Overshooting by convective settling
Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics,
Accepted: 29 September 2013
We study a process of slow mixing in stars with convective envelopes, which is driven by the settling of cool downward plumes below the base of the convection zone. If a small fraction (of order 10-7) of the material cooled at the surface retains a significant entropy deficit while descending in plumes, it can reach the depth where lithium burning takes place. The model calculates the thermal response and mixing below the convection zone due to the settling process, assuming that the plumes arrive at the base of the convection zone with a broad range of entropy contrasts. We obtain a good fit to the observed lithium depletion in the Sun by assuming that the settling mass flux is distributed with respect to the entropy contrast as a power law with a slope around –2. We find convective settling to have a negligible influence on the stratification below the convection zone, although mixing induced by it could modify the gradient of helium concentration.
Key words: convection / stars: evolution / Sun: abundances
© ESO, 2013