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Jeffrey H. Harwell

Jeffrey H. Harwell


Asahi Glass Chair,
George Lynn Cross Research Professor,
School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering

B.A., Texas A&M University (1974);
M.Div., Western Conservative Baptist Seminary (1977);
M.S. Texas A&M University (1979);
Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin (1983);


OU Chemical Engineering Professor (1982 to Present)
Associate Dean of Engineering  (1998-2005)
Director  of Chemical Engineering (1991-1998)
NSF Program Director, Interfacial, Transport and Separation Processes Program, (July 1988 to July 1989)
Principal, Surbec Environmental, LLC., Norman, Oklahoma (1996 to Present)
Principal, Surfactant Associates, Inc., Norman, Oklahoma (1987 to Present)


(405) 325-7761
Institute for Applied Surfactant Research
Surfactant Associates, Inc.
Surbec Environmental, LLC.
Southwest Nanotechnologies, Inc.
Chemical Flooding Technologies. LLC

Research Interests

Almost all of my research concerns surfactants and colloid science; much of it is directly related to applications. I am very interested in seeing people use what I have discovered or developed. Consequently, the importance of surfactants and colloid science in many different industrial applications involves me in a variety of technologies.

My research ranges from applied areas such as enhanced oil recovery (chemical flooding), environmental remediation (in-situ ground water remediation) or consumer products, to basic areas such as microemulsion theory and surfactant precipitation, which support the large number of industries that utilize surfactants. All of these topics are connected through the importance of surfactants in controlling interfacial properties in engineering systems.

We currently have a very large effort in surfactant/polymer flooding (SP) for enhanced oil recovery. Our industry partner in the research is Chemical Flooding Technologies of Tulsa ( We’ve successfully completed several single well tests in high salinity, low permeability reservoirs and a four well pilot is being planned.

Recently I have found myself being drawn into nanotechnology research, especially in the area of fullerene nanotubes hybrid (surface active) nanoparticles. Surfactants will play critical roles in the evolution of this technology, from catalyst preparation, to dispersal of nanotubes in a matrix, to development of the separations processes required to produce commercial quantities of fullerene nanotubes. Additionally, surface active nanoparticles may have important roles to play in permanent emulsions, intelligent oil fields of the future, and biofuel conversions. Nanotubes have shown significant early promise for stabilizing foams in high salinity brines and for serving as targeted surfactant-delivery vehicles to reduce the amount of surfactant required for enhanced oil recovery by releasing injected surfactant only at the oil/water interface.

Selected Publications

Rui, Yuan, Guo, Jiaxi, S. Kotera, T. Nakanishi, J.H. Harwell, B.P. Grady, “Electrical, Mechanical and Crystallization Properties of Ethylene-Tetrafluoroethylene Copolymer/Multiwalled Carbon Nanotube Composites,” J. App. Poly. Sci., 131, 41052, 2014.

Ngoc, D. Papvasilliou, B. Shiau, J.H. Harwell, D. Resasco, “Transport of Nanoparticles and Kinetics in Packed Beds: A Numerical Approach with Lattice Boltzmann Simulations and Particle Tracking” International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, 72, 319-328, 2014.

G. Yu, K. Karinshak, J.H. Harwell, B.P. Grady, A. Woodside, and M. Ghosh, “Interfacial Behavior and Water Solubility of Various Asphaltenes at High Temperature,” Colloids and Surfaces A, Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects, 441, 378-388, 2014.

Kadhum, MJ; Swatske, DP; Harwell, JH; Resasco, DE; Shiau, BJ, "Fate and transport of nanohybrids in subsurface media for oil field applications," 5th International Conference on Porous Media and Their Applications in Science, Engineering and Industry, June 22-27, ECI Symposium Series, 2014.

Bang, Sangho; Raj, Ajay; Wan, Wei; Hsu, Tzu-Ping; Shiau, Bor Jier Ben; Rojas, Mario R; Budhathoki, Mahesh; Lohateeraparp, Prapas; Harwell, Jeffrey H, “Recovery of Oil from High Salinity Reservoir Using Chemical Flooding: From Laboratory to Field Tests,” SPE-165251-MS, SPE Enhanced Oil Recovery Conference, 2-4 July, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2013.

M. J. Kadhum, D. P. Swatske, J. H. Harwell, B. Shiau, D. E. Resasco, “Propagation of Interfacially Active Carbon Nanohybrids in Porous Media,” Energy & Fuels, 27(11), 6518, 2013.

