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About Jeffrey H Harwell

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) and 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 flooding 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 have multiple field-scale pilot tests in various phases of development.
Recently I have found myself being drawn into nanotechnology research, especially in the area of fullerene nanotube 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.


Present Faculty Member, University of Oklahoma