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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 9 Issue 3 (2004) pp 142-151

Elements of Nonlinear Dynamics in Chemical Kinetics

Jeffrey J. Ishizuka, Hang Song, and Enrique Peacock-López*

Department of Chemistry, Williams College, Williamstown, MA 01267,
Received August 21,2003. Accepted March 2, 2004.

Published online: 20 May 2004

Abstract. In this paper we use algebraically workable ecological models to introduce students to the methodology of nonlinear chemical kinetics. These models, although nonchemical, are simple enough that a novice can readily determine the important properties of the systems that they represent. Most chemical models involve a great deal of intractable algebra, which can easily confuse undergraduates and distract them from the principles behind the analytical techniques; thus, we have sacrificed some of the focus on actual chemical mechanisms in order to concentrate on the basics of the concepts and methods that will eventually allow students to understand more complicated cases. For this reason, following this paper, students with a minimum exposure to linear algebra and/or ordinary differential equations should be able to analyze more complex chemical systems, using either paper and a pencil or symbolic algebra software.

Key Words: In the Classroom; physical chemistry; quantum

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Issue date: June 1, 2004

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