A Computational Simulation of Belousov-Zhabotinsky Wave Behavior Around Obstacles

Nathaniel Smith


We developed an interactive multi-threaded Objective-C computer simulation, named BZP, to analyze the propagation behavior of reaction-diffusion waves around obstacles in a two-dimensional channel. By comparing the wave’s behavior with experimental results and other computational models, under known conditions, BZP was verified to correctly simulate their propagation. Objects placed in the path of an initially planar propagating wave impeded the wave’s movement due to the decreased speed of positively curved fronts in contact with them. We investigated the effect of various obstacle shapes (n-sided polygons, diamonds, ellipses) and extensions parallel and perpendicular to the channel and their influence on the total propagation time within the two- dimensional channel. We also studied the effect of location of different numbers of obstacles with the channel. In addition, work was done on the effects of obstacle rotation. Other more complicated obstacle configurations were also explored, including spirals, sinusoidal paths, and fractals. Although the wavefront straightens after the obstacle due to well known curvature effects, we typically observed a transient delay that increased with the projected size of the obstacle perpendicular to the flow.