photo of Rod Russell

Engineering Scientist Associate

Office Address: CPE 5.136

Email Address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mobile Phone: 512-971-5747

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Research Highlight

We develop tests to speed up and simplify the evaluation of EOR treatments for interrelated mechanical proppant/crack interactions and chemically enhanced permeability. We recently created an easy to use test system to measure proppant embedment in preserved shale from both initial closure stress and long-term creep. This is part of a larger project that evaluates the effect of treatment chemicals on shale. Using these tests, we can quickly evaluate a suite of chemicals to see which have the best combination of enhanced recovery and negative side effects.

Research Projects

Shale Characterization: chemical and mechanical properties, interaction with treatment chemicals.

View Resume

Rod Russell

Research Engineering CV

Center for Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering, UT Austin


Engineering Scientist Associate

Lab Manager: supervising lab safety, design and review of experimental techniques, instruction of undergraduate and graduate students, writing research reports, planning research programs and experiments, design of test equipment and fixtures.

  • Supervise and mentor experimental programs for graduate students.
  • Catalog and maintain an extensive collection of core samples.
  • Oversee the use of hazardous chemicals.
  • Oversee high pressure and high temperature tests.

Institute for Advanced Technology, UT Austin


Engineering Scientist Associate

Acting Principal Investigator: writing research funding proposals, planning research programs and experiments, managing research programs, writing up results in reports and papers, and giving presentations. Designing specialized instruments and instrumentation techniques. Designing and executing unique and unusual experiments. Making and characterizing various energetic materials such as explosives, thermite-like RMs, and propellants.

  • Conducted most of energetic material work at the IAT.
  • Designed a new method–vacuum calorimetry–for characterizing total energy release in deflagration and detonation events.
  • Co-inventor of a reactive material filled projectile (patent pending).
  • Co-inventor of an optical dynamic pressure measurement technique.
  • Co-inventor of a novel scattered light instrumentation triggering technique.


High Strain Rate Laboratory at Georgia Tech


Technician / Lab Manager    

Maintained a single-stage gas gun and the accompanying laboratory. Taught graduate students and post docs how to perform experiments and use laboratory equipment and fabrication facilities. Designed lab fixtures and hardware. Designed and installed very high-pressure air handling systems, vacuum systems, and gun range structures. Also worked with other research groups on several other materials science related projects and programs working with ceramics, extrusion techniques, and mechanical testing.

  • Assisted in the creation of the first gas gun lab at Georgia Tech.
  • Oversaw the relocation and reinstallation of the gas-gun laboratory for twice.
  • Redesigned lab layout and gun modifications for three locations.
  • Created and maintained fabrication facilities to support the laboratory.
  • Worked as an independent contractor--microscopy and x-ray diffraction analysis.
  • Selected for summer research internship at Sandia National Laboratory.



2008    Bachelor of Science     New York Institute of Technology     

B.S. in interdisciplinary studies with concentration on technical writing combined with transfer credits from Georgia Tech.

1994-1998       Course Credits Georgia Institute of Technology

Concentration on metallurgy at School of Materials Science and Engineering. Completed all materials science courses. Trained in mechanical testing, metallography, optical and scanning electron microscopy, X-Ray diffractometry, organic chemistry, physical chemistry, and core engineering skills (165 Quarter Hours).

1990-1992       Course Credits Columbus State University

Concentration on pre-engineering and math education (106 Quarter Hours).

1984-1988                   3rd Ranger Battalion, US Army Airborne School, Ranger School.



