Dr Zhengbiao Peng

Dr Zhengbiao Peng

Research Associate

School of Engineering

Career Summary


Dr Peng was awarded his PhD (Chemical Engineering) in 2009 from Southeast University in China. Upon completion of his PhD, Dr Peng commenced his research career as a full-time academic staff in the School of Engineering at The University of Newcastle. Dr Peng’s main research strength and expertise is in the flow hydrodynamics and thermodynamics in multiphase processes, as applied to fluidised bed reactors, mineral processing, water treatment, greenhouse gases abatement, and biochemical and biomedical systems.

His most significant contributions to the field have been a series of fundamental studies into the physics underlying the processes involving solid particles, liquid droplets, and gas bubbles, especially complex physical/thermal and chemical interactions between the fluid phases and solid particles. His research provides critical insights into the fundamental mechanisms that drive and govern the segregation and intermixing of polydisperse particles in both gas and liquid flow systems (see e.g. AIChE J. 2017, 63: 469; Chemical Engineering Science 2016, 152: 65). His research findings on the self-assembly dynamics of nano-particles and the physics underlying the interaction among these nanosized particles have been widely cited by other researchers (e.g. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2011, Vol. 45, on pages 9284-9285; Environ. Sci.: Nano 2017, Vol. 4, on pages 89 and 96). His extensive research on the formation, transport and phase-change of liquid droplets in another immiscible cold liquid has led to the successful construction of a lab-scale ice slurry generator that showed capabilities of continuously generating ice particles for more than 48 hours with the inlet coolant temperature of -8oC, which was at the forefront of ice slurry technology (Chin. J. Chem. Eng. 2008, 16: 552; Chemical Engineering Science 2009, 64: 1249). In recent years, Dr Peng is undertaking in-depth studies at micro- and meso-scale on the gas-liquid-solid (G-L-S) three-phase flow hydrodynamics in slurry Taylor flow based microreactors (see e.g. Chemical Engineering Journal 2020, 396, 124738; Chemical Engineering Journal 2021, 405, 126646; Chemical Engineering Science 2017, 174: 459) and on ice nucleation and freezing kinetics of droplets (see e.g. Ultrasonics Sonochemistry 2021, 70, 105301).

Dr Peng has successfully programmed the in-house codes of various numerical models for computer modelling of a wide range of engineering processes, including computational fluid dynamics (CFD), discrete element method (DEM), lattice Boltzmann method (LBM), direct numerical simulation (DNS), and the fully coupled versions of these models. He, for the first time, incorporated the classical DLVO theory into DEM for precisely simulating the flow dynamics of nanoparticles (Powder Technology 2010, 204: 91). He has conducted the seminal works to apply the fully coupled CFD-DEM for modelling thermal/reacting particulate systems including the large-scale chemical looping combustion system (Fuel 2018, 224: 388) and ventilation air methane abatement system (Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research 2019, 58: 23389). His work on the dependence of model accuracy and numerical stability on cell void fraction calculation (AIChE J. 2014, 60: 2000) has addressed a critical issue in the community of CFD-DEM modelling. After publication, this work has drawn worldwide attention (cited for over 100 times prior to 2019), e.g. in the paper by the research group of Prof. John Dennis from University of Cambridge this work was acknowledged as "the first detailed analysis on the effect of cell size on model accuracy". Moreover, he has developed the fully coupled LBM-DEM which is statistical in nature and centering on physics at mesoscale. The model has been successfully applied to examine: freezing kinetics of supercooled water (International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 2020, 146, 118839) and detailed interaction between fluid and solid surface (Powder Technology 2020, 361: 1060). Over the last few years, Peng has led the group to develop a world-leading VOF-DEM model to fundamentally understand the complex particle-fluid interface interactions and G-L-S three-phase flow dynamics (Chemical Engineering Journal 2020, 396, 124738; Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research 2020, 59: 7965). In 2020, Dr Peng authored a critical review of the theory underlying heat transfer modelling based on DEM in one of discipline most prestigious journals: Progress in Energy and Combustion Science (Impact factor: 28.94, 2019).

Currently, Dr Peng is chief investigator along with A/Prof. Elham Doroodchi and Prof. Behdad Moghtaderi on an ARC Discovery project (DP200102605), "Bubble dynamics in fine droplets: behaviour and control", and with Prof. Moghtaderi on a number of industry funded research projects relating to mine safety and greenhouse gases abatement. Peng's work has led to the direct solutions to various challenging problems in industry (e.g. mitigation strategies for undermine explosions, evaluating detonation and flame arresting properties of reverse thermal oxidizer devices, identification of lower explosive limit of molybdenum powder, optimisation of oil/water separator, etc.). He is the recipient of 2020 FEBE Excellence Award for Outstanding Research. Besides, Dr Peng's expertise has been recognised internationally and he is the regular referee of top chemical / mechanical engineering journals and the academic editor and guest editor of discipline international journals. He is also currently serving as the Detailed Assessor for ARC funding schemes (e.g. DP/LP/DECRA) and competitive non-ARC funding schemes (e.g. National Intelligence and Security Discovery Research Grants).


  • PhD, Southeast University Peoples Republic of China


  • 1. Particle technology
  • 2. Fluid mechanics
  • 3. Fluid-solid coupling and heat and mass transfer
  • 4. Particle-bubble & particle-droplet interaction
  • 5. Fractal-like aggregate dynamics
  • 6. Combustion & explosion
  • 7. Ice nucleation & freezing of micro-droplets
  • 8. Segment flow tubular microreactors
  • 9. Self-assembly dynamics of nano-particles


  • Mandarin (Mother)
  • English (Fluent)

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Research Associate University of Newcastle
School of Engineering
Research Associate University of Newcastle
School of Engineering


Research Award

Year Award
2020 Faculty Excellence Award for Outstanding Research
Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment - The University of Newcastle (Australia)


Code Course Role Duration
CHEE3731 Modelling of separation process
Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment - The University of Newcastle (Australia)
Provides an understanding of simple model development, transfer functions, block diagram representation and analysis, and simple control systems. Most of the model development is based on simple unit operations and separation processes. Also provides students with the fundamentals necessary to design or evaluate a broad range of separation processes.
Lecturer 25/7/2017 - 1/1/0001

Dr Zhengbiao Peng


Research Associate
School of Engineering
College of Engineering, Science and Environment

Contact Details

Email zhengbiao.peng@newcastle.edu.au
Phone (02) 40339204


Room G11
Building NIER C Block
Location Callaghan
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308