We study the effects of an external electric field on both the motion of the reaction zone and the spatial distribution of the reaction product, C, in an irreversible A -+B +→C reaction-diffusion process. The electrolytes A≡(A +,A -) and B≡(B +,B -) are initially separated in space and the ion-dynamics is described by reaction-diffusion equations obeying local electroneutrality. Without an electric field, the reaction zone moves diffusively leaving behind a constant concentration of C's. In the presence of an electric field which drives the reagents towards the reaction zone, we find that the reaction zone still moves diffusively but with a diffusion coefficient which slightly decreases with increasing field. The important electric field effect is that the concentration of C's is no longer constant but increases linearly in the direction of the motion of the front. The case of an electric field of reversed polarity is also discussed and it is found that the motion of the front has a diffusive as well as a drift component. The concentration of C's decreases in the direction of the motion of the front, up to the complete extinction of the reaction. Possible application of the above results to the understanding of the formation of Liesegang patterns in an electric field is briefly outlined.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry