Dr. Li’s expertise and interests include (but not limited to) additive manufacturing, smart manufacturing, nanomaterial-enabled energy systems, biological and bio-inspired materials and devices, biomechanics, micro/nanomechanics, surface engineering, and tribology. He has been PI/Co-PI on over $21 million in extramural grants. His stature in the field of his expertise includes over 275 peer-reviewed journal articles in prestigious journals such as Science, Science Advances, Nature Communications, Advanced Materials, Advanced Energy Materials, Advanced Functional Materials, Nano Energy, Nano Letters, Physical Review Letters, Acta Materialia, Physical Review B, Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids, and Philosophical Magazine; over 19,503 citations with H-index of 71; World’s Top 2% Scientists; TMS MPMD Distinguished Scientist/Engineer Award, Professional Engineering Publisher's PE Prize, UVa Distinguished Researcher Award, and UVa SEAS Distinguished Faculty Award; over 90 invited plenary lectures/keynotes/talks at international conferences/workshops; Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME); Fellow of the Society of Experimental Mechanics (SEM); University of South Carolina CEC Distinguished Professor in Mechanical Engineering (10/2009-9/2012); and Rolls-Royce Commonwealth Professor at the University of Virginia (8/2013-present). His breakthrough work has been featured by over 1,000 media outlets worldwide including BBC, Discovery News, Science Daily, and MSNBC. His innovation on cotton textile- based composites was selected by New York Times – Year in Ideas for Year 2010. He served as an Associate Editor for Transactions of the ASME - Applied Mechanics Reviews (2014-2018) and he has served on the editorial board for over ten journals. He reviews papers for 190 journals including Science and Nature series, and he was the elected chair for the TMS nanomechanical materials behavior committee.


  • TMS MPMD Distinguished Scientist/Engineer Award
  • Professional Engineering Publisher's PE Prize
  • New York Times – Year in Ideas for Year 2010
  • Fellow of the Society of Experimental Mechanics
  • Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers

Research Interests

  • Additive Manufacturing/Smart Manufacturing
  • Nanomaterial-enabled Energy Systems
  • Biomaterials and Biomechanics
  • Micro/Nanomechanics
  • Surface Engineering/Tribology

In the News

Selected Publications

  • Cotton-textile-enabled flexible self-sustaining power packs via roll-to-roll fabrication, Nature Communications, 7 (2016) 11586 Zan Gao, Clifton Bumgardner, Ningning Song, Yunya Zhang, Jingjing Li, Xiaodong Li
  • Cotton textile enabled, flexible lithium-ion batteries with enhanced capacity and extended lifespan, Nano Letters, 15 (2015) 8194–8203 Zan Gao, Ningning Song, Yunya Zhang, and Xiaodong Li
  • Hydrogen passivation induced dispersion of multi-walled carbon nanotubes, Advanced Materials, 24 (2012) 881-885 Yingchao Yang, Zhi-Hui Xu, Zhengwei Pan, and Xiaodong Li
  • Order-disorder transition of aragonite nanoparticles in nacre, Physical Review Letters, 109 (2012) 025501 Zaiwang Huang and Xiaodong Li
  • Unveiling the formation mechanism of pseudo-single crystal aragonite platelets in nacre, Physical Review Letters, 102 (2009) 075502 Xiaodong Li and Zaiwang Huang