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Uncovering Oscillations, Complexity, and Chaos in Chemical Kinetics Using Mathematica

M. Ferreira
W. Ferreira
A. Lino
M. Porto
Journal / Anthology

Journal of Chemical Education
Year: 1999
Volume: 76
Issue: 6
Page range: 861-866

In recent textbooks and educational literature, a strong emphasis is given to the use of computers as tool for teaching undergraduate courses. However, to turn a computer into a useful tool for scientific computation, the appropriate mathematical models and tools and their applications must be introduced. In the past few years, theoretical and practical interest in oscillatory reactions has increased enormously. Unlike common reactions with no peculiar temporal behavior, these reactions contain reagents, intermediates, or products whose concentrations can rise and fall spontaneously in a cyclic or disorganized fashion. This article reports the use of Mathematica software for a theoretical study of some kinetic mechanisms exhibiting oscillating and chaotic behaviors. The use of a high-level computational environment is extremely convenient in this context owing to the availability of efficient built-in routines that van be used to analyze and numerically solve the differential equations describing the chemical reactions. Also, the visual and graphical capabilities of these computational environments allow the use of many powerful geometrical tools from modern nonlinear dynamics, which can make the treatment qualitatively richer and much more appealing to students.

*Applied Mathematics > Complex Systems
*Mathematics > Discrete Mathematics > Cellular Automata
*Science > Chemistry