Abstract algebra can simplify reaction dynamics. I am attemping to break down elementary steps into state-to-state reaction rates to see how they're are related to the potential energy surface (seen on the left) that controls the reaction. The challenge is found in the simultaneous reaction rate dependence on the reactant (initial) and product (final) states. Many reactions take place under nonequilibrium conditions, so that if the reaction rate depends on the initial state of the reactant, the rate constant might be different from that for reactants in Boltzmann equilibrium. My research begins by considering two colliding species having relative translational coordinates. These will be parametrized in time, like dragging your mouse along the red curve on the left and watching the coordinates change here:The red curve represents the collision dynamics of two molecules.

The interesting dynamics appear when molecules exchange internal quanta upon interaction, inelastic collision or reactive collision. Perhaps by understanding the dynamics we can direct the reaction to produce either desired, unconventional products or products with a particular final state distribution. If a reaction selectively produces a non equilibrium distribution of products, we might be able to use that distribution in some practical way, for example, to convert chemical energy to another form.

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Sabbath Day Journal

The Steady State Home
Tim Wendler

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