Alvarez is an associate professor in the department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and head of the Alvarez Research Group. His expertise in applied chemistry draws on an extensive background in fluid dynamics, polymer and surfactant research.
His research group is currently studying surfactants —such as in hand soap, milk and cosmetics — and how they can be engineered for commercial uses such as environmentally safe dry cleaning and hydraulic fracturing. Alvarez’s lab also studies polymer materials —like plastics— to understand how their chemical composition affects their physical properties, with the goal of creating strong, lightweight materials and plastics that can move when exposed to light. Alvarez has interviewed for stories about how chemicals play a role in our everyday lives.
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