Yi obtained his BSc in Polymer Materials and Engineering, as well as MSc in Polymer Chemistry and Physics in the Department of Macromolecular Science, Fudan University.
In 2003, he came to Oxford University as an academic visitor, researching the mechanical properties of spider silk. As a direct result he got the opportunity to undertake a D.Phil in the Oxford Silk Group. His work focuses on the mechanical and histochemical properties of silk. However he also investigates the spinning apparatus of spiders.
His findings (Liu et al 2005) have quantitatively linked the variability in mechanical properties of silk with its’ degree of supercontraction. The hypothesis being that the supercontraction of spider silk is determined by order ‘locked-in’ when silk is reeled, comparable to man-made fibres’ hot shrinkage behaviour. This gives insight into the relationship between mechanical properties and structure of a silk.
Yi is now a Research Scientist for Borealis, Linz