Journal of Atmospheric Chemistry

, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 45–78 | Cite as

An Algorithm for the Determination of All Significant Pathways in Chemical Reaction Systems

  • Ralph Lehmann


When the output of a complex chemical model is analysed, a typical topic isthe determination of pathways, i.e., reaction sequences, that produce ordestroy a chemical species of interest.A representative example is the investigation of catalytic ozone destruction cycles in the stratosphere.An algorithm for the automatic determination of pathways in any given reactionsystem is presented. Under the assumption that reaction rates are known, it finds all significant pathways, i.e., all pathways with a rate above a prescribed threshold.The algorithm forms pathways step by step, starting from single reactions.The chemical species in the system are consecutively considered as `branching points'.For every branching-point species, each pathway producing it is connected witheach pathway consuming it.Rates proportional to `branching probabilities' are calculated.Pathways with a rate that is smaller than a prescribed threshold arediscarded.If a newly formed pathway contains sub-pathways, e.g., null cycles, it is split into these simpler pathways.In order to demonstrate the performance of the algorithm, it has been applied to the determination of catalytic ozone destruction cycles and methaneoxidation pathways in the stratosphere.

chemical pathway analysis reaction sequences catalytic ozone destruction methane oxidation 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ralph Lehmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine ResearchPotsdam, F.RGermany, E-mail

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