Technical Report NTB 93-46

Cellular Automaton Model of Mass Transport with Chemical Reactions

The transport and chemical reactions of solutes are modelled as a cellular automaton in which molecules of different species perform a random walk on a regular lattice and react according to a local probabilistic rule. The model describes advection and diffusion in a simple way, and as no restriction is placed on the number of particles at a lattice site, it is also able to describe a wide variety of chemical reactions. Assuming molecular chaos and a smooth density function, we obtain the standard reaction-transport equations in the continuum limit. Simulations on one- and two-dimensional lattices show that the discrete model can be used to approximate the solutions of the continuum equations. We discuss discrepancies which arise from correlations between molecules and how these discrepancies disappear as the continuum limit is approached. Of particular interest are simulations displaying long-time behaviour which depends on long-wavelength statistical fluctuations not accounted for by the standard equations. The model is applied to the reactions a + b ⇄ c and a + b → c with homogeneous and inhomogeneous initial conditions as well as to systems subject to autocatalytic reactions and displaying spontaneous formation of spatial concentration patterns.