EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 448, Number 2, March III 2006
Page(s) 717 - 729
Section Stellar structure and evolution
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20053043
A&A 448, 717-729 (2006)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20053043

Evolution of massive AGB stars

I. Carbon burning phase
L. Siess

Institut d'Astronomie et d'Astrophysique, Université Libre de Bruxelles, CP 226, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
    e-mail: siess@astro.ulb.ac.be

(Received 11 March 2005 / Accepted 5 November 2005)

We present new computations of the evolution of solar metallicity stars in the mass range 9 - 12 $M_{\odot}$. This first paper of a series focuses on the propagation of the carbon burning flame front and provides a detailed analysis of the structural evolution up to the formation of the neon-oxygen core. Our calculations which do not include overshooting indicate that off-center carbon ignition is restricted to a small mass range between 9.0 and 11.3 $M_{\odot}$. The chemical imprints of the first and second dredge-ups on the surface composition are analyzed and compared to "standard" less massive stars. It results that, aside from being more luminous and slightly bluer in the HR diagram, massive AGB stars are almost indistinguishable from their lower mass counterparts, as far as the chemical composition is concerned. During the second dredge-up, we note however that the envelope penetrates deeper into the He burning shell than lower mass stars. Our simulations indicate that above ~11.0 $M_{\odot}$, the depth of the second dredge up is considerably reduced, marking the transition between low and massive stars. We also investigate the effects of the nuclear uncertainties associated with $^{12}{\rm {C}}$ + $^{12}{\rm {C}}$ reactions and show that it has a little impact on the core composition. Finally we describe the nucleosynthesis and chemical structure of the newly formed neon-oxygen core.

Key words: stars: evolution -- nuclear reactions, nucleosynthesis, abundances -- stars: AGB and post-AGB

© ESO 2006

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