We present experiments on reactive front propagation in a two-dimensional (2D) vortex chain flow (both time-independent and time-periodic) and a 2D spatially disordered (time-independent) vortex-dominated flow. The flows are generated using magnetohydrodynamic forcing techniques, and the fronts are produced using the excitable, ferroin-catalyzed Belousov-Zhabotinsky chemical reaction. In both of these flows, front propagation is dominated by the presence of burning invariant manifolds (BIMs) that act as barriers, similar to invariant manifolds that dominate the transport of passive impurities. Convergence of the fronts onto these BIMs is shown experimentally for all of the flows studied. The BIMs are also shown to collapse onto the invariant manifolds for passive transport in the limit of large flow velocities. For the disordered flow, the measured BIMs are compared to those predicted using a measured velocity field and a three-dimensional set of ordinary differential equations that describe the dynamics of front propagation in advection-reaction-diffusion systems.
Bargteil, Dylan and Solomon, Tom. "Barriers to front propagation in ordered and disordered vortex flows." Chaos 22, no. 3 (2012) : 037103.