Juner Zhu

Assistant Professor,  Mechanical and Industrial Engineering


Social Media


  • 353 SN


  • 312 EL (students' office) & the Electro-Chemo-Mechanics Lab

Research Focus

Electro-chemo-mechanics, energy storage systems, scientific machine learning, battery sustainability and safety


Dr. Juner Zhu joined the faculty of Northeastern University as an Assistant Professor of MIE in August 2022. Before that, he was a Research Scientist at MIT in Mechanical and Chemical Engineering. He received his Ph.D. from MIT in 2019. Juner co-developed the 2020-2022 phase of the MIT Industrial Battery Consortium and acted as the Executive Director working with eight world-leading companies in EV, battery, and electronics. He got his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Tsinghua University, where he graduated with top honor (the Top Grade Fellowship) for Tsinghua graduate students 2014-2015. Juner is leading the Electro-Chemo-Mechanics Lab on the Innovation Campus at Burlington. His research group tackles the fundamental challenges of integrating data-driven methods with physics-based theories for complex engineered systems with a particular interest in Li-ion batteries, solid-state batteries, and Li-metal anode.


  • PhD, Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2019
  • MS, Mechanical Engineering, Tsinghua University, 2015
  • BS, Automotive Engineering, Tsinghua University, 2012

Honors & Awards

  • Haythornthwaite Foundation Research Initiation Award, Division of Applied Mechanics, American Society of Mechanical Engineering (ASME), 2022
  • Best Paper Award, MIT A+B Symposium and Applied Energy (Elsevier journal), 2022
  • Most-Watched Video Presentation in “Frontiers in Mechanics of Materials”, Society of Engineering Science, 2020
  • Presidential (Top-Grade) Scholarship, Tsinghua University, 2014

Teaching Interests

  • Dynamics and Vibrations, 2023 Spring
  • Scientific Machine Learning for Engineers, planned for 2024 Fall

Leadership Positions

  • Executive Director, MIT Industrial Battery Consortium, 2020-2022
  • Co-Founder & Executive Director, Center for Battery Sustainability, 2023-

Research Overview

Electro-chemo-mechanics, energy storage systems, scientific machine learning, battery sustainability and safety

Five out of the fourteen Grand Challenges for engineering in the 21st century identified by the National Academy of Engineering lie in the difficulty of deciphering complex natural or engineered systems. An extremely large example is the earth’s climate, the understanding for which the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded. A smaller example is energy storage systems (ESSs) such as lithium-ion batteries (LIBs), the main technology that the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded. The complexity of such systems comes from two major aspects: i) multiple length- and time-scales and ii) Coupled physical effects, such as mechanics, chemical reactions, and mass transport in LIBs.

The fundamental challenge of systematic engineering lies in the tradeoff between the abundance of data and the adequacy of physical laws. At the microscale, physics can usually be elucidated, but data are expensive and limited; at the macroscale, physical laws are often hidden in the big data that are hard to decipher. Physics-based or first-principle-based theories are robust but suffer from the “curse of dimensionality” as the number of variables and degrees of freedom increases. Recently, many data-driven approaches particularly machine learning have shown advantages in dealing with high-dimensional problems, but they are usually agnostic and prone to unphysical failure.

The research interest of the Juner Zhu Group lies in seeking the intelligent integration of physics-based theories and data-driven approaches using our intersectional expertise in applied mechanics, electrochemistry, system engineering, and data science.

