• Clean Water

    Developing sustainable materials to remove emerging pollutants

  • The Magic of Chemistry

    Exciting the next generation of scientists

  • Making it in Chemistry

    Designing innovative tools for teaching and research

  • Clean Energy

    Designing sustainable catalysts for biofuel production

  • Art conservation

    Developing new methods to better to better protect museum artifacts

  • Sustainable Agriculture

    Providing fresh local produce through hydroponics

Research Overview

Our research interests are focused on the role of chemistry and materials science in sustainable development. Projects have included the development of novel carbon based catalysts derived from renewable resources, the synthesis of nano-particle based solutions for water purification,  and the development of photocatalyst to degrade emerging pollutants. Our research efforts have been funded by the Research Corporation, the National Science Foundation, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Outreach - Fun with Ferrofluids

As part of our outreach efforts, a week-long summer "nano-camp" was held where middle school students were introduced to the nano-chemistry world. They learned to synthesize nanomaterials including pigments, sensors, and magnetic nanocomposites for environmental pollution cleanup.

Recent Projects

Carbon nanoparticles from sustainable sources

Multi-functional carbon nanoparticles prepared through the acid dehydration of glycerol

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New materials from crab shell waste

Anti-microbial coatings made through the self-assembly of chitosan

Magnetic carbon materials to clean water

Carbon nanoparticle / magnetite composites used to remove heavy metals in polluted water

Carbon/Iron coated sand to remove arsenic

Carbon nanoparticle / ferrihydrite coated sand used to remove arsenic contamination.


Undergraduate research in our lab is open to students at all levels and we also frequently mentor high school students.                                         

All presentations and publications are a result of the work done in our laboratory at Radford University by undergraduates and shows that through hard work and dedication, high quality science can be accomplished even at the undergraduate level.

Our students have entered a number of research competitions and have won many awards including “best presentation" awards at all levels and have garnered over $100K in external funding to support their research.

Preparation of highly functionalized carbon nanoparticles using a one-step acid dehydration of glycerol

Christopher S. Estes, Angela Y. Gerard, J. Dennis Godward, Spencer B. Hayes, Sabrina H. Liles, Jacob L. Shelton, Tyreek S. Stewart, Rebekah I. Webster, H. Francis Webster

Carbon 2019 ,142, 547-557

Light Induced Degradation of Nitrocellulose Lacquer Thin Films for Conservation of Art Objects

Rebekah I Webster and H. Francis Webster

MRS Advances , Volume 2 , Issue 63: International Materials Research Congress XXVI , 2017 , pp. 3951 - 3957


Dr. Webster teaches general and physical chemistry as well as electronics for scientists and a number of other special topics classes. He earned a Ph.D. from Virginia Tech and his research interests are related to chemistry’s role in sustainability including the development of novel nano-materials derived from renewable resources. 

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  1. 1992

    PH.D Chemistry

    Virginia Tech
  2. 1985-1988

    Peace Corps, Olsobip, Papua New Guinea

    Peace Corps, Papua New Guinea
  3. 1985

    M.S. Chemistry

    Virginia Tech
  4. 1981

    B.S. Biochemistry

    Virginia Tech