Hydrodynamic instability of chemical waves

Desiderio A. Vasquez, Joseph W. Wilder, Boyd F. Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


We present a theory for the transition to convection for flat chemical wave fronts propagating upward. The theory is based on the hydrodynamic equations and the one-variable reaction-diffusion equation that describes the chemical front for the iodate-arsenous acid reaction. The reaction term involves the reaction rate constants and the chemical composition of the mixture. This allows the discussion of the effects of the different chemical variables on the transition to convection. We have studied perturbations of different wavelengths on an unbounded flat chemical front and found that for wavelengths larger than a critical wavelength (λ > λc) the perturbations grow in time, while for smaller wavelengths the perturbations diminish. The critical wavelength depends not only on the density difference between the unreacted and reacted fluids, but also on the speed and thickness of the chemical front.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2138-2143
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


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