Communication: Control of chemical reactions using electric field gradients Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • We examine theoretically a new idea for spatial and temporal control of chemical reactions. When chemical reactions take place in a mixture of solvents, an external electric field can alter the local mixture composition, thereby accelerating or decelerating the rate of reaction. The spatial distribution of electric field strength can be non-trivial and depends on the arrangement of the electrodes producing it. In the absence of electric field, the mixture is homogeneous and the reaction takes place uniformly in the reactor volume. When an electric field is applied, the solvents separate and the reactants are concentrated in the same phase or separate to different phases, depending on their relative miscibility in the solvents, and this can have a large effect on the kinetics of the reaction. This method could provide an alternative way to control runaway reactions and to increase the reaction rate without using catalysts.

publication date

  • January 1, 2016