Luis C. Villamizar, Prapas Lohateeraparp, Jeffrey H. Harwell, Daniel E. Resasco, Bor Jier Shiau, “Dispersion Stability and Transport of Nanohybrids through Porous Media,” Transport in Porous Media, 96 (1), 63-81, 2013.

Drexler, Santiago; Faria, Jimmy; Ruiz, M Pilar; Harwell, Jeffrey H; Resasco, Daniel E, “Amphiphilic nanohybrid catalysts for reactions at the water/oil interface in subsurface reservoirs,” Energy & Fuels, 26, 4, 2231-2241, 2012.

Shiau, Bor Jier Ben; Hsu, Tzu-Ping; Lohateeraparp, Prapas; Roberts, Bruce L; Harwell, Jeffrey H, Improved Oil Recovery by Chemical Flood from A High Salinity Reservoir, SPE-154260-MS, SPE Improved Oil Recovery Symposium, Tulsa, Oklahoma, April 2012.

Baez, Jorge; Ruiz, Maria P; Faria, Jimmy; Harwell, Jeffrey H; Shiau, Ben; Resasco, Daniel E,”Stabilization of Interfacially-Active-Nanohybrids/Polymer Suspensions and Transport through Porous Media,”  SPE-154052-MS, SPE Improved Oil Recovery Symposium, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 2012.

Hsu, Tzu-Ping; Lohateeraparp, Prapas; Roberts, Bruce L; Wan, Wei; Lin, Zhixun; Wang, Xiaoguang; Budhathoki, Mahesh; Shiau, Ben; Harwell, Jeffrey H, “Improved oil recovery by chemical flood from high salinity reservoirs-single-well surfactant injection test,” SPE-154838-MS,        SPE EOR Conference at Oil and Gas West Asia, 16-18 April, Muscat, Oman, 2012.

Chavez Majluf, Nabil; Shiau, Bor Jier Ben; Harwell, Jeffrey H; Roberts, Bruce L; Lin, Zhixun; Yuill, Sean, “Effect of Neutral Salts and Temperature on the Partitioning Coefficient of Ethyl Formate Used for Enhanced Oil Recovery Assessment,” SPE-154336-MS, SPE Improved Oil Recovery Symposium, 14-18 April, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 2012.

J.E. McCray, G.R. Tick, J.W. Jawitz, J.S. Gierke, M.L. Brusseau, R.W. Falta, R.C. Knox, D.A. Sabatini, M.D. Annable, J.H. Harwell and A.L. Wood, "Remediation of NAPL Source Zones: Lessons Learned from Field Studies at Hill and Dover AFB," Ground Water, 49(5): 727–744, 2011.

J.J. Lopata, K.M. Werts, J.F. Scamehorn, J.H. Harwell, B.P. Grady, "Thermodynamics of Mixed Anionic/Nonionic Surfactant Adsorption on Alumina," J. Colloid Interface Sci. 342(2), 415-426, 2010.

Tri T. Phan, Anuradee Witthayapanyanon, Jeff H. Harwell, David A. Sabatini, "Microemulsion-Based Vegetable Oil Detergency Using an Extended Surfactant," J. Surfact. Deterg., 13(3): 313-319, 2010.

Anuradee Witthayapanyanon, Tri Thanh Phan, Todd C. Heitmann, Jeffrey H. Harwell and David A. Sabatini, "Interfacial Properties of Extended-Surfactant-Based Microemulsions and Related Macroemulsions," J. Surfact. Deterg., 13(2):127–134, 2010.

Tri T. Phan, J.H. Harwell, and David A. Sabatini, "Effects of Triglyceride Molecular Structure on Optimum Formulation of Surfactant-Oil-Water Systems," J. Surfactants Detergents, 13(2):189–194, 2010.                         .

Linh D. Do, Anuradee Withayyapayanon, Jeffrey H. Harwell, and David A. Sabatini, “Environmentally Friendly Vegetable Oil Microemulsions Using Extended Surfactants and Linkers,” J. Surfactants Detergents, 12:91–99, 2009.

Edgar J. Acosta, Erika Szekeres, Jeffrey H. Harwell, Brian P. Grady and David A. Sabatini , “Morphology of ionic microemulsions: comparison of SANS studies and the net-average curvature (NAC) model,” Soft Matter, 5, 551 – 561, 2009.

S. Soontravanich, J.F. Scamehorn, J.H. Harwell, and D.A. Sabatini, “Interaction Between an Anionic and an Amphoteric Surfactant. Part II. Precipitation,” J. Surfactants Detergents, 12:145–154, 2009.


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Dr. Harwell and Dr. Shaiu work on Oil Recovery.  See the article from the Journal of Petroleum Technology.