Category Archives: Chemical Reaction Engineering

Space-time plot added to web lab

Space-time plots are a beautiful way to view dynamic reaction-diffusion systems. We added one to the Web Lab, “Dynamic diffusion and reaction in a porous solid catalyst.” Here is a static screen shot from the lab.

Adding this dynamic plot required learning how to program the HTML5 canvas element with Javascript – an exciting combination!

We prepared static plots of space-time data for our previous research work, e.g., at We were inspired to make them dynamically by the fluid dynamics simulations of Oliver Hunt at and Daniel Schroeder at Those pages showed us that this was possible to do in a web page.

Web app experiment 3 posted – control of reactor T

Web app experiment 3 demonstrates feedback control of temperature during reaction in a continuous stirred tank reactor (CSTR). See the Resources tab, Web app experiments. Below is a static screenshot – click to enlarge.


At default conditions in manual control mode with constant inputs, the system oscillates. Do you know why the system oscillates? See the Resources tab, CRE Notes, 15 – CSTR thermal effects. Then put the system into Auto Control mode.

Chemical Reaction Engineering Notes posted

See the RESOURCES tab above. Select the section “CRE Notes.” On that page there is a link to my Chemical Reaction Engineering (CRE) Notes.

The organization of these notes differs from most textbooks on CRE. These notes consider only Batch and Semi-Batch reactors at the start. Only after all the major topics (e.g., stoichiometry, change in gas density, thermal effects) are covered do they proceed to PFRs and CSTRs.

Why this organization? Some students told me that they got confused when they encountered a new topic (e.g., thermal effects) and lectures switched back and forth between the different types of reactors. I can understand their concern. I now think it is better to stick to Batch reactors until students learn them very well before switching to other reactors.