Quick start

The first step to getting started is to install EQTK. After that is done, you can start solving equilibrium problems.

Problem specification

EQTK solves the following problem:

Given a set of chemical reactions and their equilibrium constants, as well as concentrations of all chemical species initially in a dilute solution, compute the equilibrium concentration of all chemical species.

As an example, consider a ligand A that may bind to either of two receptors, B and C, according to the following chemical reactions with associated equilibrium constants.

AB ⇌ A + B ; K = 0.015 mM

AC ⇌ A + C ; K = 0.003 mM

With the chemical reactions and equilibrium constants defined, we have to further specify what is placed in solution. Imagine we add A, B, and C into the solution such that the initial concentrations of the respective species are 1 mM, 0.5 mM, and 0.25 mM, and we initially have no AB or AC complexes. The problem is now fully specified.


The eqtk.solve() function is the central function of EQTK. In the simplest form, it takes three arguments.

  • Initial concentrations of all species, c0.

  • A stoichiometric matrix, N.

  • An array of equilibrium constants, K.

In the present example, c0 = [1, 0.5, 0.25, 0, 0], where we have ordered the species A, B, C, AB, AC.

Entry i,j of the stoichiometric matrix is the stoichiometric coefficient for species j in chemical reaction i. The stoichiometric coefficients of reactants are negative and those of products are positive. This is perhaps more clear if we write the chemical reactions in an alternative way:

A + B     - AB      = 0
A     + C      - AC = 0

The stoichiometric matrix is then:

N = [[1,  1,  0, -1,  0],
     [1,  0,  1,  0, -1]]

Finally, the equilibrium constants are K = [0.015, 0.003].


The units of the inputted c0 and K must be consistent, meaning that they both must use the same units for concentration. In this case, the concentration units are millimolar. The units are then specified with eqtk.solve()’s units keyword argument.

Now we can solve the system.


Because the numerical routines of EQTK are just in time compiled (JITted), importing EQTK may take a few seconds, as will the first call you make to eqtk.solve(). Subsequent calculations will be fast.

import eqtk

c0 = [1, 0.5, 0.25, 0, 0]

N = [[1,  1,  0, -1,  0],
     [1,  0,  1,  0, -1]]

K = [0.015, 0.003]

c = eqtk.solve(c0, N, K, units="mM")

The resulting c is given below, with the same units as specified with the units keyword argument (mM in this case).

array([0.27824281, 0.02557607, 0.00266673, 0.47442393, 0.24733327])

Computing a titration curve

Alternatively, c0 may be inputted as a two-dimensional array, where each row corresponds to a different initial set of concentrations. For example, if we wanted to compute a titration curve for the fraction of the receptors B and C that are bound as we increase the amount of ligand A present in the solution, we can do the following.

import numpy as np
import eqtk

# Set up initial concentrations for titration
c0 = np.zeros((200, 5))
c0[:, 0] = np.linspace(0, 2, 200)
c0[:, 1] = 0.5
c0[:, 2] = 0.25

# Stoichiometry matrix
N = [[1,  1,  0, -1,  0],
     [1,  0,  1,  0, -1]]

# Equilibrium constants
K = [0.015, 0.003]

# Solve!
c = eqtk.solve(c0, N, K, units="mM")

# Compute fraction bound
frac_B_bound = c[:, 3] / c0[:, 1]
frac_C_bound = c[:, 4] / c0[:, 2]

Here is a plot of the result.

Rich input/output formats

Instead of using lists, tuples, and Numpy arrays for specifying inputs, and thereafter relying on integer-based indexing to retrieve results, the stoichiometry, equilibrium constants, and initial concentrations may be specified as Pandas series and data frames. This allows for chemical species to be referenced by name. Conveniently, EQTK includes a parser that converts chemical reactions written a strings to data frames using syntax similar to Cantera. We can alternatively specify the problem as below, this time also considering dimerization of the ligand A,

AA ⇌ 2A ; K = 0.02 mM.

import eqtk

rxns = """
AB <=> A + B ; 0.015
AC <=> A + C ; 0.003
AA <=> 2 A   ; 0.02

N = eqtk.parse_rxns(rxns)

The variable N is now a Pandas data frame:

    AB    A    B   AC    C   AA  equilibrium constant
0 -1.0  1.0  1.0  0.0  0.0  0.0                 0.015
1  0.0  1.0  0.0 -1.0  1.0  0.0                 0.003
2  0.0  2.0  0.0  0.0  0.0 -1.0                 0.020

The data frame N now also includes the equilibrium constant for each reaction. This can be passed directly into eqtk.solve(), and specification of K is no longer necessary, since N now contains the equilibrium constants.

Because the chemical species now have names, we should pass c0 as a Pandas Series (for a single equilibrium calculation), as a DataFrame (for a titration-like calculations as we did in the last example), or as a dictionary.

c0 = {"A": 1.0, "B": 0.5, "C": 0.25, "AA": 0, "AB": 0, "AC": 0}

c = eqtk.solve(c0, N, units="mM")

The resulting c is a Pandas series.

A__0     1.000000
B__0     0.500000
C__0     0.250000
AA__0    0.000000
AB__0    0.000000
AC__0    0.000000
A        0.055910
B        0.105768
C        0.012731
AA       0.156295
AB       0.394232
AC       0.237269
dtype: float64

The result includes the initial concentrations of each species, with the species names appended with __0.

Next steps

The user guide has more details about

  • The class of problems EQTK can solve.

  • All modes of specifying the problem.

  • Lower level interfaces to the equilibrium solving algorithm.

Finally, the case studies section of this guide provides examples of using EQTK to study chemical systems.