Professor Zhan Chen received his Bachelor of Engineering in materials engineering from the (now named) Central South University in China in 1982, before completing his Master of Engineering in 1985, and PhD research in 1989 at the University of Auckland.
He then spent ten years in Australia conducting research on materials processing; three years with the then Pasminco Research Centre; and seven years with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO). During that period, he worked in the areas of squeeze and high pressure die casting, semisolid forming and mechanical properties of aluminium and magnesium alloys.
On his return to New Zealand in 2000, Professor Chen joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering at AUT University. Today, he teaches topics on engineering materials and manufacturing technologies/processes at various levels.
Throughout his time at AUT he has conducted research with his students on thermomechanical related processes (materials science and mechanics of), particularly friction stir welding (FSW) and processing of various alloys. He has also worked with New Zealand industry for the successful applications of FSW technology, and has conducted research on welding metallurgy and properties of materials.
Professor Chen is the author and co-author of over 100 scientific and technical publications in international journals and conference proceedings.