Acceleration of chemical reaction fronts
Chemical fronts and waves travelling in reaction-diffusion systems frequently induce hydrodynamic flow. This adds an additional transport process to the mechanism of spatio-temporal structure formation and can lead to an acceleration of the chemical (reaction) front. We report on the acceleration of travelling chemical fronts elicited by convection, as caused by the Marangoni effect in the monostable iodate-arsenous acid reaction in a thin liquid film. At a stoichiometric excess of iodate over arsenous acid, the reaction produces a large amount of iodine, which is surface-active. At the reaction front, iodine is transferred from the bulk to the surface inducing spatio-temporal gradients of surface tension that lead to capillary flows. These flows, in turn, promote further iodine adsorption at the surface through hydrodynamic mixing effects. As a consequence, an acceleration of the chemical fronts is observed, even if the concentration difference across the front is constant. After the transient acceleration of the reaction front, it settles at a constant propagation velocity, which is assumed to be regulated by a balance in the mass transfer between the bulk and the surface.
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