Dynamics of a Forced Exothermic Chemical Reaction

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This Demonstration shows the effect of varying the coolant temperature of a continuous stirred-tank reactor in which an irreversible first-order exothermic chemical reaction takes place.


The system is governed by the following dimensionless equations [1]:




where is the conversion of reactant , is the reactor temperature, is the Damköhler number, is the inverse activation energy, is the heat of reaction, is the heat transfer coefficient, is the coolant forcing function, is the average coolant temperature during forcing, is the forcing amplitude, is the forcing frequency, and is time. The following parameters are considered: , , , , , with . The unforced system, , has a single oscillatory state; increasing the amplitude of the forcing function results in quasi-periodic behavior, followed by a sequence of period-doubling bifurcations leading to chaos. Furthermore, bistability can occur where both states are periodic or one state is periodic and the other chaotic.


Contributed by: Clay Gruesbeck (January 2014)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA




[1] J. C. Mankin and J. L. Hudson, "Oscillatory and Chaotic Behavior of a Forced Exothermic Chemical Reaction," Chemical Engineering Science, 39(12), 1984 pp. 1807–1814.

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