John Wen, Ph.D., P.Eng. (He/Him)

John Wen, Ph.D., P.Eng.
Professor, Columbiad Space Research Chair for In-Situ Resource Utilization & Stewardship
Location: E3 3151
Phone: 519-888-4567 x38362


John Z. Wen is a Professor with the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering and is cross-appointed to the Chemical Engineering department at the University of Waterloo. He is also the Director of the Laboratory for Emerging Energy Research at the university and a member of the Canadian Society of Mechanical Engineering (CSME). Currently he serves as the CSME Technical Committee (TC) Chair on Microtechnology and Nanotechnology.
Professor Wen’s areas of research expertise are in in-situ resources utilization, energetic nanomaterial, metal fuel, biofuel combustion, CO2 capture and storage, emission of particulate matters, energy utilization and storage, and nanotechnology-based energy devices. His research interests include processing lunar regolith, metal combustion, nanomaterial synthesis, development of nanothermite and energetic nanocomposites, and fabrication of nanotube and nanowire based energy devices.
Professor Wen teaches several upper year and graduate Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering courses.

Research Interests

  • Nanotechnology for energy, Nanomaterial synthesis and characterization, Alternative fuels and renewable energy resources, Combustion science and technology, Micro- and nano-scale transport phenomena, Fabrication of nanostructured electrodes, Application of energetic nanomaterials, Density functional theory and molecular dynamics, Electro-chemical energy storage devices, Supercapacitors and dye sensitized solar cells, Biomass gasification, Biofuel combustion, CO2 capture and storage, Synthesis, characterization and applications of nanomaterial, Developing nanothermite and energetic nanocomposites, fabrication of nanotube and nanowire based electrodes for advanced energy devices.

Scholarly Research

ASME Micro/Nanoscale Heat and Mass Transfer International Conference (Session chair), Shanghai, China, 2009; NATO Advanced Study Institute on Microsystems for Security, Cesme/Izmir, Turkey, 2009; The 2nd Canada-California Sustainable Biofuels and Bioproducts Workshop, UCLA, 2009; NRC Steacie Institute for Molecular Sciences (Invited talk), Ottawa, 2009 International Conference on Nanotechnology: Fundamentals and Applications (Keynotes speaker), Ottawa, 2010; Materials Science & Technology 2010 Conference & Exhibition (Session chair), Houston, 2010.

Industrial Research

Mechanical engineer: Dalian Marine Diesel Works (1992-1997); Visiting engineer: MAN B&W Diesel A/S (1997); Visiting researcher: Pratt & Whitney Canada (2000-2002)


  • 2007, Postdoctoral, NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, U.S.A.
  • 2005, Doctorate, Mechanical Engineering, University of Toronto, Canada
  • 2002, Master of Applied Science, Mechanical Engineering, University of Toronto, Canada
  • 1992, Bachelor's, Power Engineering, Harbin Engineering University, P.R.China


  • Early Researcher Award
  • NSERC Discovery Accelerate Supplement grant


  • ME 201 - Advanced Calculus
    • Taught in 2019, 2020, 2022, 2023
  • ME 250 - Thermodynamics 1
    • Taught in 2018, 2019
  • ME 353 - Heat Transfer 1
    • Taught in 2019, 2020, 2022, 2023
  • ME 659 - Energy and Environment
    • Taught in 2018

* Only courses taught in the past 5 years are displayed.

Selected/Recent Publications

  • Nanothermites: Developments and Future Perspectives, Ahmed Fahd, Charles Dubois, Jamal Chaouki, John Z Wen, 2023/5/15, Nano and Micro‐Scale Energetic Materials: Propellants and Explosives 1, Pages 219-251
  • Burning structures and propagation mechanisms of nanothermites (2022) Suyong Kim, Averitt A Johns, John Z Wen, Sili Deng, 2022/9/3, Proceedings of the Combustion Institute
  • Solution synthesis of core-shell n-Al@ CuO based on electrostatic self-assembly for enhanced energetic performance (2022) Anqi Wang, Shina Maini, Jean-Pierre Hickey, John Z Wen, Chemical Engineering Journal Advances 11, Pages 100323 (1-12)
  • Superior performance of quaternary NC/GO/Al/KClO4 nanothermite for high speed impulse small-scale propulsion applications (2021) Ahmed Fahd, Alex Baranovsky, Charles Dubois, Jamal Chaouki, John Z Wen, Combustion and Flame 232, Pages 111527 (1-13)
  • Combustion characteristics of physically mixed 40 nm aluminum/copper oxide nanothermites using laser ignition (2018) Florin Saceleanu, Mahmoud Idir, Nabiha Chaumeix, John Z Wen, Frontiers in chemistry 6, Pages 465 (1-10)
  • Development of an equivalent circuit model for electrochemical double layer capacitors (EDLCs) with distinct electrolytes (2014), Jinhee Kang, John Wen, Shesha H Jayaram, Aiping Yu, Xiaohui Wang, Electrochimica Acta 115, Pages 587-598
  • Characterization of thermochemical properties of Al nanoparticle and NiO nanowire composites (2013) John Z Wen, Sophie Ringuette, Golnaz Bohlouli-Zanjani, Anming Hu, Ngoc Ha Nguyen, John Persic, Catalin F Petre, Y Norman Zhou, Nanoscale Research Letters 8, Pages 184 (1-9)
  • Thermal stability and reaction properties of passivated Al/CuO nano-thermite (2011), Jeff Wang, Anming Hu, John Persic, John Z Wen, Y Norman Zhou, Journal of Physics and Chemistry of Solids 72, Pages 620-625
  • Study of soot growth in a plug flow reactor using a moving sectional model (2005), John Z Wen, MJ Thomson, SH Park, SN Rogak, MF Lightstone, Proceedings of the Combustion Institute 30, Pages 1477-1484
  • Modeling soot formation in turbulent kerosene/air jet diffusion flames (2003), JZ Wen, S Yun, MJ Thomson, MF Lightstone, Combustion and Flame 135, Pages 323-340

Graduate studies