David Hinks

David Hinks

Dean, Wilson College of Textiles,
Cone Mills Distinguished Professor of Textile Chemistry

Polymer and Color Chemistry
Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science

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About David Hinks

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Currently serving as Dean of the Wilson College of Textiles, Dr. David Hinks is proud and privileged to lead the College’s more than 145 full-time employees who mentor approximately 900 undergraduates, 250 graduate students, and upwards of 150 contracts with industry partners and 11 government agencies totaling greater than $10 million.

Hinks is a member of both NC State’s Academy of Outstanding Teachers and Academy of Outstanding Faculty Engaged in Extension, and enjoys serving on the North Carolina Forensic Science Advisory Board. He is also a member of the North Carolina Economic Development Association. In addition to mentoring dozens of graduate students and post docs, visiting scholars and 20-plus undergraduate students in research, he has published more than 150 peer reviewed and conference papers in the area of color science, and forensic and environmental textile chemistry. Five of his former students are professors in China, Korea, Chile, Thailand, and the U.S. and his students regularly win top honors; three of his graduate students have won the AATCC Student Paper Competition; two more have gone on to win prestigious NSF Graduate Fellowships and one was a recipient of the highest undergraduate honor in the U.S., the Barry Goldwater Scholarship.

Born and raised in Derby, England, Hinks worked for Courtaulds Research from 1984 to 1986 prior to attending the University of Leeds, where earned a B.S. and Ph.D. in Colour Chemistry in 1989 and 1993, respectively. In 1993, he moved to NC State’s Wilson College of Textiles as a Post Doctoral Research Associate and later Visiting Assistant Professor investigating the genotoxicity of dyes and pigments. In 1996, he joined Milliken & Co. in Spartanburg, SC, as an R&D Chemist. In Fall 1998, he returned to NC State as Assistant Professor in the College of Textiles. In 2003, he was promoted to Associate Professor and became the Program Director for the then new Polymer and Color Chemistry Program. He was promoted to Full Professor in 2009 and was named the Cone Mills Distinguished Professor of Textile Chemistry in 2010. The same year Hinks was appointed Director of Graduate Programs in the Department of Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science and the Director of the University’s emerging Forensic Sciences Institute. In 2014, he was appointed as Interim Dean of the College of Textiles. In 2016, he was named Dean of the Wilson College of Textiles.



Current research is focused in color perception and measurement and dyestuff design, synthesis and application.

  1. Forensic Analysis of Dyes and Fibers
    Research is on-going to develop an unprecedented Comparative Finished Fiber Analytical Database (COMFFAD) using liquid chromatography and Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry (LC TOF MS) to enable dyed fibers to be rapidly and accurately analyzed for the exact dyes present in the fiber, as well as estimate their concentrations in the fiber. This work is aimed at substantially advancing trace evidence analysis of fibers.
  2. Fiber Chemistry with Reduced Environmental Impact
    Our research group has established a new approach to desizing, scouring and bleaching cotton fibers using a bleach activators at neutral conditions and comparatively low temperature. Good whiteness and very little fiber damage results from our methods. We are working to optimize the conditions for scale up of the research.
  3. Color Perception and Measurement
    Research is on-going to improve the correlation between color perception of, for instance, the magnitude of color differences, whiteness and staining of dyes onto materials, with the spectrophotometric measurement of color.
  4. Dyestuff and Pigment Design and Synthesis
    Many existing commercial colorants are under threat due to occupational and environmental problems associated with their production and use. Hence, new approaches for the design and synthesis of new nongenotoxic colorants are required, as well as new processes for their application that are more environmentally responsible than existing technology. One focus in the College of Textiles has been towards the design of nongenotoxic colorants and intermediates.

Academic Degrees

  • Ph.D Cationic Reactive Dyes for Cellulosic Fibres, The University of Leeds, U.K., 1993
  • B.Sc. (Honors) Colour Chemistry, The University of Leeds, Leeds, U.K., 1989


High Efficiency Ultra-Deep Dyeings Via Mercerized and Cationized Cotton
Cotton, Inc.(1/01/13 - 12/31/14)
A Comparative Study of the Environmental Impacts of Optimized Dyeing Systems Using Natural and Synthetic Dyes and on Cotton
Cotton, Inc.(1/01/13 - 12/31/15)
High Efficiency Ultra Deep Dyeings Via Cationized Cotton
Hanesbrands, Inc.(3/01/13 - 12/31/15)
Efficient, Low Temperature and Neutral Bleaching of Cotton
Cotton, Inc.(1/01/13 - 12/31/15)
Next Generation of High Performance Flame Retardants with Low Environmental/Toxicological Impact
NCSU Research and Innovation Seed Funding Program(7/01/13 - 6/30/14)
High Efficiency Ultra Deep Dyeings Via Mercerized Cationized Cotton
Cotton, Inc.(1/01/12 - 12/31/12)
A PSM in Forensic Science and Engineering
NCSU Professional Science Master(4/01/12 - 11/30/14)
Bloodstain Patterns on Textile Surfaces: A Fundamental Analysis
National Institute of Justice(10/01/12 - 10/31/14)
Method for Decolorization for Nylon Yarn Fluff
Applied ThermoPlastic Resources(2/01/12 - 5/31/13)
Colorant Database for Cationized Cotton
Cotton, Inc.(10/01/11 - 12/31/13)


  • Society of Dyers and Colourists, UK. - Academic Editor
  • International Standards Organization, Tech. Committee 38, SC1, Working Group 7, Color Measurement - Convenor and Delegate
  • AATCC Color Science Symp. Steering Committee - Chair
  • Society of Dyers and Colourists - Chair
  • American Association Textile Chemists and Colorists - Chair
  • American Chemical Society - Chair
  • Inter-Society Color Council - Chair


  • PCC106 - Polymer Synthesis and Environmental Sustainability ,
  • PCC301 - Textile Wet Processing ,
  • PCC401 - Manufacturing and Its Impact on Safety, the Environment, and Society ,
  • PCC474 - Forensic Analytical Chemistry Laboratory ,

Areas of Expertise