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Peter M. Smith

Professor/Division Chair

Chemistry Faculty


Program Coordinator for:

  • Chemistry
  • Materials Science

smithpm@westminster.edu

(724) 946-7299

curriculum vitae


Campus Location:
   Hoyt Science Resources Center
   215
Mailbox: 28


About Me


I have been at Westminster College since 2002 and currently serve as Professor of Chemistry and Chair of the Division of Biological, Chemical, and Environmental Sciences.

I earned my B.S. and Ph.D. in Chemistry (Inorganic) from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

I regularly teach CHE 180 - Inorganic Chemistry, CHE 261 - Organic Chemistry I, CHE 375 - Green Chemistry, and CHE 391 - Advanced Inorganic Chemistry.

My research students and I are invesitgating methods to extract and purify critical rare earth materials from scrap and end-of-life technological products. We are currently studying the use of a class of compunds called deep eutectic solvents in the extraction process. Deep eutectic solvents are typically created by mixing tetraalkylammonium salts with long chain fatty acids. These mixtures can be made so that they are liquids at room temperature and will not mix with water. We are interested in using these deep eutectic solvents because they are much less volatile and flammable than traditional extraction solvents (e.g. kerosene). We hope to be able to make the recovery of critical materials more environmentally benign.

I am also the director of our Rural Discovery Scholars Program. This program provides financial and mentoring support for academically talented students will demonstrable finanical need. The goal of this project is to prepare students for success in STEM careers or graduate school. If you are interested in this program, please visit http://www.westminster.edu/rds