Professor Qingping Sun received his PhD degree in Solid Mechanics at the Tsinghua University in 1989. He started his academic career in Tsinghua University before joining HKUST faculty in 1995. Prof Sun is a well-established scholar with strong academic record in the fields of mechanics, applied physics and materials science. He is internationally renowned for his seminal research contributions in the theory, experiment and modelling of shape memory alloys (SMAs) with solid-solid phase transition and in SMA-based solid-state elastocaloric refrigeration. He has published over 300 research papers in top and leading international journals and conference proceedings. Prof Sun received many national and international research recognitions and awards, including:

  • “State Natural Science Award of China” in 1996
  • “Natural Science Award of Minister of Education” in 1995 and 2009
  • “Distinguished Young Scholars Award” from the Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) in 1998
  • “Citation Classic Award” from the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI, USA) in 2000
  • “Overseas Distinguished Young Scholars Award” from NSFC in 2011

Prof Sun played administrative leadership roles in the University as Director of Centre of Integrated Micro Systems of HKUST, General Director of HKUST Shenzhen Research Institute (2019-2022), and General Director of HKUST Shenzhen-Hong Kong Collaborative Innovation Research Institute (SHCIRI) (2021-2022). He served as the president of Hong Kong Society of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (2008-2010) and served as member of the RGC Engineering Panel. 

In the international community, Prof Sun serves as chairman and member of scientific committee for many international conferences and served editorial boards of five international journals. He also served as the member of the General Assembly of Int. Congress of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (ICTAM) representing Hong Kong. The previous academic positions he held in mainland and oversea universities include:

  • Professor, Dept. of Engng. Mechanics, Tsinghua Univ., Beijing, China (1994-2005)
  • Visiting Professor at LPMM (CNRS) of Univ. Metz, France (1994, 1996, 1998, 2002)
  • Visiting Professor at LMT (CNRS) of Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris, France (2005, 2013, 2015)
  • Visiting Professor at LMS (CNRS) of Ecole Polytechnique, Paris, France (2007)

Teaching Activities

  • MECH2040 Solid Mechanics I
  • MECH5010 Foundation of Solid Mechanics
  • MECH5931 Introduction to Mechanics of Defects in Materials


Research Interests

  • Mechanics and physics of phase transition in solids,
  • Processing-microstructure-property relationships of Shape Memory Alloys (SMAs),
  • Thermomechanical Constitutive behaviour of single and polycrystalline SMAs,
  • Fatigue and fracture of SMAs at micro- and macroscopic scales,
  • Solid-state elastocaloric refrigeration materials and technology

PhD Openings 

We are looking for PhD candidates with strong research interests and academic backgrounds in solid mechanics, material science and technology, energy, cooling technology and heat transfer. There are two potential research topics: 1. Development of advanced nanostructured shape memory alloys (SMA) for elastocaloric cooling and 2. Design and manufacturing of SMA-based elastocaloric cooling structures and devices. Candidates with degrees in material science, solid mechanics, energy and heat transfer, mechanical design and manufacturing and relevant majors are welcome to send your CVs to Prof. Sun.

