Efficiency of mass transfer in massive close binaries *
Tests from double-lined eclipsing binaries in the SMC
Astronomical Institute, Utrecht University, PO Box 80000, 3508 TA Utrecht, The Netherlands e-mail: S.E.deMink@astro.uu.nl
2 School of Physics and Astronomy. University of St Andrews, North Haugh, St Andrews, Fife KY16 9SS, Scotland, UK
Accepted: 5 March 2007
Aims.One of the major uncertainties in close binary evolution is the efficiency of mass transfer β: the fraction of transferred mass that is accreted by a secondary star. We attempt to constrain the mass-transfer efficiency for short-period massive binaries undergoing case A mass transfer.
Methods.We present a grid of about 20 000 detailed binary evolution tracks with primary masses 3.5-35, orbital periods 1-5 days at a metallicity Z = 0.004, assuming both conservative and non-conservative mass transfer. We perform a systematic comparison, using least-squares fitting, of the computed models with a sample of 50 double-lined eclipsing binaries in the Small Magellanic Cloud, for which fundamental stellar parameters have been determined. About 60% of the systems are currently undergoing slow mass transfer.
Results. In general we find good agreement between our models and the observed detached systems. However, for many of the semi-detached systems the observed temperature ratio is more extreme than our models predict. For the 17 semi-detached systems that we are able to match, we find a large spread in the best fitting mass-transfer efficiency; no single value of β can explain all systems. We find a hint that initially wider systems tend to fit better to less conservative models. We show the need for more accurate temperature determinations and we find that determinations of surface abundances of nitrogen and carbon can potentially constrain the mass-transfer efficiency further.
Key words: binaries: close / binaries: eclipsing / binaries: spectroscopic / Magellanic Clouds / stars: evolution / stars: mass-loss
© ESO, 2007