Cockrell School of Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin


Ben Caudle

Dr. Ben H. Caudle was born in Midlothian, TX in 1923, attending school in Dallas and graduating in 1939 at the age of 16. On his father’s recommendation, Caudle attended junior college before coming to UT Austin, where he studied chemistry and graduated in 1943 with a BS in natural sciences-chemistry.

Out of school, he moved to Bartlesville, Okla., to work at the US Bureau of Mines’ refining research lab before being drafted into the US Army. As an enlisted infantryman, Caudle served in the Third Army in Europe, and under General Patton’s direction, saw combat at the Battle of the Bulge and the crossing of the Rhine before the end of the war. PFC Caudle returned home later in 1945, disembarking from a Liberty boat in New York City on Victory in Japan Day. Upon completing his war service, Caudle returned briefly to the Bureau of Mines before relocating back to Dallas to be closer to his family. He took a position as Research Scientist with Atlantic Refining in the old Magnolia Petroleum building, initially going to work developing an apparatus for measuring relative permeability. Not long after that, Caudle met Edna Lucille Stewart, known as Teal to her family and friends, and they married in Dallas in 1948.

After presenting on Secondary Recovery at one of the Atlantic Lecture Series at the UT PGE Department, Caudle decided to return to UT Austin as a petroleum engineering PhD student, studying under the supervision of Dr. Hal Silberberg while working for the Texas Petroleum Research Council. Upon graduating in 1963, he promptly joined the faculty of UT PGE—then the UT Department of Petroleum Engineering—and he served as chairman from 1963-67. 

Over the next four decades, Caudle led pioneering research efforts at UT PGE, developing numerous new secondary recovery technologies, including WAG injection. He studied oil recovery techniques using sand models and as digital computers became available he adapted this work to create the stream line model for predicting reservoir performance under numerous drive mechanisms and secondary recovery techniques. He authored two reservoir engineering books through the Society of Petroleum Engineers. He also steered the department through numerous waves of faculty additions, in the process mentoring many of UT PGE’s most distinguished current faculty members. Most importantly, Caudle taught and mentored multiple generations of UT PGE alumni, in some cases teaching the sons, daughters, and even grandchildren of some of his earliest students.

Caudle was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering in 1988.  He retired and was granted Professor Emeritus status in 1997, but still taught classes from time to time until 2009. In 2003, Teal passed away; today, Caudle continues to reside in Austin, next door to his son Brian Caudle, UT BSAE ’77, UT MSAE ’80, Vice President of Walter P. Moore & Assoc., a civil engineering firm. His other son, Alan Caudle, UT BSPE ’79, owns Texas Blueberries farm outside of Grapeland, Texas.

 

Questions?

Contact Catherine Campbell at 512-471-3208