When Lab Fights Escalate to Sulfuric Acid + Hammers.

Below is taken from: PhD student attacks another with sulfuric acid and a hammer.
A university student has been refused bail after he allegedly threw acid in the face of a classmate before attacking him with a hammer.

With dressing on his face and in a disposable plastic jumpsuit, Rui Zhang today appeared before Waverley Local Court charged over the incident at the University of NSW yesterday afternoon.


Mr Zhang, 26, is accused of attacking fellow international student Xiaoyu Cheng, 25, inside one of the university’s chemistry labs in the Chemical Sciences Building. Both are Chinese nationals and PhD students.

Mr Cheng remains in an induced coma in a critical condition. He was taken to St Vincent’s Hospital but is now being treated in the burns unit of Royal North Shore Hospital.

Mr Zhang was taken for treatment for his physical injuries and mental health at Prince of Wales Hospital before fronting court this afternoon.

His lawyer Ross Hudson did not make a bail application and it was formally refused.

Magistrate Jacqueline Milledge recommended he be placed in a mental health facility within corrective services to seek treatment.

The matter will go before Central Local Court again next month.

A video news story of the incident from Video: UNSW student attacked with acid

Using my limited Google-Fu skills the victim is presumably from Professor Justin Gooding’s lab group – current members
Update: A source confirms that both Rui Zhang and Xiaoyu Cheng are from the same group. Rui Zhang had just started at UNSW recently. Xiaoyu Cheng is a second year PhD student. Both worked with hydrofluoric acid routinely, so this incident could have been worse.
Some papers published by Xiaoyu Cheng.

Detection of Trace Nitroaromatic Isomers Using Indium Tin Oxide Electrodes Modified Using β-Cyclodextrin and Silver Nanoparticles(Analytical Chemistry)
Authors: Xin ChenXiaoyu ChengJ. Justin Gooding,
0 commentsrelatedWednesday October 3rd 2012

Multifunctional modified silver nanoparticles as ion and pH sensors in aqueous solution (The Analyst)
Authors: Xin ChenXiaoyu ChengJ. Justin Gooding,
0 commentsrelatedThursday April 5th 2012



  1. Pingback: Splitter: “Molly” und Schlaganfall, Rabatte für Studenten, Kampf im Labor « ChemieUnser – Chemie unseres Lebens

  2. This is deplorable incident between two expat students of the same country. While most students tend to stick together when away from their parent countries, this shocking incident brings up the lack of empathy amongst each other.
    The students undergoing PhD are often under a lot of stress which may lead to them ‘breaking up’ mentally in certain situations. It is very important for them to maintain their mental balance.
    I would recommend all students undergoing PhD to take up some exercises like Yoga or Zen to maintain their calm.

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