Thermokinetic Oscillator

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For a thermokinetic oscillator, the reaction scheme is , . The second reaction is exothermic with a reaction enthalpy ; it has a substantial activation energy . The concentration of component is constant, the temperature of the surroundings is , the density and specific heat of the reaction mixture are and , the area for heat transfer is , the volume of the system is , , , and . The relevant rate equations are solved and plotted for and , the latter scaled up by 1000 for convenience.

Contributed by: Benson R. Sundheim (January 2012)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA



The reaction produces heat, accelerating the reaction and reducing the concentration of . As you vary the parameters, the interplay of these opposing tendencies can produce oscillations and bifurcation behavior.


[1] P. Gray and S. K. Scott, Chapter 4, Chemical Oscillations and Instabilities, New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.

[2] D. A. Frank-Kamenetskii and I. E. Salnikov. Zhur. Fiz. Khim., 17, 1943 p. 79.

[3] thermkin.xmds. (Dec 28 2012)

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