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Volume 8, Issue 1
2001

In contrast to many physical phenomena such as a swinging pendulum, chemical reactions must approach equilibrium monotonically. However, far from equilibrium, concentrations of chemical species can oscillate during the time course of the reaction. This interesting branch of kinetics is exemplified by the Belousov–Zhabotinskii reaction. After an induction period, the color of the solution changes between clear and yellow with a period of two minutes for several hours. In this article, a general, convenient chemical kinetics solver is employed in conjunction with complex kinetic diagrams to understand the coupling of chemical reactions that yield chemical oscillations.

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Scot T. Martin
Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA 02138
smartin@deas.harvard.edu