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Civil Engineering

Alexander P. Mathews | Professor

Photo of Alexander P. MathewsPh.D. - 1975, University of Michigan
Civil Engineering
M.S. - 1968, University of Rhode Island
Chemical Engineering
B.S. - 1966, University of Madras
Chemical Engineering

Contact Information

2131 Fiedler Hall

Professional Experience 

Professor Mathews is a leading expert in different facets of environmental engineering including water and wastewater engineering, air pollution control, hazardous waste management and risk assessment. He received his Ph.D. in environmental engineering working under Professor Walter J. Weber, a world-renowned expert in physicochemical processes and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. After graduation, Professor Mathews obtained his PE license and worked as a consulting engineer for a period of five years in water and wastewater systems design before joining Kansas State University as an assistant professor of civil engineering in fall 1979. He was promoted to associate professor in 1984 and full professor in 1988. Professor Mathews has the unique experience of being the only faculty member in the environmental area in the department for about the first 15 years of his tenure at K-State, and coordinated both the environmental engineering program in civil engineering in the College of Engineering and the environmental technology program in the College of Technology. As such, he taught all the undergraduate and graduate courses in the environmental area in civil engineering and advised students in the engineering and technology programs. Professor Mathews is well known nationally and internationally as an expert in physicochemical processes affecting the environment and their applications in environmental remediation. He was a visiting professor at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, 7/1991-12/1991; a visiting scholar at the Hong Kong Institute of Science and Technology, Clear Water Bay, Hong Kong, 5/2001-6/2001; and a visiting professor at Gifu University, Gifu Prefecture, Japan, 8/2002-1/2003. Most recently, he received an Oz to Oz fellowship for collaborative research with the University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia, in 2015. Professor Mathews was a faculty fellow at the U.S. Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratory, Champaign, Illinois, working on the management of leaking underground storage tanks. He also served as a faculty fellow with the U.S. Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Port Hueneme, California, where he worked on Navy hazardous waste management issues. Professor Mathews is well known for his engineering design expertise and has been retained as a consultant by engineering companies and government agencies. He was recommended as the expert in the state of Kansas in the environmental area, and was selected to serve as consultant and expert witness for litigation associated with water and wastewater engineering design issues in Kansas.


Professor Mathews’ principal research focus is in the area of physicochemical processes and their applications to environmental remediation, as well as in resource recovery using bioconversion processes. He has received research grants from the National Science Foundation, USDA, USDA and DOD totaling nearly $1.6 million. In the physicochemical processes area, he has conducted research on adsorption processes for the removal of trace organics from water supplies and wastewaters, ozone oxidation technology for control of organic contaminants and the application of nanoparticles in environmental remediation. Professor Mathews has conducted extensive research on the recovery of carbon and nutrients in wastes to produce a biodegradable road deicer substitute for currently used chloride deicers. Sodium and calcium chlorides used for snow and ice control in winter cause water pollution problems through salt accumulation and accelerate corrosion of highway infrastructure. Professor Mathews has published more than 80 publications and made more than 100 technical presentations at national and international meetings. His research publications are well read and cited. Professor Mathews was a participant at three NATO Advanced Study Institutes in Vimeiro, Portugal, in 1988; Azores, Portugal, in 1990; and Chalkidkki, Greece, in 1991. Professor Mathews has been invited as a reviewer and has participated as a panel member for nearly 50 National Science Foundation grant proposal review panel meetings. He has also conducted research grant proposal reviews for the Australian Research Council, Hong Kong Research Grants Council and the Kuwait University Research Foundation. Professor Mathews has served as external examiner for Ph.D. candidates from overseas institutions such as the University of Queensland, Australia; Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, India; University of Sydney, Australia; and University of Madras, India. Professor Mathews hosted a Fulbright Scholar from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in 2007.

Academic Highlights

Professor Mathews has participated in development of the civil engineering department through coordination of the environmental engineering and environmental technology programs and the recruitment of new environmental faculty to the department. As chair of the graduate program during 1992-94, Professor Mathews revised graduate courses in all areas of civil engineering, and developed the 800- and 900-level courses to enhance the Ph.D. degree program. Professor Mathews developed the research infrastructure for environmental engineering in civil engineering through equipment grants from NSF and through several single-investigator research grants. His graduate students have been funded through nationally competitive research grants. He has mentored five postdoctoral fellows and five Ph.D. students. His research publications are well read and cited with more than 1,000 citations. Professor Mathews served the university faculty senate as a member from 1997 to 2003. He was the chair of the faculty affairs committee of the faculty senate, 1998-99, and a member of the executive committee, 2002-03. During his tenure as chair of the faculty affairs committee, major changes were made to the University Handbook procedures that are currently in place. Professor Mathews has served on several national committees including chair of ASCE Control Group on Pre-Engineered Water Systems, 1986-87 and vice chair of the ASCE water treatment subcommittee, 1985-86. He has been a member of the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and surveying FE committee for the past 12 years.