Wave propagation in heterogeneous bistable and excitable media
1 Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, Abbestrasse 2-12, 10587 Berlin, Germany
2 Institut für Theoretische Physik, Technische Universität Berlin, Hardenbergstrasse 36, 10623 Berlin, Germany
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Revised: 9 August 2010
Published online: 1 October 2010
Two examples for the propagation of traveling waves in spatially non-uniform media are studied: (a) bistable media with periodically varying excitation threshold and (b) bistable and excitable media with randomly distributed diffusion coefficient and excitation properties. In case (a), we have applied two different singular perturbation techniques, namely averaging (first and second order) and a projection method, to calculate the averaged front velocity as a function of the spatial period L of the heterogeneity for the Schlögl model. Our analysis reveals a velocity overshoot for small values of L and propagation failure for large values of L. The analytical predictions are in good agreement with results of direct numerical simulations. For case (b), effective medium properties are derived by a self-consistent homogenization approach. In particular, the resulting velocities found by direct numerical simulations of the random medium are reproduced well as long as the diffusion lengths in the medium are larger than the heterogeneity scale. Simulations reveal also that complex irregular dynamics can be triggered by heterogeneities.
© EDP Sciences, Springer-Verlag, 2010