Can the third dredge-up extinguish hot-bottom burning in massive AGB stars?
Dipartimento di Astronomia, Università di Padova, Vicolo dell'Osservatorio 3, 35122 Padova, Italia e-mail: email@example.com
Accepted: 1 February 2007
The crucial importance of molecular opacities in modelling the evolution of AGB stars at varying surface C/O ratio has been highlighted in Marigo (2002). The inadequacy of solar-scaled opacities when applied to models of carbon stars has been shown, and hence the need for correctly coupling the molecular opacities to the current surface chemical composition of AGB stars. The aim of the present follow-up study is to investigate the effects of variable molecular opacities on the evolutionary properties of luminous AGB stars with massive envelopes, i.e. with initial masses from ≈3.5 to 5-8 , which are predicted to experience both the third dredge-up and hot-bottom burning. It is found that if the dredge-up of carbon is efficient enough to lead to an early transition from C/O < 1 to C/O > 1, then hot-bottom burning may be weakened, extinguished, or even prevented. The physical conditions for this occurrence are analysed and a few theoretical and observational implications are discussed. Importantly, it is found that the inclusion of variable molecular opacities could significantly change the current predictions for the chemical yields contributed by intermediate-mass AGB stars, with M 3.5-4.0 , that make as much as ~30-50% of all stars expected to undergo hot-bottom burning.
Key words: stars: abundances / stars: AGB and post-AGB / stars: carbon / stars: evolution / stars: general / stars: late-type
© ESO, 2007