Sensitivity of the s-process nucleosynthesis in AGB stars to the overshoot model
Institut d’Astronomie et d’Astrophysique, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), CP 226, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
Received: 23 June 2017
Accepted: 22 August 2017
Context. S-process elements are observed at the surface of low- and intermediate-mass stars. These observations can be explained empirically by the so-called partial mixing of protons scenario leading to the incomplete operation of the CN cycle and a significant primary production of the 13C neutron source. This scenario has been successful in qualitatively explaining the s-process enrichment in AGB stars. Even so, it remains difficult to describe both physically and numerically the mixing mechanisms taking place at the time of the third dredged-up between the convective envelope and the underlying C-rich radiative layer
Aims. We aim to present new calculations of the s-process nucleosynthesis in AGB stars testing two different numerical implementations of chemical transport. These are based on a diffusion equation which depends on the second derivative of the composition and on a numerical algorithm where the transport of species depends linearly on the chemical gradient.
Methods. The s-process nucleosynthesis resulting from these different mixing schemes is calculated with our stellar evolution code STAREVOL which has been upgraded to include an extended s-process network of 411 nuclei. Our investigation focuses on a fiducial 2 M⊙, [Fe/H] = −0.5 model star, but also includes four additional stars of different masses and metallicities.
Results. We show that for the same set of parameters, the linear mixing approach produces a much larger 13C-pocket and consequently a substantially higher surface s-process enrichment compared to the diffusive prescription. Within the diffusive model, a quite extreme choice of parameters is required to account for surface s-process enrichment of 1–2 dex. These extreme conditions can not, however, be excluded at this stage.
Conclusions. Both the diffusive and linear prescriptions of the overshoot mixing are suited to describe the s-process nucleosynthesis in AGB stars provided the profile of the diffusion coefficient below the convective envelope is carefully chosen. Both schemes give rise to relatively similar distributions of s-process elements, but depending on the parameters adopted, some differences may be obtained. These differences are in the element distribution, and most of all in the level of surface enrichment.
Key words: nuclear reactions, nucleosynthesis, abundances / stars: AGB and post-AGB
© ESO, 2017