Yuhang Hu

(217) 244-1641
2138 Mechanical Engineering Lab

For more information


  • PhD, Harvard University, Engineering Sciences, 2011
  • MS, Harvard University, Applied Physics, 2009
  • MS, Nanyang Technological University, Civil and Environmental Engineering, 2007
  • BEng, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Engineering Mechanics, 2005

Academic Positions

  • Assistant Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Mechanical Science and Engineering, Jan. 2015 - present
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University, Materials Chemistry, Oct. 2011 - Oct. 2014

Research Statement

My research focuses on new materials and phenomena emerging at the interface between mechanics and materials chemistry. Our study integrates experiment and theory. The main areas include: (1) mechanics of soft materials, (2) mechanics of bio-inspired materials and structures (3) and mechanics of biomaterials. The systems and phenomena of our research interests include soft materials, nano-/micro-structured surfaces, hybrid materials, mechanical properties of cells and tissues. Fundamental concepts include poroelasticity, viscoelasticity, fracture, diffusion, contact mechanics, adhesion, and mechanical instability. Applications of our research include development of mechanical testing techniques, actuators, anti-fouling, energy saving and cellular and tissue engineering.

Research Areas

  • Energy
  • Health and Bio
  • Manufacturing
  • Solid Mechanics and Materials

Selected Articles in Journals

  • Ying, H., J. Yen, R. Wang, Y. Lai, J. Hsu, Y. Hu* and J. Cheng*, "Degradable and biocompatible hydrogels bearing a hindered urea bond," Biomaterials Science 5, 2398-2402, (2017)
  • Hu, Y.*, P. Kim, and J. Aizenberg, "Harnessing structural instability and material instability in the hydrogel-actuated integrated responsive structures (HAIRS)," Extreme Mechanics Letters 13, 84-90 (2017)
  • Lai, Y., and Y. Hu*, "Unified solution of poroelastic oscillation indentation on gels for spherical, conical and cylindrical indenters," Soft Matter 13, 852-861 (2017)
  • Hu, Y.*, J.-O. You, and J. Aizenberg, "Micro-patterned hydrogel surface with high-aspect-ratio features for cell guidance and tissue growth," ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 8, 21939-21945 (2016)
  • Hou, X., Y. Hu, A. Grinthal, M. Khan, and J. Aizenberg*, "Liquid gating mechanism with tunable multiphase selectivity and antifouling behavior," Nature 519, 70-73 (2015)
  • Phillips, K.R., N. Vogel, Y. Hu, M. Kolle, C.C. Perry, and J. Aizenberg*, "Tunable Anisotropy in Inverse Opals: Mechanism and Emerging Optical Properties," Chemistry of Materials 26, 1622-1628 (2014)
  • Yao, X., Y. Hu, A. Grinthal, T.-S. Wong, L. Mahadevan, and J. Aizenberg*, "Adaptive fluid-infused porous films with tunable transparency and wettability," Nature Materials 12, 529-534 (2013)
  • Kim, P., Y. Hu, J. Alvarenga, M. Kolle, Z. Suo, and J. Aizenberg*, "Rational Design of Mechano-Responsive Optical Materials by Fine Tuning the Evolution of Strain-Dependent Wrinkling Patterns," Advanced Optical Materials 1, 381-388 (2013)
  • Weiss, F., S. Cai, Y. Hu, M.K. Kang, R. Huang, and Z. Suo*, "Creases and wrinkles on the surface of a swollen gel," Journal of Applied Physics 114, 073507 (2013)
  • Li, J., Y. Hu, J.J. Vlassak, and Z. Suo*, "Experimental determination of equations of state for ideal elastomeric gels," Soft Matter 8, 8121-8128 (2012)
  • Hu, Y., and Z. Suo*, "Viscoelasticity and poroelasticity in elastomeric gels," Acta Mechanica Solida Sinica 25, 441-457 (2012)
  • Chan, E.P.*, Y. Hu, P.M. Johnson, Z. Suo, and C.M. Stafford, "Spherical indentation testing of poroelastic relaxations in thin hydrogel layers," Soft Matter 8, 1492-1498 (2012)
  • Kalcioglu, Z.I., R. Mahmoodian, Y. Hu, Z. Suo, and K.J. Van Vliet*, "From macro- to microscale poroelastic characterization of polymeric hydrogels via indentation," Soft Matter 8, 3393-3398 (2012)
  • Zarzar, L.D., Q. Liu, X. He, Y. Hu, Z. Suo, and J. Aizenberg*, "Multifunctional Actuation Systems Responding to Chemical Gradients," Soft Matter 8, 8289-8293 (2012)
  • Hu, Y., X. Chen, G.M. Whitesides, J.J. Vlassak, and Z. Suo*, "Indentation of polydimethylsiloxane submerged in organic solvents," Journal of Materials Research 26, 785-795 (2011)
  • Hu, Y., J.-O. You, D.T. Auguste, Z. Suo, and J.J. Vlassak*, "Indentation: a simple, nondestructive method for characterizing the mechanical and transport properties of pH-sensitive hydrogels," Journal of Materials Research 27, 152-160 (2011)
  • Hu, Y., E.P. Chan, J.J. Vlassak, and Z. Suo*, "Poroelastic relaxation indentation of thin layers of gels," Journal of Applied Physics 110, 86103 (2011)
  • Hu, Y., X. Zhao, J.J. Vlassak, and Z. Suo*, "Using indentation to characterize the poroelasticity of gels," Applied Physics Letters 96, 121904 (2010)
  • Cai, S., Y. Hu, X. Zhao, and Z. Suo*, "Poroelasticity of a covalently crosslinked alginate hydrogel under compression," Journal of Applied Physics 108, 113514 (2010)
  • Hu, Y., X. Zhao, and Z. Suo*, "Averting cracks caused by insertion reaction in lithium-ion batteries," Journal of Materials Research 25, 1007-1010 (2010)

Professional Societies

  • Member, American Physical Society (APS)
  • Member, Materials Research Society (MRS)
  • Member, Society for Experimental Mechanics (SEM)
  • Member, Society of Engineering Science (SES)
  • Member, American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)

Research Honors

  • AFOSR YIP award (2017)
  • NSF CAREER Award (Jan. 2016)
  • ASME AMD award: The Robert M. and Haythornthwaite Foundation Research Initiation Grant (Nov. 2015)
  • 1st Prize, Best Poster in New England Workshop on the Mechanics of Materials and Structures (Oct. 2011)
  • Haythornthwaite Foundation student travel award of ASME IMECE (2010)
  • Winston Chen Graduate Fellowship (2008 - 2009)
  • Gold Medal of Defence Science and Technology Agency of Singapore (2007)

Recent Courses Taught

  • ME 532 - Fracture Resistant Design
  • TAM 251 - Introductory Solid Mechanics