Weiwei Wu, Junhao Zhou, Pratik Kakkar, Rodney Russell, and Mukul Mani Sharma, “An Experimental Study on Conductivity of Unpropped Fractures in Preserved Shales” DOI IDSPE-184858-PAPublisherSociety of Petroleum EngineersSourceSPE Production & OperationsVolume34Issue02


Weiwei Wu, Rodney Russell, and Mukul M. Sharma, “An Experimental Method to Study the Impact of Fracturing Fluids on Fracture Conductivity in Heterogeneous Shales”, Unconventional Resources Technology Conference, Austin, Texas, URTeC: 2669936

Weiwei Wu, Pratik Kakkar, Junhao Zhou, Rodney Russell, and Mukul M. Sharma, “An Experimental Investigation of the Conductivity of Unpropped Fractures in Shales”, DOI IDSPE-184858-MSPublisherSociety of Petroleum EngineersSourceSPE Hydraulic Fracturing Technology Conference and Exhibition, 24–26 January, The Woodlands, Texas, USAPublication Date201711, Chicago, Illinois.


R. Russell, S. Bless, A. Blinkova, and T. Chen, “Sporicidal Effects of Iodine-Oxide Thermite Reaction Products,” 2011 American Physical Society (APS) Shock Conference, American Physical Society Shock Compression of Condensed Matter Topical Group, June 26-July 1, 2011, Chicago, Illinois.

R. Russell, S. Bless, A. Blinkova, M. Pantoya, and T. Chen, “Impact-Driven Reactions that Produce Sporicidal Gases,” 26th International Symposium on Ballistics (ISB), September 12-16, 2011, Miami, Florida.

R. Russell, S. Bless, and M. Pantoya, “Impact-Driven Thermite Reactions with Iodine Pentoxide and Silver Oxide,” Journal of Energetic Materials, vol. 29, no. 2, 175-192, April-June 2011.


S. Bless, R. Russell, D. Berry, and S. Levinson, “Damage Evolution in Ballistic Impact of Glass Plates,” 16th American Physical Society (APS) Topical Conference on Shock Compression of Condensed Matter, June 28-July 3, 2009, Nashville, TN.


R. Russell, S. J. Bless, and B. Pedersen, "Investigation of New Reactive Materials for Electromagnetic Gun-Launched Projectiles," Combined Warheads and Ballistics Classified Symposium (WBCS), February 11-14, 2008, Monterey, California.


S. J. Bless, T. Chen, and R. Russell, “Impact on Glass Laminates,” 23rd International Symposium on Ballistics (ISB), April 16-20, 2007, Tarragona, Spain.


S. J. Bless and R. Russell, “Penetrating Projectiles with Energetic Fills,” Society for Experimental Mechanics Annual Conference & Exposition on Experimental & Applied Mechanics, June 5-7, 2006, Adam’s Mark, St. Louis, MO.


R. Russell, A. Ivey, A. Bernstein, and W. Grigsby, “Laser Scattering Technique for Optical Time of Arrival Triggering,” 2005 Annual Conference of the Aeroballistic Range Association (ARA), October 2-7, 2005, Houston, Texas.

S. J. Levinson, S. J. Bless, W. G. Reinecke, D. Wilson , K. Schroder, D. J. Gee, and R. Russell, “Blast Effects from Inert and Reactive Hypervelocity Projectiles,” American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) 4th Biennial National Forum on Weapon System Effectiveness (WSE), October 18-20, 2005, Austin, Texas.

S. J. Bless, K. Tarcza, M. Huerta, R. Russell, and E. Taleff, “Deflection and Fracture of Tungsten Rods by Yawed Impact,” 22nd International Symposium on Ballistics (ISB), November 14-18, 2005, Vancouver, BC, Canada.


J. Justiss, S. Levinson, R. Russell, “Microwave Doppler Measurements of Projectile Velocity in a Single-Stage Gas Gun,” DTIC Accession Number : ADA419417, Jan 2004


R. Russell, K. Tarcza, H. Hart, S. J. Bless, and D. Fuentes, “Reverse Ballistic Experiment Demonstrates Varying Performance of Long Rod Penetrators,” 54th Meeting of the Aeroballistic Range Association (ARA), October 19-24, 2003, Santa Fe, New Mexico. 54th Meeting of the Aeroballistic Range Association Proceedings, section 2, paper #4, 2003.

S. J. Levinson, R. Russell, and M. E. Erengil, “Gun-Launched Optical Transmission with a VCSEL,” 54th Meeting of the Aeroballistic Range Association (ARA), October 19-24, 2003, Santa Fe, New Mexico. 54th Meeting of the Aeroballistic Range Association Proceedings, section 11, paper #3.


