Stability Analysis and Optimal Control of a Photochemical Heat Engine

  • Stanley J. Watowich
  • Jeffrey L. Krause
  • R. Stephen Berry


We examine a class of heat engines in which selectively absorbed radiant energy drives an exothermic reaction. The chemical reactor, a cylinder fitted with a piston, Incorporates the dissipative losses of friction and heat conduction. Analysis by computer algebra yielded an algorithm for performing a general linear stability analysis of the system. Bifurcation sets mapping regions of single and multiple steady states are generated. In regions sustaining multiple steady states, driving the engine In a cycle about an unstable steady state generates net power output. Optimal control analyses determine piston trajectories yielding maximum power. A linear stability analysis of the optimally controlled system divides the parameter space into regions where the behavior of a steady state moves from an unstable focus to an unstable node. Using parameter sets which map to the unstable focus, the explicit optimal piston trajectory is determined numerically.


Computer Algebra Linear Stability Analysis Heat Engine Stable Steady State Multiple Steady State 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stanley J. Watowich
    • 1
  • Jeffrey L. Krause
    • 1
  • R. Stephen Berry
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemistry and the James Franck InstituteThe University of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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