Reaction-Diffusion Computing

  • Andrew AdamatzkyEmail author
  • Benjamin De Lacy Costello
Reference work entry
Part of the Encyclopedia of Complexity and Systems Science Series book series (ECSSS)


Belousov–Zhabotinsky (BZ) reaction

is a term applied to a group of chemical reactions in which an organic substrate (typically malonic acid) is oxidized by bromate ions in the presence of acid and a one electron transfer redox catalyst (e.g., ferroin, or the light-sensitive ruthenium complex). During the BZ reaction, there are three major interlinked processes – firstly the reduction of the inhibitor (bromideions) via reaction with bromate ions, secondly autocatalysis in bromous acid and the oxidation of the redox catalyst, and finally reduction of the redox catalyst and production of the inhibitor (bromide ions) via a reaction with the organic substrate and its brominated derivative. The reaction produces oscillations in well-stirred reactors and traveling waves in thin layers, which may be visualized if the redox behavior of the catalyst is accompanied by a change of color (e.g., the color is changed from orange to blue when ferroin is oxidized to ferriin).

Excitable medium



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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Unconventional Computing CentreUniversity of the West of EnglandBristolUK
  2. 2.Centre for Analytical Chemistry and Smart MaterialsUniversity of the West of EnglandBristolUK

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