The Engineer's Impact - Yang Zhao

Your inside look at faculty’s research and its effect on society

In this new Q&A series, we’ll feature Western Engineering faculty members to gain a succinct overview of their research, understand its impact on society, and discover intriguing little-known facts.

Meet Mechanical and Materials Engineering Assistant Professor Yang Zhao

Zhao-profile-pic.pngCan you describe your research?

My research focuses on the advanced materials and interfaces for energy devices, including nanomaterials; nanostructure design and fabrication; surface and interface engineering; next-generation batteries; and the advanced characterization for materials and interfaces understanding.

How does your research impact society in everyday life?

Global warming has raised awareness of the harmful effects of greenhouse gases of which transportation is the single biggest source in Canada. The Canadian government will ban the sale of fuel-burning cars and light-duty trucks starting in 2035 to reach net-zero emissions across the country by 2050. In addition, the sale of electric vehicles is estimated to be 30 per cent of the automobile market by 2025. Canada, regarded as the tenth-largest auto manufacturer and having the tenth largest market of EVs sales, has been a major player in this industry. My research on the development of next-generation batteries has great potential to solve current challenges related to energy storage, conversion, and environmental pollution.

What’s an interesting, little-known fact related to your research?

Beyond Li, there are many other types of batteries, such as Na, K, Ca, Zn, Mg, Al batteries, with low cost and longer lifetime.