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Peter M. Smith

Peter M. Smith


Chemistry Faculty

(724) 946-7299

Campus Location:
   Hoyt Science Resources Center
Mailbox: 197

About Me

I have been at Westminster College since 2002 and currently serve as Professor of Chemistry and Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Chemistry.

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, and CHE 391 - Advanced Inorganic Chemistry.

My research students and I are investigating 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 compounds 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

Addtionally, I am heavily involved in the American Chemical Society. I serve in PROF - The Professional Development Divsion and in the Divsion of Industrial & Engineering Chemistry.