R. Russell, S. J. Bless, and T. Beno, “Impact Induced Failure Zones in Homalite Bars,” 12th American Physical Society (APS) Topical Group Meeting on Shock Compression of Condensed Matter, June 24-29, 2001, Atlanta, GA. Proceedings of the 12th American Physical Society Topical Group Meeting on Shock Compression of Condensed Matter, AIP Conference Proceedings 620, pp. 811-814.

G. Kennedy, L. Ferranti, R. Russell, M. Zhou, and N. Thadhani, “Dynamic High-Strain-Rate Mechanical Behavior of Microstructurally Biased Two-Phase TIB2 + AL2O3 Ceramics,” J. Appl. Phys. 91, 1921, 2002.

G. Kennedy, L. Ferranti, R. Russell, M. Zhou, and N. Thadhani, “Influence of Microstructural Bias on the Hugoniot Elastic Limit and Spall Strength of Two-Phase TiB2 + Al2O3 Ceramics,” AIP Conf. Proc. 620, 755, 2002.


N. Thadhani, K. Vandersall, R. Russell, R. Graham, G. Holman, and M. Anderson, “Shock Compression of Al+Fe2O3 Powder Mixtures of Different Volumetric Distributions,” AIP Conf. Proc. 429, 553, 1998.


N. N. Thadhani, V. Subramanian, R. Russell, D. Savage, and Y. M. Gupta, “The Effect of Pulse Duration on Shock-Induced Chemical Reaction in Ti-Si Powder Mixtures,” AIP Conf. Proc. 370, 709, 1996.

Research Experience


Engineering Scientist Associate, Center for Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering, University of Texas at Austin


Engineering Scientist Associate, Institute for Advanced Technology, University of Texas at Austin


Laboratory Manager and Research Assistant, High Strain Rate Laboratory, Georgia Institute of Technology


D. Wilson, R. Russell, S. Bless, J. Granier, B. Pedersen, “Systems And Methods For Neutralizing Explosive Devices”, Patent Application Number 13/291173, Filed November 8, 2011

D. Wilson, K. Schroder, D. Willauer, S. Bless, R. Russell, “Nano-Enhanced Kinetic Energy Particles”, Patent Application Number 11/813,611, Filed January 10, 2006


Communications Chair for Atlanta chapter of ASM International                 1997-2000

Member of American Physical Society                       1995-Present

Member of Society of Petroleum Engineers              2012-Present

Additional Interests

I am an artist/designer skilled in the use of most artistic media and industrial fabrication technologies. In addition to typical painting and sculpture, I have designed several logos for musical groups and small companies. I am presently designing furniture, light fixtures, household hardware, and cabinetry.

Additional Experience

1992-2000       Various Theatrical and Staging Companies

Stage Builder and Booth Installer     Atlanta, GA

Built performance stages and trade show booths part-time on holidays and weekends in addition to working for and going to school at Georgia Tech.

1989-1992       Peek Pavement Marking

Crew Leader   Columbus, GA

Supervised a road striping crew. Managed subordinates, coordinated with state inspectors and paving company owners to stripe roads in a large multi-state area. Surveyed roads for future striping, laid out passing lanes and intersections, drove a road-striping truck.

  • Supervised subordinates for several weeks at a time while hundreds of miles from home office.
  • Maintained a small fleet of vehicles and managed warehouse full of equipment and supplies in North Carolina.

1988-1992       Scott Self Knives

Knife, Sword, and Martial Arts Weapon Maker      Columbus, GA

Trained in the manufacture and fabrication of collector quality knives, swords, and traditional martial arts weapons.

1984-1988       3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, US Army

Team Leader  Ft. Benning, GA

Supervised subordinates in a high intensity special operations environment.

Company Armorer

Maintained an inventory of Special Operations weapons and weapon systems.

  • Selected to compete in the 1986 Best Ranger Competition