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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 7 Issue 3 (2002) pp 159-166

Complex Oscillatory Behavior of the Mercury Beating Heart System

Susana Castillo-Rojas, Guillermina Burillo, and Luis Vicente*,

Instituto de Ciencias Nucleares, UNAM, Apartado Postal 70-543, Circuito Exterior CU, 04510 México, D. F., México, and Departamento de Física y Química Teórica, Facultad de Química, UNAM, 04510 México, D. F., México
Received February 12, 2002. Accepted April 5, 2002

Published online: 10 May 2002

Abstract. We show the dynamics of the oscillatory Mercury Beating Heart (MBH) reaction in acid aqueous solution with [CeIV(SO4)3]2– as oxidizing agent. The rich dynamics is appropriate to introduce students to oscillatory chemical reactions and nonlinear concepts. These oscillations display different modes of oscillations with geometric structures similar to heart, circle, and pointed stars. We consider oxidation–reduction reactions to explain the different periods of oscillations due mainly to the formation of mercury(I) species and plot the so-called reconstruction attractors from the variation of the Hg electrode potential in time.

Key Words:  Laboratories and Demonstrations; general chemistry; physical chemistry; Beating Heart; oscillatory

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

Article in PDF format (655 KB) HTML format

Supporting Materials:

Movie file (Real Player format 6.9 MB) ( 10.1007/s00897020558b

Issue date: June 7, 2002

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