EDP Sciences
Free Access
Volume 427, Number 2, November IV 2004
Page(s) 415 - 429
Section Extragalactic astronomy
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20040349
Published online 28 October 2004

A&A 427, 415-429 (2004)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20040349

Stability of hydrodynamical relativistic planar jets

I. Linear evolution and saturation of Kelvin-Helmholtz modes
M. Perucho1, M. Hanasz2, J. M. Martí1 and H. Sol3

1  Departamento de Astronomía y Astrofísica, Universidad de Valencia, 46100 Burjassot, Spain
    e-mail: [manuel.perucho;jose-maria.marti]@uv.es
2  Torun Centre for Astronomy, Nicholas Copernicus University, 97-148 Piwnice k. Torunia, Poland
    e-mail: mhanasz@astri.uni.torun.pl
3  LUTH, Observatoire de Paris-Meudon, Pl. J. Jansen 5, Meudon 92195, France
    e-mail: Helene.Sol@obspm.fr

(Received 27 February 2004 / Accepted 11 July 2004)

The effects of relativistic dynamics and thermodynamics in the development of Kelvin-Helmholtz instabilities in planar, relativistic jets along the early phases (namely linear and saturation phases) of evolution has been studied by a combination of linear stability analysis and high-resolution numerical simulations for the most unstable first reflection modes in the temporal approach. Three different values of the jet Lorentz factor (5, 10 and 20) and a few different values of specific internal energy of the jet matter (from 0.08 to 60.0 c2) have been considered. Figures illustrating the evolution of the perturbations are also shown.

Our simulations reproduce the linear regime of evolution of the excited eigenmodes of the different models with a high accuracy. In all the cases the longitudinal velocity perturbation is the first quantity that departs from the linear growth when it reaches a value close to the speed of light in the jet reference frame. The saturation phase extends from the end of the linear phase up to the saturation of the transversal velocity perturbation (at approximately 0.5c in the jet reference frame). The saturation times for the different numerical models are explained from elementary considerations, i.e. from properties of linear modes provided by the linear stability analysis and from the limitation of the transversal perturbation velocity. The limitation of the components of the velocity perturbation at the end of the linear and saturation phases allows us to conclude that the relativistic nature of the flow appears to be responsible for the departure of the system from linear evolution.

The high accuracy of our simulations in describing the early stages of evolution of the KH instability (as derived from the agreement between the computed and expected linear growth rates and the consistency of the saturation times) establishes a solid basis to study the fully nonlinear regime, to be done elsewhere. The present paper also sets the theoretical and numerical background for these further studies.

Key words: galaxies: jets -- hydrodynamics

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© ESO 2004

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