The countercurrent backmixing model of a fluidized bed reactor predicts axial concentration profiles quite different from those suggested by simple two‐phase models. The models can also be distinguished in terms of the dependence of conversion on operating variables. An experimental study of ozone decomposition in a reactor of 22.9 cm diameter has provided extensive data for comparison with backmixing and two‐phase models which incorporate bubble size variation. The measured profiles show a minimum concentration within the bed at gas velocities above a critical value, as predicted only by the backmixing model. The effect of operating variables on the shape of the profiles is also well accounted for by this model. The backmixing model is further supported by good agreement between predicted and measured reactant conversion. In particular, the variation of conversion with rate constant and gas velocity is fitted more accurately by the backmixing model than by two‐phase models.