Department of Chemistry

School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Dennis W Smith
Director, Center for Energy Harvesting Materials and Systems
BE 2.324

Dennis W. Smith Jr.

Director, Center for Energy Harvesting Materials and Systems


Dr. Dennis W. Smith, Jr. received his B.S. (1988) from Missouri State University and his Ph.D. (1992) from the University of Florida under the guidance of Prof. Ken Wagener on the scope and mechanism of acyclic diene metathesis (ADMET) polymerization. He was a Rhone Poulenc Graduate Research Fellow in Lyon, France pursuing novel silicone elastomers, and a Dow Chemical Postdoctoral Fellow (1993) in Rheinmünster, Germany exploring fundamental aspects of epoxy networks.

Dr. Smith joined The Dow Chemical Company Central Research Laboratory as Sr. Research Chemist (1993), and later was promoted to Project Leader (1996) working primarily on the synthesis and characterization of high performance thermosets for thin film microelectronics applications. Dr. Smith was an original member of the team that invented and implemented SiLK™ Semiconductor Dielectric resins, which led to commercial production (see: Chem. & Eng. News, November 20, 2000, p. 17). He received three Dow Chemical Special Recognition Awards and was a recipient of the 1997 Dow Chemical Central Research Inventor of the Year Award before joining Clemson in 1998 at the rank of Assistant Professor. Dr. Smith was promoted to Associate Professor in 2001, granted early tenure in 2002, promoted to Professor of Chemistry in 2006, and in 2008, he accepted joint appointment as Professor of Material Science & Engineering at Clemson.

In 2010, Prof. Smith joined The University of Texas at Dallas as Professor of Chemistry. Also in 2010, Dr. Smith was elected as Fellow of The American Chemical Society.

Dr. Smith's research has led to many awards and recognitions. He is a recipient of a National Science Foundation Early Faculty CAREER Award, Cottrell Scholar of Research Corporation, Intel Polymer Workshop Keynote Speaker 2007, 2008 Charles H. Stone Award "for the most outstanding chemist in the southeastern United States".

Dr. Smith is a founding member and, prior to joining UT Dallas, he was Associate Director of Clemson's Center for Optical Materials Science & Engineering Technologies (COMSET). He has served the American Chemical Society as a member of the National Young Chemist Committee and most notably within the Division of Polymer Chemistry as National Meeting Symposia and Workshops Chair, Publicity Chair (1998-2000), Assistant Secretary (2000–2002), Workshops Committee Chair, IUPAC Liaison (2006 - 2009), and as Founder and Organizing Chair of the international conference, FLUOROPOLYMER 2000 – 2010, and POLYCOM: Commercial Innovations and Opportunities in Polymer Science 2008.

Dr. Smith won national election to the post of ACS Councilor representing the Division of Polymer Chemistry on ACS Council (2002-2005) and in 2007 he was elected Vice Chair of the Division of Polymer Chemistry. He served as Chair-Elect in 2008 and currently serves as the 2009 Chair of the Division. Dr. Smith is Editor of the journal, Polymer Bulletin, serves on the editorial board for High Performance Polymers and Polymers for Advanced Technology, and he is currently Editor for the Handbook of Fluoropolymer Science and Technology, in progress with Wiley & Sons.

Dr. Smith has over 100 publications and 15 US patents/applications.


  • B.S. Chemistry and Mathematics, Missouri State University, 1988
  • Ph.D. Chemistry, University of Florida, 1992

Research Interests

We are a versatile multi-disciplinary group comprising synthetic organic chemists, polymer synthetists, and materials engineers.  Our capabilities in chemical and materials characterization are state of the art.  Our recent and current projects feature applications in light emitting materials, electro-optic materials, other specialty bio-photonic applications, thermally reversible crosslinkable coatings for the US Army, hydrogen fuel cell and hydrogen production membranes, gas separation membranes, carbon fiber, carbon nanotube composites, and reground car tire rubber functionalization and composites.

Selected Publications

Poly (acrylonitrile-co-1-vinylimidazole): A New Melt Processable Carbon Fiber Precursor” Deng W.; Lobovsky A.; Iacono S.T.; Wu T.; Tomar N.; Budy S.M.; Long T.; Hoffman W.P.; Smith, Jr., D.W. Polymer 2010, doi:10.1016/j.polymer.2010.11.054.

Preparation of Composite Fluoropolymers with Enhanced Dewetting Using Fluorinated Silsesquioxanes as Drop-In Modifers” Iacono, S.T.; Budy, S.M.; Smith Jr., D.W. J. Mater. Chem. 2010, 20, 2979-2984.

Facile One-Pot” Synthesis and Thermal Cyclopolymerization of Bistrifluorovinyl Ether Aryl Derivatives Bearing Reactive Pendant Groups” Zhu, K.; Jin, J.; Iacono, S. T.; Budy, S. M.; Smith Jr., D. W. J. Polym. Sci. 2010, 48, 1887-1893.

Thermal and Mechanical Analysis of Cross-linked Optical Fiber Coatings” Budy, S. Foy, P.; Mathewson, J.; Hawkins, T.; S.; Smith Jr., D.W.; Ballato, J. J. Lightwave Tech. 2009, 27(24), 5626-5630.

Chromophore-derivatized Semifluorinated Polymers for Colorimetric and Turn-on Fluorescent Anion Detection” Gilliard, R. J., Jr.; Iacono, S. T.; Budy, S. M.; Moody, J.D.; Smith Jr., D.W.; Smith, R. C. Sens. Actuators, B 2009, 143, 1-5.

Synthesis and Characterization of High Molecular Weight Perfluorocyclobutyl-containing Polybenzimidazoles (PFCB-PBI) for High Temperature Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells” Qian, G.; Smith Jr., D.W.; Benicewicz, B. Polymer, 2009, 50, 3911-3916.

Photoluminescence and Ion Sensing Properties of a Bipyridyl Chromophore-Modified Semifluorinated Polymer and its Metallopolymer Derivatives” He, S.; Iacono, S.T.; Budy, S.M.; Dennis, A.E.; Smith Jr., D.W.; Smith, R.C. J. Mater. Chem. 2008, 18, 1970-1976. (featured on cover).

  • Updated: January 24, 2014