Chemically Driven Hydrodynamic Instabilities

C. Almarcha, P.M.J. Trevelyan, P. Grosfils, A. De Wit

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In the gravity field, density changes triggered by a kinetic scheme as simple as A+B?C can induce or affect buoyancy-driven instabilities at a horizontal interface between two solutions containing initially the scalars A and B. On the basis of a general reaction-diffusion-convection model, we analyze to what extent the reaction can destabilize otherwise buoyantly stable density stratifications. We furthermore show that, even if the underlying nonreactive system is buoyantly unstable, the reaction breaks the symmetry of the developing patterns. This is demonstrated both numerically and experimentally on the specific example of a simple acid-base neutralization reaction.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2010


  • reaction-diffusion-convection
  • buoyancy instabilities
  • reaction fronts


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