Dennis Smith

Dennis Smith


  • Faculty


  • Materials/Polymer
  • Organic
  • Organometallic


  • Professor



  • Hand Lab 3334

B.S. Chemistry and Mathematics, Missouri State University, 1988
Ph.D. Chemistry, University of Florida, 1992
Fellow of the American Chemical Society
Fellow of the International Union of Pure & Applied Chemistry

Our laboratory combines diverse teams of talented chemists and engineers who focus on the design, synthesis, mechanism, structure/reactivity/property relationships, applications, and technology transfer or direct commercialization of monomers, polymeric materials and composites primarily targeted for the information, energy, composites, and sustainability revolutions.  Multidisciplinary collaborative research areas include, but not limited to: (1) fluoropolymers from fluoroalkenes or hexafluoroacetone for optical, energy conversion, communication, and tailored surface applications (Scheme 1); (2) polyarylene networks and high yield carbon structures and composites from processable intermediates (Scheme 2); (3) renewable and bioabsorbable polymers based on aliphatic polyesters (e.g., PLA, PHA, and derivatives) for packaging, coatings, biomedical applications, and hybrid semi-fluorinated polymers; (4) re-ground rubber recycling via functionalization, grafting, and composite formulation and carbonization (Scheme 3); (5) novel acrylonitrile copolymers for carbon fiber precursors and use in wound healing, (6) thermally reversible crosslinkable resins for smart coatings, and (7) direct fluorination of materials.

Scheme 1. General synthetic routes to semi-fluorinated arylene vinylene ether (FAVE), perfluorocyclobutyl (PFCB), and perfluorocycloalkene (PFCA) materials.

Scheme 2. Bis-ortho-diynylarene (BODA) monomers undergo thermal polymerization to branched processable reactive resins that further crosslink and carbonize to give high char yield carbon/carbon (C/C) composites with excellent consolidation.

Scheme 3. Chemical modification of waste tire rubber for upcycling and creation of new material classes from hybrid functional particles.

Recent Publications

  1. “Teaching Old Polymers New Tricks. Improved Synthesis and Anomalous Crystallinity for a Lost Semi-Fluorinated Polyaryl Ether via Interfacial Polymerization of Hexafluoroacetone Hydrate and Diphenyl Ether” Munoz, G.; Chamberlain, K.; Athukorale, S.; Ma, G.; Gu, X.; Pittman, Jr., C.U.; Smith, Jr., D.W. Macromolecular Rapid Communications 2022, submitted.
  2. High Carbon Yielding and Melt Processable Bis-ortho-Diynylarene (BODA)-Derived Resins for Rapid Processing of Dense Carbon/Carbon Composites”, Borrego, E.; Athukorale, S.; Gorla, S.; Duckworth, A.; Johnson, W.; Kundu, S.; Toghiani, H.; Farajidizaji, B.; Pittman, C.; Smith, Jr., D.W. Composites Part B. 2022, 242, 110080.
  3. “Renewable Isosorbide-Containing Semi-Fluorinated Aromatic Ether Polymers”, Shelar, K.; Mukeba, K.; Mills, K., Smith, Jr., D.W. J. Polym. Sci. Part. A. Polym. Chem. 2022, 60, 2500-2507.
  4. “Triphenylene Containing Blue-Light Emitting Semi-fluorinated Aryl Ether Polymers with Excellent Thermal and Photostability”, Shelar, K.E.; Nghia N.; Mukeba, K.M.; Dey, S.; Farajidizaji, B.; Athukorale, S.; Pittman, Jr., C.U.; Webster, C.E.; Donnadieu, B.; Caldona, E.B.; Smith, Jr., D.W. Mater. Chem. Front. 2022, 6, 1391–1404.  (featured on cover).
  5. “Semi-fluorinated Poly(aryl ether sulfone)s via Step-Growth Polymerization of Perfluorocyclohexene with Bisphenols”, Mukeba, K.M.; Shelar, K.E.; Faradizaji, B.; Borrego, E.I.; Caldona, E.B.; Pittman, Jr., C.U.; Smith, Jr., D.W.; Polymer 2022, 253 124937.
  6. “Triphenylene-Enchained Perfluorocyclobutyl (PFCB) Aryl Ether Polymers. A Modular Synthetic Route to Processable Thermoplastics Approaching Upper Limit Tg and Photostability”, Faradizaji, B.; Borrego, E.I.; Jazi, M.E.; Smith, Jr., D.W. Macromolecules 2021, 54, 7666.
  7. “Superhydrophobic/Superoleophilic Surfaces by Electroless Naoparticle Deposition and Perfluorinated Polymer Modification”, Caldona, E.B.; Brown, H.; Smith, D.W., Jr.; Wipf, D.O. Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 2021, 60, 14239.
  8. “Ring-Forming Polymerization Toward Perfluorocyclobutyl and Ortho-Diynylarene-Derived Materials: From Synthesis to Practical Applications”, Caldona, E.B.; Borrego, E.I.; Shelar, K.E.; Mukeba, K.M.; Smith, Jr., D.W.; Materials 2021, 14(6), 1486.
  9. “Corrosion resistance and surface characterization of a tetrafunctional epoxy-amine coating”, Caldona, E.B.; Wipf, D.O.; Smith, D.W., Jr. Prog. In Org. Coatings 2021, 151, 106045.
  10. “Corrosion Inhibition of Mild steel in Acidic Medium by Simple Azole-Based Aromatic Compounds”, Caldona, E.B.; Zhang. M.; Liang, G.; Hollis, T.K.; Webster, C.E.; Smith, Jr., D.W.; Wipf, D.O. J. Electroanal. Chem. 2021, 880, 114858.
  11. “Surface electroanalytical approaches to organic polymeric coatings” Caldona, E.; Smith, Jr., D.W.; Wipf, D. Polymer International 2021, 70(7), 927-937.

