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Title:Rapid mass transfer in binary systems
Author(s):Hjellming, Michael Scott
Department / Program:Physics, Astronomy and Astrophysics
Discipline:Physics, Astronomy and Astrophysics
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Physics, Astronomy and Astrophysics
Abstract:This thesis investigates the conditions for rapid mass transfer in binary stars. Previous theoretical calculations and observations of binaries imply the existence of several different timescales for mass transfer: nuclear, thermal, or dynamical. Since the mass transfer rates differ by several orders of magnitude, it is important to know which timescales are relevant to different systems. Dynamical timescale mass transfer is thought to cause substantial decreases in the orbital period through mass and angular momentum losses. Thermal timescale mass transfer is thought to transform the appearance of the binary as mass exchange occurs in a short time. Binaries currently transferring mass are doing so on the longest, nuclear, timescale.
The characteristics of binaries which divide the three timescales are estimated by calculating the response of potential mass donors in two idealized limits: an adiabatic response, where the entropy profile does not change with mass loss, and a thermal response, where thermal relaxation is allowed but nuclear burning is not. A comparison of the changing surface radius, $\zeta$ = dlnR/dlnM, to the Roche lobe radius implies the critical mass ratios for dynamically and thermally unstable mass transfer. These calculations are performed here for donors between 0.25 and 20 M$\sb\odot$ which would fill their Roche lobes before helium burning.
The adiabatic mass-loss calculations have provided a clear relation between $\zeta\sb{\rm ad}$ and the donor's convective envelope mass fraction (f$\sb{\rm ce}$), with a smaller dependence on the state of the interior. Low-mass ZAMS donors and models near the base of the giant branch have $\zeta\sb{\rm ad} \gg 1$ change to $\zeta\sb{\rm ad} \sim 0$ between $0.05 $ 1.5 M$\sb\odot$, much larger changes occur: $\zeta\sb{\rm th} = 0.60$, for the ZAMS models, to $\zeta\sb{\rm th} \ll -1$, for models within the Hertzsprung gap. At the base of the giant branch, $\zeta\sb{\rm th}$ increases back to $-$0.2. The current distributions of cataclysmic variables and Algol binaries are discussed in consideration of these results.
Issue Date:1989
Rights Information:Copyright 1989 Hjellming, Michael Scott
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9010885
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9010885

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