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Chemical Engineering

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Dr Michael Forrester Writes in 'Scientific Reports'

November 15

Flames x 528

For the first time, experimental evidence of the controlled synchronised motion, in phase and anti-phase, of large arrays of diffusive flames has been found (Forrester, Scientific Reports 2015). Arrangements of candle flames couple together through reaction-diffusion processes that lead to chemical oscillations due to periodic changes in the concentration of the reactants. The flames of the candles are found to synchronise, show small periods of phase drift, and have an interspersion of oscillation death (and hence order) where the oscillations cease. 

With synchronisation of the coupled flames there arises situations where enhancement, suppression or redirection of individual flames can occur; offering possibilities for the design of new fire and burning technologies.

 “A candle flame has a perhaps surprising complexity, with many of its secrets still to be discovered.  The flames of groups of candles can be made to move in synchronisation, much like fireflies when they begin to flash in unison. This phenomenon may lead to greater understanding of chemical oscillators as well as synchronisation and chaos in fire dynamics”, says author Dr Michael Forrester.   

The paper can be found at http://www.nature.com/articles/srep16994  

 

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