The Laboratory

Our History

The Laboratory of Formulation, Interfaces, Rheology and Processes (FIRP); originally Interfacial Phenomena and Oil Recovery (Fenómenos Interfaciales y Recuperación del Petróleo, in Spanish); began its activities 39 years ago in the month of October 1978. FIRP Laboratory is a research group attached to the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Los Andes, in the city of Mérida-Venezuela. It is dedicated to fundamental to applied research, professional training in the field of Interfacial phenomena, surfactants and their applications, and the development of solutions for the national and international productive sector. At the beginning of the 1990s, the basic research of the FIRP group made it clear that the phenomenology of emulsified systems could be described in the same way as oil, be it a crude oil, an organic solvent, or lanolin, olive or flaxseed oil.

Consequently, it became clear that the developed know-how could be used to solve a wide variety of problems in various sectors. When the FIRP Lab received the Fundacite award-grant in 1995, it was in a period of change and expansion both in number of members and topics. At the end of the 90s, researchers from the School of Chemical Engineering (ULA, Mérida) were working on other problems due to an increase in the demand for support from the oil industry, particularly in the matter of drilling mud, asphalt emulsions and oil dehydration…


The FIRP laboratory it is located on Av. Don Tulio Febres Cordero, in the Old School of Engineering, 3rd floor. Universidad de Los Andes, Mérida 5101, Venezuela.

The Universidad de Los Andes (ULA)
 We are proud to belong to the University of Los Andes, a university with a long history. Venezuelan public university founded on September 21, 1810. The Faculty of Engineering founded on October 14, 1936. With the arrival in the 70s of professors from other latitudes and with a great impulse from international organizations, the environment created for the Creation in 1974 of the Chemical Engineering degree, whose founders are also the founder of the FIRP Laboratory, Prof. Jean Louis Salager.

La Universidad de Los Andes se encuentra esparcida por Mérida en la zona norte y cerca del centro de la ciudad. El Rectorado de la ULA forma parte del casco antiguo del centro de la ciudad.

The city of Mérida is located at an altitude of 1600 m.a.s.l. in a valley nestled in the Andes Mountains. It is surrounded by extraordinary natural landscapes of mountainous type, for all tastes from the hiker to the family. Via El Andean Paramo you can also visit the Observatory and typical villages, as well as tourist sites, such as the Mucubají lagoon, among others.



​The FIRP Lab Network has prestigious associated laboratories at the University of Los Andes, in Venezuela and around the world (North America, Europe, Middle East).​


The FIRP Laboratory uses a wide range of reliable suppliers, both of chemical inputs and specialized equipment.


The FIRP Laboratory is associated with a large number of academic institutions for the teaching of industrial and applied chemistry, associated with Surfactants, Formulation and related aspects.

Industrial partners

Certain companies with which we have worked have become industrial partners of the FIRP Laboratory. They are more than our clients, they are our privileged partners, and as such we offer a special service, both in terms of benefits, as well as in terms of priority of service and cost.

Our partners are in various sectors:

  • Chemical industry
  • Oil industry
  • Pharmaceutical industry
  • Paper industry
  • among other…

We are generally occupied for several months in certain activities such as the development of new products or certain types of personnel training, and we have important commitments to train researchers, particularly at postgraduate degrees. The point is that it has been difficult at times to serve our industrial clients with the urgency of the case, and we have had to set priorities in service. On the other hand, we have verified that a company with which we have a continuous relationship over time knows us better and knows how to take better advantage of us, and for us it is a company with which we can anticipate needs and improve working conditions, the efficiency of service and associated cost.

Permanent courses