sun, M. Zhu, B. Liu, J. Xu, X. Yao, Y. Li. Experimental study of dynamic cracking of PVB laminated glass by high-speed photography. International Conference on Composites/Nano Engineering, Alaska, US, 2010.

bottom of page