Studying Nonlinear Chemical Dynamics with Numerical Experiments©
John A Pojman
University of Southern Mississippi
Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
Hattiesburg, MS 39406-5043
United States
mail to: john.pojman@usm.edu

In this document a survey of oscillating systems starts with the harmonic oscillator to illustrate solving differential equations numerically. The discussion then proceeds to visualizing oscillations in a "phase plane" or by "phase portrait" analysis. This provides students with an introduction to the graphical techniques used for representing chemical oscillating reactions and the ideas are tied to the concept of an attractor. After the introduction the document explores Oscillatory systems of chemical interest. The models examined include the Lotka-Volterra, the Brusselator, and the Oregonator model of the Belousov-Zhabotinsky oscillating reaction. The document has very clear explanations of each step so that students can follow easily. It also includes some annotation of Mathcad operations. Student hands-on investigation opportunities are placed at key positions in the document. A full set of references is included at the end of the document. Development of this document was made possible by the NSF supported 1997 "Workshop for Integration of Numerical Methods into the Undergraduate Physical Chemistry Curriculum Using the Mathcad Software" at the University of South Alabama, Mobile Alabama.
Editor's Commentary
Audiences: Upper-Division Undergraduate
Pedagogies: Computer-Based Learning
Domains: Physical Chemistry
Topics: Kinetics, Mathematics / Symbolic Mathematics, Mechanisms of Reactions
File NameDescriptionSoftware TypeSoftware Version
dynamics.mcd JCE Mathcad Computational Document Mathcad
dynamics.pdf Read-Only Document
JCE JCE Subscribers only: name and password or institutional IP number access required.
Pojman, J. J. Chem. Educ. 1999, 76, 1310.
Comments to: John A. Pojman at john.pojman@usm.edu
©Copyright 1999 Journal of Chemical Education