Associate Professor, Chemical Engineering

Research interests: pressure-sensitive and adaptable adhesives (gecko arrays); interfacial phenomena


Professor Boxin Zhao conducted systematic studies on the gecko adhesive system and synthetic pressure-sensitive adhesives, producing new knowledge and technology on the development of adaptable and responsible “smart” adhesives.

Zhao’s research focuses on the adhesion and associated micro and nano-mechanical properties of soft materials such as synthetic and biological polymers, sticky fluids and biological tissues, in particular, under micro and nanometer confinements.

Before joining Waterloo, Zhao had worked as a postdoctoral fellow in Professor Jacob Israelachvili’s Interfacial Science Laboratory at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research experience included measuring molecular and surface forces and characterizing adhesion and adhesives, colloidal stabilities, interfacial phenomena (such as adhesion, friction, fracture) in polymers and biological systems. In 2005, Zhao worked as a visiting scientist at the Australian Pulp and Paper Institute (Melbourne, Australia) to help with transferring a new peel-based technique developed from his research work at McMaster to measure the quality of newsprints and provide consultation on paper surface strength measurements related to inks/paper interactions in printing.


  • PhD, Chemical Engineering, McMaster University, 2004
  • MEng, Chemical Technology, Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing, 1999
  • BEng, Mineral Engineering, Central South University, China, 1996

Boxin Zhao

    University of Waterloo