Shear mixing in stellar radiative zones
II. Robustness of numerical simulations
1 Max-Planck Institut für Astrophysik, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 1, 85748, Garching bei München, Germany
2 Laboratoire AIM Paris-Saclay, CEA/DRF−CNRS−Université Paris Diderot, IRFU/SAp Centre de Saclay, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
Received: 11 December 2015
Accepted: 18 May 2016
Context. Recent numerical simulations suggest that the model by Zahn (1992, A&A, 265, 115) for the turbulent mixing of chemical elements due to differential rotation in stellar radiative zones is valid.
Aims. We investigate the robustness of this result with respect to the numerical configuration and Reynolds number of the flow.
Methods. We compare results from simulations performed with two different numerical codes, including one that uses the shearing-box formalism. We also extensively study the dependence of the turbulent diffusion coefficient on the turbulent Reynolds number.
Results. The two numerical codes used in this study give consistent results. The turbulent diffusion coefficient is independent of the size of the numerical domain if at least three large turbulent structures fit in the box. Generally, the turbulent diffusion coefficient depends on the turbulent Reynolds number. However, our simulations suggest that an asymptotic regime is obtained when the turbulent Reynolds number is larger than 103.
Conclusions. Shear mixing in the regime of small Péclet numbers can be investigated numerically both with shearing-box simulations and simulations using explicit forcing. Our results suggest that Zahn’s model is valid at large turbulent Reynolds numbers.
Key words: diffusion / hydrodynamics / turbulence / stars: interiors / stars: rotation
© ESO, 2016