The effect of intermediate-mass close binaries on the chemical evolution of globular clusters
1 Astrophysical Institute, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
2 Groep T – Leuven Engineering College, K.U. Leuven Association, Andreas Vesaliusstraat 13, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
Received: 13 September 2011
Accepted: 30 April 2012
Context. The chemical processes during the asymptotic giant branch (AGB) evolution of intermediate-mass single stars predict most of the observations of the different populations in globular clusters although some important questions still need to be further clarified. In particular, to reproduce the observed anticorrelations of Na-O and Al-Mg, chemically enriched gas lost during the AGB phase of intermediate-mass single stars must be mixed with matter with a pristine chemical composition. The source of this matter is still debated. Furthermore, observations reveal that a significant fraction of the intermediate-mass and massive stars are born as components of close binaries.
Aims. We investigate the effects of binaries on the chemical evolution of globular clusters and on the origin of matter with a pristine chemical composition that is needed for the single-star AGB scenario to work.
Methods. We used a population synthesis code that accounts for binary physics to estimate the amount and the composition of the matter returned to the interstellar medium of a population of binaries.
Results. We demonstrate that the mass lost by a significant population of intermediate-mass close binaries in combination with the single-star AGB pollution scenario may help to explain the chemical properties of the different populations of stars in globular clusters.
Key words: binaries: close / galaxies: clusters: general
© ESO, 2012