Thermal patterns in simple models of cylindrical reactors

Moshe Sheintuch*, Olga Nekhamkina

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The propagation of fronts and the emergence of spatiotemporal patterns on a cylindrically shaped thin catalytic reactor is simulated with a homogeneous model of a fixed catalytic bed, with characteristically large Lewis and Peclet numbers, and a first-order Arrhenius kinetics (i.e., thermokinetic model) which may be coupled with slow changes of catalytic activity (i.e., oscillatory kinetics). Planar fronts of the thermokinetic model may undergo symmetry breaking in the transversal direction only at relatively low Lewis number, but for high Le the front remains flat. Patterns due to oscillatory kinetics in reactors of high Le are shown, for the first time, to undergo symmetry breaking in the azimuthal direction when the perimeter is sufficiently large. The generic regular patterns simulated then are rotating multi-wave patterns of constant rotation-speed and oscillatory-'firing' ones, and theirs selection is highly sensitive to governing parameters and initial conditions. The results are organized in bifurcation diagrams showing the coexisting two-dimensional solutions with varying perimeter. Increasing convective velocity or reactor radius leads to symmetry breaking of regular patterns and the system may switch to chaos.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1441-1451
Number of pages11
JournalChemical Engineering Science
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Catalytic oscillations
  • Packed bed
  • Pattern formation
  • Reaction engineering
  • Simulation


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