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Personal profile

Research Interests

My research mainly has two focuses: machining and the effect of microstructure change and defects from machining/manufacturing on mechanical properties of components, which include:


  • Understanding how the microstructure changes and defects of composite materials are introduced in machining/manufacturing processes (e.g. fibre damage, fibre orientation disorder, voids, weak bonding between fibre and matrix, lower cutting surface quality, damaged cutting surface etc.).


  • Mechanism investigation on how the microstructure changes and defects of materials affect the material mechanical properties, crack initiation, orientation and propagation, fracture failure and fatigue life especially under extreme working conditions such as high rotational speed and high temperature.


  • Developing experimental and analytical modelling techniques at macro and micro scales to support the above research works.


  • Improving the machining surface accuracy and machining efficiency in high-speed ultra-precision machining for large diameter flat and curved optical components including brittle optical materials such as KDP crystals and SiC particles reinforced aluminum matrix composites. Research includes optimization of machining time algorithms, development of material removal functions, thermal analysis, workpiece subsurface damage detection, measurement and control.


  • Gear grinding and camshaft grinding, which includes surface roughness control, surface grinding thermal analysis and thermal damage control.


PhD Project

My PhD study in Advanced Manufacturing Technology Research Laboratory (AMTReL), Liverpool John Moores University (AMTReL was evaluated as Grade 5 in RAE 2008) was funded by Overseas Research Students Awards and an EPSRC project. My thesis title: “Assessment of Vitrified CBN Wheels for Precision Grinding”. My research in this period include:

  • Grinding theory investigation including mechanics, tribology and material science
  • Grinding experiments with on-line process monitoring using acoustic emission system, inductive sensor, power meter and replica technique etc.
  • Grinding process simulation with Matlab

Master's Project

I  spent 3 years in my MPhil  in Shenyang, China. My thesis title is “Analysis on Lapping and Polishing Pressure Distribution”. A CIRP paper was published during this period. 


  • TJ Mechanical engineering and machinery
  • Precision machining
  • Grinding
  • Stress analysis
  • Fatigue
  • Crack propagation
  • Micro structure

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Rui Cai is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Grinding wheels Engineering & Materials Science
Wheels Engineering & Materials Science
Graphene Engineering & Materials Science
Machining Engineering & Materials Science
Graphite Chemical Compounds
grinding Physics & Astronomy
Composite materials Engineering & Materials Science
Sensors Engineering & Materials Science

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 1998 2020

1 Citation (Scopus)

A facile approach to fabricate highly sensitive, flexible strain sensor based on elastomeric/graphene platelet composite film

Meng, Q., Liu, Z., Sen, H. & Cai, R., Aug 2019, In : Journal of Materials Science. 54, 15, p. 10856–10870 15 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Composite films
1 Citation (Scopus)

Analytical modeling of surface roughness in precision grinding of particle reinforced metal matrix composites considering nanomechanical response of material

Zhang, Z., Yao, P., Wang, J., Huang, C., Cai, R. & Zhu, H., Jul 2019, In : International Journal of Mechanical Sciences. 157-158, p. 243-253 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

metal matrix composites
surface roughness
Surface roughness
Grinding wheels
Laser ablation

Failure analysis of a braided composite frame at microstructure level

Yuan, H. & Cai, R., 1 Apr 2019, (Accepted/In press) p. (In-press).

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Non-oxidized graphene/elastomer composite films for wearable strain and pressure sensors with ultra-high flexibility and sensitivity

Meng, Q., Liu, Z. & Cai, R., 25 Jul 2019, (Accepted/In press) In : Polymers for Advanced Technologies. (In-press), p. (In-press)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Pressure sensors
Composite films

Activities 2015 2015

  • 2 Invited talk

Intelligent Grinding Assistant (IGA) - System Development

Rui Cai (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

Intelligent Grinding Assistant (IGA) - System Development

Rui Cai (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk