Self-Generated Convective Flows Enhance the Rates of Chemical Reactions

Raj Kumar Manna, Kayla Gentile, Oleg E. Shklyaev, Ayusman Sen, Anna C. Balazs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


In chemical solutions, the products of catalytic reactions can occupy different volumes compared to the reactants and thus give rise to local density variations in the fluid. These density variations generate solutal buoyancy forces, which are exerted on the fluid and thus “pump” the fluid to flow. Herein, we examine if the reaction-induced pumping accelerates the chemical reaction by transporting the reactants to the catalyst at a rate faster than passive diffusion. Using both simulations and experiments, we show a significant increase in reaction rate when reaction-generated convective flow is present. In effect, through a feedback loop, catalysts speed up reactions not only by lowering the energy barrier but also by increasing the collision frequency between the reactants and the catalyst.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1432-1439
Number of pages8
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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