Research Projects

  • RGC-CRF Project (Project No. C6016-20G-A, PI, The study of the crossover between polycrystalline and amorphous solids by colloidal and metallic systems, 5,804,148 HK$, 2021-2024).
  • Shenzhen-HK Innovative Collaboration Project D (Project No. SGDX2019081623360564, PI and PM, Ultrahigh fatigue life of shape memory alloy refrigerant under cyclic compressive phase transition, 4,057,000 HK$, 2020-2022).
  • RGC-GRF Project (Project No. 16212322, PI & PM, ¾ Enhancing cyclic phase transition stability of superelastic NiTi by controlled plastic deformation (2022-2025).
  • RGC-GRF Project (Project No. 16204422, Co-I, ¾ Development of regenerative elastocaloric cooling systems for enhanced heat transfer and fatigue life (2022-2025).
  • RGC-GRF Project (Project No. 16208420, PI & PM, ¾ NiTi Crystallite-Amorphous Nanolaminate of Superhigh Fatigue Life (2021-2023).
  • RGC-GRF Project (Project No. 16206119, PI & PM, ¾ Ultralow-fatigue NiTi Tubes for Compression-based Elastocaloric Cooling (2019-2022).
  • RGC-GRF Project (Project No. 16215218, PI & PM, ¾ Development of NiTi Elinvar Alloys by Nanostructure Engineering (2019-2021).
  • RGC-GRF Project (Project No. 16209817, PI & PM, ¾ Negative and zero thermal expansion NiTi alloy by microstructure engineering (2018-2020).
  • RGC-GRF Project (Project No. 16239316, PI & PM, ¾ Enhance Fatigue resistance of NiTi alloy by grain size gradient (GSG) structure (2017-2019).
  • RGC-GRF Project (Project No. 16214215, PI & PM, ¾ Effects of grain size on fatigue of superelastic shape memory alloys(2016-2018).
  • RGC/NSFC Joint Research Scheme (N_HKUST617/14, PI & PM ¾ Thermo-mechanical coupling and spatiotemporal effects in phase transition of shape memory materials (2015-2018).
  • RGC-GRF Project (Project No. 16209414, PI & PM, ¾ Nano-Mechanical Interfaces in Phase Transition Behavior of Nanocrystalline Memory Materials (2015-2017).
  • RGC-GRF Project (Project No. 619113, PI & PM, ¾ On spatiotemporal oscillations of thermo-mechanical fields in shape memory material under cyclic phase transitions (2014-2016).
  • RGC-GRF Project (Project No. 619511, PI & PM, ¾ Experimental study of two-dimensional phase transition domain kinetics in tube configuration (2012-2014).
  • RGC-GRF Project (Project No. 620109, PI & PM, ¾ Phase transition behavior of NiTi shape memory alloy polycrystals at intermediate tensile strain rates of 0.1/s-100/s (2010-2012).
  • RGC-GRF Project (Project No. 619808, PI & PM, ¾ On grain size dependence of the stress hysteresis in shape memory alloy polycrystals: Role of material internal length scales (2009-2010).
  • RGC-CERG Project (Project No. 714707, awarded in July 2007, CI ¾ Functionalized multiwalled carbon nanotubes reinforced Sr-HA bioactive bone cement (2007-2009).
  • RGC-CERG Project (Project No. 619806, awarded in July 2006, PI & PM ¾ Modelling and computational study of macroscopic domain evolution in polycrystalline NiTi tubing (2007-2008).
  • RGC-CERG Project (Project No. 621906, awarded in July 2006, CI ¾ Dynamic characterization of high-strength fibers/yarns and NiTi microtubes by using a mini-SHTB system, 725,250 HK$ (2006-2009).
  • RGC-CERG Project (Project No. 619705, awarded in 2005,  PI & PM ¾ Wear behaviour and mechanism of thin film NiTi shape memory alloy at micro-scales: Phase transition versus plasticity (2006-2007).
  • RGC-CERG Project (HKUST 6156/04E, PI & PM ¾ Effects of temperature and texture-induced anisotropy on deformation instability of NiTi shape memory alloy micro-tubes (2005-2007).
  • RGC-CERG Project (HKUST 6199/03E, PI & PM ¾ Wear of Bulk NiTi Shape Memory Alloy on Micro- and Sub-micro Scales: Experimental Study on the Role of Phase Transformation (2003-2005).
  • RGC/NSFC Joint Research Scheme (N-HKUST 601/01, PI & PM – The scale effects on the behavior of materials used in micro/nano systems (2002-2004).
  • RGC-CERG Project (HKUST6245/02E, PI & PM ¾ Experimental study on martensite detwinning in NiTi polycrystalline shape memory alloy microtubes (2002-2005)
  • RGC-CERG Project (HKUST6234/01E, PI & PM ¾ Martensite band nucleation in superelastic NiTi polycrystalline shape memory alloys----experimental study on local vs. non-local effects (2001-2003).
  • RGC-CERG Project (HKUST6074/00E, PI & PM ¾ Experimental study on the deformation and instability of superelastic NiTi shape memory alloy microtubing (2000-2003).
  • RGC-CERG Project (HKUST6038/99E, PI & PM ¾ Fabrication and modelling of thin film shape memory alloy micromechanical resonator (2000-2002).
  • RGC-CERG Project (HKUST6037/98E, PI & PM ¾ Microstructure design of intelligent shape memory alloys composites(1999-2000).
  • RGC-CERG Project (HKUST6027/97E, CI (with Dr. Man Wong (PI) of EE Dept. of HKUST)) ¾ The use of shape memory alloys in micro-electro-mechanical systems (1998-2000).
  • RGC-CERG Project (HKUST716/95E, PI & PM) ¾ Micromechanics Constitutive Study on the Temperature Dependence of Material Instability during Stress Induced Transformation in Ceramics (1996-1998).