The journal of physical chemistry. A

Controlled excitations of the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction: Experimental procedures.

PMID 17078609


The purpose of this research was to explore the unstirred, ferroin-catalyzed Belousov-Zhabotinsky (BZ) reaction as an experimental model for the response of excitable media to small perturbations (slightly larger than the threshold for excitations). Following Showalter et al. (Showalter, K.; Noyes, R. M.; Turner, H. J.Am. Chem. Soc. 1979, 101, 7463-69), we used a positively biased silver electrode to release silver ions into a BZ reaction mixture, removing bromide ions and causing an excitation if sufficient bromide was removed. We found (1) a scaling region in which the delay before activation increased linearly as the size of the perturbation decreased, qualitatively consistent with but not fully explained by the Oregonator of Field et al. (Field, R. J.; Körõs, E.; Noyes, R. M. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1972, 94, 8649-64); (2) evidence for a 10 s oligomerization time scale; and (3) that activations were always delayed until after the end of a pulse of current, with the delay essentially constant for sufficiently long pulses, an effect not seen in simple ODE models but consistent with the anomalously large current apparently required for activation (Showalter, K.; Noyes, R. M. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1976, 98, 3730-31) and explainable by bromide transport. Overall, the BZ system appeared to be well-suited as an experimental prototype, despite its complexity.

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Ferroin indicator solution, 0.1 wt. % in H2O