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- B.S., New Mexico State University 1972
- M.S., New Mexico State University 1977
- Ph.D., New Mexico State University 1990
Dr. Lara’s research involves the chemistry of natural and synthetic phyllosilicates with an emphasis on clays. Phyllosilicates can be chemically altered (tailored clays) to make them have permanent pore sizes of dimensions that make them useful for selective adsorption.
These clays have large internal surfaces with chemical properties that are very distinct from the chemical properties of the external surfaces. A main research interest is to differentiate between heterogeneous phase interactions of gases or liquids with these two different types of sites on the clays. Interactions at the solid surface areas are being characterized for molecules of various sizes and with different polarities and functional groups.
The chemical altering of clays is accomplished principally by cation-exchange. Ultimately, clays can be synthesized with catalytic properties for many types of chemical reactions, including syntheses rearrangements, decompositions, and substitutions. These adsorbent materials have been used for both cation and anion extraction from aqueous solutions, for particulate and PAH adsorption from the effluent of incineration processes, and for difficult resolutions of racemic mixturees.