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Front speed and pattern selection of a propagating chemical front in an active fluid

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André Estevez-Torres
Ananyo Maitra

Abstract

Spontaneous pattern formation in living systems is driven by reaction-diffusion chemistry and active mechanics. The feedback between chemical and mechanical forces is often essential to robust pattern formation, yet it remains poorly understood in general. In this analytical and numerical paper, we study an experimentally-motivated minimal model of coupling between reaction-diffusion and active matter: a propagating front of an autocatalytic and stress-generating species. In the absence of activity, the front is described by the the well-studied KPP equation. We find that front propagation is maintained even in active systems, with crucial differences: an extensile stress increases the front speed beyond a critical magnitude of the stress, while a contractile stress has no effect on the front speed but can generate a periodic instability in the high-concentration region behind the front. We expect our results to be useful in interpreting pattern formation in active systems with mechano-chemical coupling in vivo and in vitro.

Dates and versions

hal-03451225 , version 1 (26-11-2021)

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Clara del Junco, André Estevez-Torres, Ananyo Maitra. Front speed and pattern selection of a propagating chemical front in an active fluid. 2021. ⟨hal-03451225⟩
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