EDP Sciences
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Volume 440, Number 2, September III 2005
Page(s) 623 - 636
Section Stellar structure and evolution
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20052668

A&A 440, 623-636 (2005)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20052668

Diffusive convective overshoot in core He-burning intermediate mass stars

I. The LMC metallicity
P. Ventura1, M. Castellani1 and C. W. Straka2

1  Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, Via Frascati 33, 00040 Monte Porzio Catone, Italy
    e-mail: [ventura; m.castellani]@mporzio.astro.it
2  Department of Astronomy, Yale University, PO Box 208101, New Haven, CT 06520-8101, USA
    e-mail: straka@astro.yale.edu

(Received 11 January 2005 / Accepted 8 May 2005)

We present detailed evolutionary calculations focused on the evolution of intermediate mass stars with $3\;M_{\odot} \leq M \leq 9\; M_{\odot}$ of metallicity typical of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), i.e. Z=0.008. We carefully compare the models calculated by adopting a diffusive scheme for chemical mixing, in which nuclear burning and mixing are self-consistently coupled, while the eddy velocities beyond the formal convective core boundary are treated to decay exponentially, and those calculated with the traditional instantaneous mixing approximation. We find that: i) the physical and chemical behaviour of the models during the H-burning phase is independent of the scheme used for the treatment of mixing inside the CNO burning core; ii) the duration of the He-burning phase relative to the MS phase is systematically longer in the diffusive models, due to a slower redistribution of helium to the core from the outer layers; iii) the fraction of time spent in the blue part of the clump, compared to the stay in the red, is larger in the diffusive models. The differences described in points ii) and iii) tend to vanish for $M > 6\;M_{\odot}$. In terms of the theoretical interpretation of an open cluster stellar population, the differences introduced by the use of a self-consistent scheme for mixing in the core with adjacent exponential decay are relevant for ages in the range 80 Myr < t < 200 Myr. These results are robust, since they are insensitive to the choice of the free-parameters regulating the extension of the extra-mixing region.

Key words: stars: evolution -- stars: interiors -- stars: Hertzprung Russell (HR) and C-M diagrams

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