Volume 489, Number 2, October II 2008
|Page(s)||555 - 565|
|Published online||08 August 2008|
The effect of differential galactic winds on the chemical evolution of galaxies
INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste, via G.B. Tiepolo 11, 34131, Trieste, Italy e-mail: [recchi;matteucc]@oats.inaf.it
2 Institute of Astronomy, Vienna University, Türkenschanzstrasse 17, 1180 Vienna, Austria
3 Department of Astronomy, Trieste University, via G.B. Tiepolo 11, 34131 Trieste, Italy e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
4 Núcleo de Astrofísica Teórica, Universidade Cruzeiro do Sul, R. Galvão Bueno 868, Liberdade, 01506-000, São Paulo, SP, Brazil e-mail: email@example.com
Accepted: 28 July 2008
Aims. The aim of this paper is to study the basic equations of the chemical evolution of galaxies with gas flows. In particular, we focus on models in which the outflow is differential, namely in which the heavy elements (or some of the heavy elements) can leave the parent galaxy more easily than other chemical species such as H and He.
Methods. We study the chemical evolution of galaxies in the framework of simple models, namely we make simplifying assumptions about the lifetimes of stars and the mixing of freshly produced metals. This allows us to solve analytically the equations for the evolution of gas masses and metallicities. In particular, we find new analytical solutions for various cases in which the effects of winds and infall are taken into account.
Results. Differential galactic winds, namely winds carrying out preferentially metals, have the effect of reducing the global metallicity of a galaxy, with the amount of reduction increasing with the ejection efficiency of the metals. Abundance ratios are predicted to remain constant throughout the whole evolution of the galaxy, even in the presence of differential winds. One way to change them is by assuming differential winds with different ejection efficiencies for different elements. However, simple models apply only to elements produced on short timescales, namely all by type II SNe, and therefore large differences in the ejection efficiencies of different metals are unlikely.
Conclusions. Variations in abundance ratios such as [O/Fe] in galaxies, without including the Fe production by type Ia supernovae, can in principle be obtained by assuming an unlikely different efficiency in the loss of O relative to Fe from type II supernovae. Therefore, we conclude that it is not realistic to ignore type Ia supernovae and that the delayed production of some chemical elements relative to others (time-delay model) remains the most plausible explanation for the evolution of α-elements relative to Fe.
Key words: galaxies: abundances / galaxies: evolution / galaxies: ISM
© ESO, 2008
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