Other Selected Publications

  1. “Handbook of Fluoropolymer Science and Technology” D.W. Smith, Jr.; S. Iacono, S. Yyer, Eds., John Wiley & Sons, 2014.
  2. “Ultra Low Dielectric, Self-cleansing and Highly Oleophobic POSS-PFCP Aryl Ether Polymer Composites” Sharma, B.; Verma, B.; Baur, C; Bykova, J; Mabry, J. M.; Smith Jr., D. W. Journal of Materials Chemistry C 2013 1, 7222-7227.
  3. “Self-initiated Graft Polymerization of Acrylates onto the Surface of Ground Rubber Tire and Composites Thereof”, Yagneswaran, S.; Storer, W.J.; Tomar, N.; Chaur, M.N.; Echegoyen, L.; Smith, Jr., D.W., Polymer Composities 2013, 34, 769-777.
  4. “Acrylonitrile-based Nitric Oxide Releasing Melt-spun Fibers for Enhanced Wound Healing", Lowe, A.; Deng, W.; Smith Jr., D.W.; Balkus Jr., K., Macromolecules 2012, 45, 5894-5900.
  5. “Polyarylene Networks via Bergman Cyclopolymerization of Bis-ortho-diynyl Arene (BODA) Monomers” Smith, Jr., D.W.; Shah, H.V.; Perpall, M.W.; Babb, D.A.; Martin, S.J. Adv. Funct. Mater. 2007, 17, 1237–1246.
  6. “In situ Copolyesters Containing Poly(L-lactide) and Poly(hydroxyalkanote) Units” Haynes, D.; Abayasinghe, N.; Harrison, G.; Burg, K.; Smith, Jr. D.W. Biomacromolecules 2007, 8(4), 1131-1137.
  7. “Facile Preparation of Fluorovinylene Aryl Ether Telechelic Polymers with Dual Functionality for Thermal Chain Extension and Tandem Crosslinking” Iacono, S.; Budy, S.; Smith, D.W., Jr. Chem. Com. 2006, 4844-4846.
  8. “Synthesis and Electronic Factors in Thermal Cyclodimerization of Functionalized Aromatic Trifluorovinyl Ethers” Spraul, B.; Suresh, S.; Jin, J.; Smith, Jr., D.W. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2006, 128, 7055-7064.
  9. “Science and Technology of Perfluorocyclobutyl (PFCB) Aryl Ether Polymers” Iacono, S.; Budy, S.M.; Jin, J.; Smith, Jr., D.W. J. Polym. Sci. Part A:  Polym. Chem. 2007, 45, 5705-5721.  (Invited Highlight Review featured on cover)