Volume 579, July 2015
|Number of page(s)
|26 June 2015
Wave mediated angular momentum transport in astrophysical boundary layers
Institut für Astronomie und Astrophysik, Abt. Computational Physics, Auf der Morgenstelle 10, 72076 Tübingen, Germany
Received: 2 March 2015
Accepted: 22 April 2015
Context. Disk accretion onto weakly magnetized stars leads to the formation of a boundary layer (BL) where the gas loses its excess kinetic energy and settles onto the star. There are still many open questions concerning the BL, for instance the transport of angular momentum (AM) or the vertical structure.
Aims. It is the aim of this work to investigate the AM transport in the BL where the magneto-rotational instability (MRI) is not operating owing to the increasing angular velocity Ω(r) with radius. We will therefore search for an appropriate mechanism and examine its efficiency and implications.
Methods. We perform 2D numerical hydrodynamical simulations in a cylindrical coordinate system (r,ϕ) for a thin, vertically integrated accretion disk around a young star. We employ a realistic equation of state and include both cooling from the disk surfaces and radiation transport in radial and azimuthal direction. The viscosity in the disk is treated by the α-model; in the BL there is no viscosity term included.
Results. We find that our setup is unstable to the sonic instability which sets in shortly after the simulations have been started. Acoustic waves are generated and traverse the domain, developing weak shocks in the vicinity of the BL. Furthermore, the system undergoes recurrent outbursts where the activity in the disk increases strongly. The instability and the waves do not die out for over 2000 orbits.
Conclusions. There is indeed a purely hydrodynamical mechanism that enables AM transport in the BL. It is efficient and wave mediated; however, this renders it a non-local transport method, which means that models of a effective local viscosity like the α-viscosity are probably not applicable in the BL. A variety of further implications of the non-local AM transport are discussed.
Key words: accretion, accretion disks / hydrodynamics / instabilities / waves / methods: numerical / stars: protostars
© ESO, 2015
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