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NS Faculty - Byron K. Christmas

Dr. Chrismas photo

Byron K. Christmas

Professor of Chemistry

Office: N809

Dr. Christmas is a Professor of Chemistry, the Founder and Director of the Center for Applied Polymer Science Research (CAPSR), and was the Principle Investigator (PI) for the Welch Foundation Departmental Grant (BJ-0027) 1994 to 2014. He is also the Department Coordinator for the Industrial Cooperative (Co-op) Education Program and has just begun serving as the Chemistry Coordinator for the second time since coming to University of Houston-Downtown in August 1991. 

Prof. Christmas is recognized internationally for his research and teaching in ultraviolet (UV) polymerization chemistry and technology and is a regular participant and contributor in the bi-annual RadTech International North America UV&EB Conferences. RadTech International recognized his contributions with the presentation of the 2006 President’s Award for Research, Education and Leadership in the Development of UV/EB Technology. 

Dr. Christmas holds a B.S. degree in chemistry from Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from the University of Kentucky in Lexington. Prior to his appointment at University of Houston-Downtown, he worked for 13 years as an industrial chemist and technical manager at Celanese and Borden Corporations, respectively. For most of those years, he was involved in UV/EB (electron beam) polymerization chemistry and technology.

  • Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, Murray State University, 1970
  • Master of Science in Inorganic Chemistry, University of Kentucky, 1976
  • Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry,  University of Kentucky, 1978​​​​


"University of Houston-Downtown Students Continue RadTech Tradition in 2012", Byron K. Christmas, RadTech ReportMarch 2012, pp. 13-14.

"The Center for Applied Polymer Science Research:  15 Years of Undergraduate Research in UV Polymerization", Byron K. Christmas, RadTech Report, July/August 2009.

"The Effects of UV Energy Density and Peak Irradiance on the Non-Crosslinked Components in UV Polymerized Clear Films", Teresa Martinez and Byron Christmas, RadTech Report, July/August 2005. 

"The Effects of Changes in Average Acrylate Functionality On the Thermo-mechanical Properties (DMA) and Relative Reactivity (DPC) of UV-Polymerizable Systems", Nadia Lera, Janeth Sanchez, and Byron Christmas, RadTech Report, May/June 2004, pp. 44-52. 

"A Thermodynamic Analysis to Explain the Boiling-Point Isotope Effect for Molecular Hydrogen", co-authored with Dr. D. Blane Baker, William Jewell College, Journal of Chemical Education77, No. 6, June 2000, pp. 732-734.

"The Effects of UV Dose and Peak Irradiance on the Thermal Properties of UV-Polymerized Films", co-authored with Mr. Long Duong, Ms. Carol King (University of Houston-Downtown students) and Ms. Rita Buehner of UCB Chemicals Corporation, RadTech Report, January/February 1999, pp. 18-23; also presented at RadTech '98 Conference in Chicago, IL, April 21, 1998.

"University of Houston-Downtown Building Polymer Science Program Around UV Research", RadTech Report, July/August, 1995, p. 10.

Research Interest

I conduct undergraduate research in ultraviolet (UV) polymerization chemistry and technology.  UV-polymerization is a "green technology" that produces little or no air pollution and consumes a significantly lower amount of energy in the polymerization process than conventional technologies that use thermal energy (heat) to make polymers.  A conventional coating typically contains volatile organic solvents that must be evaporated to dry and "cure" the coating.  This contributes to air pollution and consumes a large amount of energy.  While water-based coatings help reduce air pollution, they require an inordinate amount of heat to evaporate the water, a solvent with a relatively low vapor pressure (high boiling point).

UV-polymerization processes mitigate both of these major environmental problems in that they contain no volatile materials that must be evaporated and the UV energy used is highly efficient, reducing the amount of total energy used. Furthermore, this polymerization process is very rapid, allowing for significant increases in productivity in a commercial process.  Thermal curing processes that take minutes to hours to complete can be reduced to seconds or less by using UV polymerization technology.


Received President's Award for "Research, Education and Leadership in the Development of UV/EB Technology" from RadTech International North America, January 2006.

Selected for "Who's Who Among America's Teachers, 2005", April 2005.
Awarded "UHD Success Builder, 2003" as a result of the nomination of two research students.  This program recognizes faculty who involve themselves significantly in student mentoring activities and is student initiated, 2003.

Selected for "Who's Who Among America's Teachers, 2002", March 2002.
Received the Outstanding Achievement Award from The American Chemical Society and ITT Technical Institute - Houston West, November 5, 1999.
Awarded "Who's Who Among America's Teachers, 2000", October 1999.

Received the Enron "Excellence in Teaching" Award for University of Houston-Downtown, April 1997.​​

Last updated 4/14/2020 7:59 AM