Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Allan H. Harvey

Chemical Engineer


After obtaining his Ph.D. at Berkeley, Dr. Harvey was a National Research Council Postdoctoral Associate at NIST's Gaithersburg, Maryland facility. He then worked in private industry for four years, implementing thermophysical properties and phase equilibria in chemical process simulation software. In 1994, he returned to NIST at its Boulder, Colorado facility. His work involves stewardship of NIST databases for fluid thermophysical properties, representing NIST in international research and standards efforts (particularly those involving properties of water and steam), and performing research to advance knowledge of fluid properties for metrology and industry.  Dr. Harvey also serves as Editor of the Journal of Physical and Chemical Reference Data, which is co-published by NIST and the American Institute of Physics.

Google Scholar Citation Page

Research Interests:

Molecular Modeling for Thermophysical Properties
Much of Dr. Harvey's research involves application of molecular modeling to predict thermophysical properties for systems where measurement is impractical or inaccurate. He collaborates with theoretical chemists and physicists who produce first-principles intermolecular potential energy surfaces that can be used to calculate virial coefficients (corrections to the ideal gas law). Applications include water and its mixtures with common gases (important for humidity standards, combustion gases, and CO2 sequestration), higher virial coefficients of helium and argon (important in metrology), correcting gas-saturation vapor pressure measurements for deviation from ideal-gas behavior, and estimation of the enhancement of mercury vaporization by air.

Properties of CO2-Rich Mixtures
Thermophysical properties of carbon dioxide and CO2-rich mixtures are a focus of current research. This work has been partially funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, and is geared toward properties needed for combustion and synthesis gases in advanced power cycles, properties for carbon capture and sequestration, and possible use of supercritical CO2 as a working fluid in solar, nuclear, and other power cycles.

Modeling Dielectric and Optical Properties of Fluids
The dielectric constant and refractive index of fluids are important in a variety of practical situations, and also are needed for certain applications in metrology.  Dr. Harvey has worked to apply molecular and thermophysical information to the estimation and correlation of these properties in several contexts, including a model for the dielectric constant of natural gas mixtures, a description of the effect of dissolved air on the refractive index of water at UV and visible frequencies, and computer simulation for testing mixing rules for the static dielectric constant of aqueous mixtures at conditions relevant to geochemistry.

Standards for Properties of Water and Aqueous Systems
Dr. Harvey is a leader in international efforts to produce standards for the thermophysical properties of water in all its phases (including the “steam tables” widely used in industry), and of important aqueous mixtures.  He currently serves as Chair of the Working Group on Thermophysical Properties of Water and Steam of the International Association for the Properties of Water and Steam (IAPWS).  Current and recent projects include a new nist-equation of state for the properties of heavy water, new standard representations of the sublimation and melting curves of ice, and standards for industrial application of the thermodynamic properties of seawater.


Honorary Fellow, International Association for the Properties of Water and Steam (2016)

Fellow, American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) (2013)

NIST Bronze Medal (2011)
For application of molecular-based calculations to practice for advanced power generation cycles, humidity standards, and fundamental metrology

NIST Measurement Services Award (1996)
For development of the Standard Reference Database for the properties of water and steam


Created October 9, 2019, Updated April 6, 2020