Belousov Zhabotinsky Reaction: How To Understand the Belousov-Zhabotinsky Reaction?

BZ reactions, also known as Belousov–Zhabotinsky reactions, are examples of non-equilibrium thermodynamics that lead to the formation of a nonlinear chemical oscillator. These oscillators all have one thing in common: the presence of bromine and an acid.

It is essential to theoretical chemistry because it shows that chemical reactions do not have to be dominated by thermodynamic equilibrium behaviour. These reactions are out of balance and have remained that way for a long time, evolving in a chaotic manner. To the extent that the BZ reactions themselves can be mathematically modelled and simulated, they offer an intriguing chemical representation of biological[clarification needed] nonequilibrium events.


Time-dependent changes in the BZ reaction mixture’s hue
Boris Belousov is widely acknowledged as the man who first noticed the anomaly. It was discovered in 1951 that the concentration ratio of cerium(IV) and cerium(III) ions oscillated, causing the colour of the solution to alternate between a yellow and an amorphous one while trying to find the non-organic analogue of the Krebs cycle. This mixture contained potassium bromate as well as cerium(IV) sulphate, malonic acid, and citric acid. After the ions are reduced by malonic acid, they are subsequently converted back into their original form of cerium (IV) by bromate(V).

He attempted to publish his findings twice but was turned down because he couldn’t explain them well enough to the journal editors, who rejected both of his submissions. Belousov was encouraged to continue publishing his findings by Soviet scientist Simon El’evich Shell. A less prestigious and unreviewed publication did publish his work in 1959.

However, Anatol Zhabotinsky, a graduate student who worked on the subject after Belousov’s publication, was unable to publicise his findings until 1968, when a meeting in Prague brought them to the attention of the West for the first time.

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A chemical reaction

The reaction’s mechanism has been the subject of a number of scientific articles, and it is considered to entail roughly 18 steps.

Both processes (Process A and B) are auto-catalytic, comparable to the Briggs–Rauscher reaction. Process A makes molecular bromine, which gives the red colour, while Process B consumes the bromine to produce bromide ions.

Turing pattern, a system that is qualitatively similar to the ideal Turing pattern, emerges qualitatively from solving the reaction-diffusion equations for the generation of two different types of reactions, one of which generates an inhibitor while the other generates a promoter. Malonic acid (CH2(CO2H)2) and potassium bromate (KBrO3) are popular acids and bromine sources in this process. Three CH2(CO2H)2 atoms and four BrO atoms form the general equation.

3 4 Br + 9 CO2 + 6 H2O

Well-mixed systems’ BZ dynamics

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Enclosed structures

Large ellipsoidal regions of oscillations have been discovered in the initial reactant concentration space of cerium, bromate, and MA or BMA. Ce concentrations in a given area are found to be constant along the diagonal of the bromate-MA (BMA) plane, with endpoints varying by three orders of magnitude from one another. The MA system has a difference in [Ce] of about four orders of magnitude, whereas the BMA system has a difference of approximately three orders of magnitude.

belousov zhabotinsky reaction

Optics with periods 1 and 2 can occur during oscillation evolution but are more common in the BZ reaction (Zhabotinsky, 1964b; Vavilin et al., 1967a, 1967b). Outside of the oscillatory region, there is excitability and bistability (Ruoff and Noyes, 1985). A source other than Ce4+ reactions is needed to maintain bistability.

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Involved methods

In a stirred tank reactor with continuous flow, stationary oscillations can go on indefinitely (CSTR). This reaction has been discovered to produce more complicated oscillations in CSTR, such as bursting (Vavilin and colleagues, 1968) and chaotic (Schmitz and colleagues, 1977) oscillations.

Later, other types of complex periodic and chaotic BZ oscillations were investigated. The CSTR enables precise control over the parameters of a chemical oscillator, allowing bifurcation sequences to be traced, which connect such regimes (Epstein and Pojman, 1998).