Selected Publications

  • W. Li, B. Xing, T. R. Watkins, Y. Xia, H. Wang*, J. Zhu*. “Damage of Prismatic Lithium‐Ion Cells Subject to Bending: Test, Model, and Detection.” EcoMat. (2022) e12257
  • J. Zhu*, et al. “End-of-Life or Second-Life Options for Retired Electric Vehicle Batteries.” Cell Reports Physical Science. (2021) 2(8) 100537
  • H. Xu, J. Zhu, et al. “Guiding the Design of Heterogeneous Electrode Microstructures for Li‐ion Batteries: Microscopic Imaging, Predictive Modeling, and Machine Learning.” Advanced Energy Materials. (2021) 11(19) 2003908
  • W. Li, M. Z. Bazant, J. Zhu*, “A physics-guided neural network framework of elastic plates: comparison of governing equations-based and energy-based approaches.” Computer Methods of Applied Mechanics and Engineering. (2021) 383 113933
  • T. Sedlatschek, J. Lian, W. Li, M. Jiang, T. Wierzbicki, M. Z. Bazant. J. Zhu* “Characterization of the plasticity and fracture behavior of pure lithium under various stress states with particular emphasis on its microstructural evolution.” Acta Materialia. (2021) 208 116730
  • D. P. Finegan, J. Zhu, et al. “The Application of Data-Driven Methods and Physics-Based Learning for Improving Battery Safety.” Joule. (2021) 5(2) 316-329
  • W. Li & J. Zhu*, “A large deformation and fracture model of lithium-ion battery cells treated as a homogenized medium.” Journal of the Electrochemical Society (2020) 167(12) 120504
  • Z. Pan, J. Zhu*, H. Xu, T. Sedlatschek, X. Zhang, W. Li, T. Gao, Y. Xia, T. Wierzbicki, “Microstructural deformation patterns of a highly orthotropic polypropylene separator of lithium-ion batteries: Mechanism, model, and theory.” Extreme Mechanics Letters (2020) 37 100705
  • W. Li=, J. Zhu=,*, Y. Xia, M. B. Gorji, T. Wierzbicki. “Data-Driven Safety Envelope of Lithium-Ion Batteries for Electric Vehicles.” Joule. (2019) 3(11) 2703-2715


Publication list


Feb 06, 2024

Developing Hybrid Battery Management Systems To Protect Freezing Batteries

MIE Assistant Professor Juner Zhu and MIE Professor Hongwei Sun are exploring how to better protect batteries from extreme temperatures by determining what happens during exposure and developing a temperature management system to regulate battery temperatures.


Jan 11, 2024

Announcing Spring 2024 AJC Merit Research Scholars

Several engineering students and students mentored by COE faculty are recipients of the Spring 2024 AJC Merit Research Scholars, which funds a co-op in the laboratory of a Northeastern University STEM faculty member.


Dec 12, 2023

Center for Battery Sustainability and the 2nd Workshop

Faculty, researchers, students, and industry leaders gathered at the 2nd Battery Sustainability Workshop to discuss sustainability, recycling, and more. MIE Assistant Professor Juner Zhu, along with MIT professors Martin Z. Bazant and Richard D. Braatz, founded the Center for Battery Sustainability, after participating in last year’s event. 


Dec 07, 2023

2023 Stanford University Annual Assessment of Author Citations

The following COE professors are among the top scientists worldwide selected by Stanford University representing the top 2% of the most-cited scientists with single-year impact in various disciplines. The selection is based on the top 100,000 by c-score (with and without self-citations) or a percentile rank of 2% or above. The list below includes those […]


Nov 30, 2023

Making Electric Vehicle Batteries More Sustainable

MIE Assistant Professor Juner Zhu’s team is using a unique approach involving mechanical measurements to develop diagnostics strategies for battery health by providing more direct information on how batteries deform, fail, and even explode. The research could lead to extending electric vehicle battery lifespans and their redesign to allow for refurbishment.   


Nov 17, 2022

Successful Workshop on Battery Sustainability

On November 2-3, MIE Assistant Professor Juner Zhu and his team organized the first Battery Sustainability Workshop on the Boston campus of Northeastern University. It was a two-day event jointly hosted by two MIT ChemE professors Martin Z. Bazant and Richard D. Braatz. The workshop triggered wide interest in EV, battery, renewable energy, consumer electronics, […]


Oct 11, 2022

Bai and Zhu Awarded Haythornthwaite Foundation Research Initiation Grants

MIE Assistant Professors Ruobing Bai and Juner Zhu were awarded the 2022 Haythornthwaite Foundation Research Initiation Grant from the Applied Mechanics Division of the ASME. The intent of the grant, which supports research in the field of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, is to assist with the purchase of equipment or instrumentation, fabrication of a unique […]

Juner Zhu


Aug 17, 2022

New Faculty Spotlight: Juner Zhu

Juner Zhu joins the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering department in August 2022 as an Assistant Professor.

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