Chemical tesellations - results of binary and tertiary reactions between metal ions and ferricyanide or ferrocyanide loaded gels

de Lacy Costello, B., Jahan, I., Hambidge, P., Locking, K., Patel, D. and Adamatzky, A. (2010) Chemical tesellations - results of binary and tertiary reactions between metal ions and ferricyanide or ferrocyanide loaded gels. International Journal of Bifurcation and Chaos, 20 (7). pp. 2241-2252. ISSN 0218-1274 Available from:

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In our recent letter [de Lacy Costello et al., 2009] we described the formation of spontaneous complex tessellations of the plane constructed in simple chemical reactions between drops of metal salts and ferricyanide or ferrocyanide loaded gels. In this paper, we provide more examples of binary tessellations and extend our analysis to tessellations constructed via tertiary mixtures of reactants. We also provide a classification system which describes the tessellation based on the reactivity of the metal salt with the substrate and also the cross-reactivity of the primary products. This results in balanced tessellations where both reactants have equal reactivity or unbalanced tessellations where one reactant has a lower reactivity with the gel. The products can also be partially or fully cross reactive which gives a highly complex tessellation. The tessellations are made up of colored cells (corresponding to different metal ferricyanides or ferrocyanides) separated by bisectors of low precipitate concentration. The tessellations constructed by these reactions constitute generalized Voronoi diagrams. In the case of certain binary or tertiary combinations of reactants where the diffusion/reaction rates differ, then multiplicatively weighted crystal growth Voronoi diagrams are constructed. Where one reactant has limited or no reactivity with the gel (or the products are cross reactive) then the fronts originating from the reactive metal ions cross the fronts originating from the partially reactive metal ions. The fronts can annihilate in the formation of a second Voronoi diagram relating to the relative positions of the reactive drops. Therefore, two or more generalised or weighted Voronoi diagrams can be calculated in parallel by these simple chemical systems. However when these reactions were used to calculate an additively weighted Voronoi diagram (the reaction was initiated at different time intervals) the diagram constructed did not correspond to the theoretical calculation. We use the failure of these reactions to construct an additively weighted Voronoi diagram to prove a mechanism of substrate competition for bisector formation. These tessellations are an important class of pattern forming reactions and are useful in modeling natural pattern forming phenomena in addition to being a great resource for scientific demonstrations.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:pattern formation, Voronoi diagrams, weighted Voronoi diagrams, parallel chemical processors
Faculty/Department:Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences > Department of Applied Sciences
ID Code:11536
Deposited By: B. de Lacy Costello
Deposited On:11 Nov 2010 09:19
Last Modified:12 Apr 2016 12:44

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