Hydrodynamical simulation of detonations in superbursts
I. The hydrodynamical algorithm and some preliminary one-dimensional results
Institut d'Astronomie et d'Astrophysique, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Campus plaine CP 226, Boulevard du Triomphe, 1050 Bruxelles, Belgium e-mail: email@example.com
2 Département de Mécanique, Université catholique de Louvain, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
Accepted: 24 April 2007
Aims.This work presents a new hydrodynamical algorithm to study astrophysical detonations. A prime motivation of this development is the description of a carbon detonation in conditions relevant to superbursts, which are thought to result from the propagation of a detonation front around the surface of a neutron star in the carbon layer underlying the atmosphere.
Methods.The algorithm we have developed is a finite-volume method inspired by the original MUSCL scheme of van Leer (1979). The algorithm is of second-order in the smooth part of the flow and avoids dimensional splitting. It is applied to some test cases, and the time-dependent results are compared to the corresponding steady state solution.
Results.Our algorithm proves to be robust to test cases, and is considered to be reliably applicable to astrophysical detonations. The preliminary one-dimensional calculations we have performed demonstrate that the carbon detonation at the surface of a neutron star is a multiscale phenomenon. The length scale of liberation of energy is 106 times smaller than the total reaction length. We show that a multi-resolution approach can be used to solve all the reaction lengths. This result will be very useful in future multi-dimensional simulations. We present also thermodynamical and composition profiles after the passage of a detonation in a pure carbon or mixed carbon-iron layer, in thermodynamical conditions relevant to superbursts in pure helium accretor systems.
Key words: hydrodynamics / methods: numerical / shock waves / stars: neutron / X-rays: bursts / nuclear reactions, nucleosynthesis, abundances
© ESO, 2007