Dynamics of a Stirred-Tank Heater: Intuition and Analysis


  • J.A. Romagnoli University of Sydney
  • A. Palazoglu University of California
  • S. Whitaker University of California


In an analysis of the dynamic behavior of a stirred tank heater, we are confronted with a seemingly counter-intuitive result.  In this paper, we show that typical intuition is indeed flawed, and we provide an explanation using a rigorous derivation of the mathematical model and an improved intuitive explanation of the process.

Author Biographies

J.A. Romagnoli, University of Sydney

Jose A. Romagnoli received his BS and PhD degrees in chemical engineering from the Universidad Nacional de/ Sur (Argentina) 1973 and the University of Minnesota, 1980, respectively. He currently holds the Orica-University of Sydney Chair of Process Systems Engineering at the University of Sydney, Australia. His research interests include process monitoring, dynamics, and control.

A. Palazoglu, University of California

Ahmet Palazoglu received his BS degree from Middle East Technical Universty, Turkey, in 1978 and his MS from Bogazici University in 1980. He received his PhD in chemical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1984, and has been at the University of California, Davis, since that time.

S. Whitaker, University of California

Stephen Whitaker received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and his PhD from the University of Delaware. He is the author of two undergraduate texts, Introduction to Fluid Mechanics and Fundamental Principles of Heat Transfer, and a monograph, The Method of Volume Averaging.