New Jersey Institute of Technology
Department of Mathematical Sciences

Capstone Laboratory

The Belousov-Zhabotinsky Chemical Reaction

Instructor: Peter G. Petropoulos

This semester the course considered the BZ reaction in a closed reactor (glass beaker) with continuous stirring (spatially homogeneous reaction). We performed the experiment and modeled it with a system of ordinary differential equations. First, the students learned how to use the Law of Mass Action to derive ordinary differential equation models of chemical reactions. Then, nonlinear-dynamics theoretical tools for the analysis of the resulting finite-dimensional dynamical system of ordinary differential equations were employed to analytically study the resulting models. Also, the students employed potentiometric methods to directly measure the concentrations of the important components in this reaction using special electrodes and the LabPro equipment; the experimental results were compared to the theoretical model result.

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