Dr. Chen's main research program is soil-tool-material interaction. Material examples include: manure, crop residue, chemical, seed, and other biomaterials. Tool examples include: tillage tool, seed opener, fertilizer opener, and any other soil engaging tools. Interactions occur when these tools are used to incorporate the materials into soil. Material presence alters soil-tool systems due to the interactions between soil and material movements. Therefore, performance of a tool for material incorporation cannot be predicted by knowledge of traditional soil-tool systems.
Dr. Chen also works on other research areas, such as ag-fibre (hemp), landmine neutralisation, and ag-waste handling. Representative research projects include hemp harvest and processing, demining using pressure, liquid manure injection, and livestock mortality composting.
Both experimental and modeling approaches have been used in conducting research. Dr. Chen’s research team has developed models in which the dynamics and kinematics of biomaterials and their interactions with machines are simulated using analytical method, finite element method (FEM), and discrete element method (DEM).