(412e) Autocatalytic Reactions in a Spatially Segregated Environment
Autocatalytic reactions and processes are commonly encountered in growth of all living cells, processes involving free radicals, polymerization processes, many inorganic and organic reactions, and crystallization processes. A comprehensive analysis of static and dynamic behavior of an autocatalytic reaction occurring in two coupled CSTRs is presented. The generation of the autocatalyst from a primary resource is followed by its decay. A single well-mixed reactor may operate at up to three steady states and can give rise to limit cycles. The reactors in the two-reactor system are identical only in terms of feed composition and reactor space time. The reactors need not have identical volumes and volumetric feed, effluent, and exchange rates. A two-reactor system may admit up to nine steady states at least at very low interaction rates. Three of these steady states, symmetric steady states, correspond to identical composition in the two reactors. The remaining steady states, the asymmetric steady states, correspond to different composition in the two reactors and are admissible over a range of interaction rates. The six asymmetric steady states exhibit four different pairing sets with two or more limit points. Numerical illustrations reveal the rich steady state structure of the reaction scheme in coupled reactors. The steady states are tracked systematically as the interaction rate is varied. Numerical illustrations for complex dynamics of the coupled reactors reveal phenomena such as extinction or synchronization of oscillations and chaotic operation through period doubling. The two-reactor system is operationally more flexible and more robust vis-a-vis single reactor. Emergence of additional steady states and higher order periodic states and aperiodic states at intermediate values of interaction rates reveals that the coupled reactors involving autocatalytic reactions are an example of a complex system.