Sunday, October 9, 2016

Face-on accretion onto a protoplanetary disk


Wijnen et al


Globular clusters (GCs) are known to harbor multiple stellar populations. To explain these observations Bastian et al. suggested a scenario in which a second population is formed by the accretion of enriched material onto the low-mass stars in the initial GC population. The idea is that the low-mass, pre-main sequence stars sweep up gas expelled by the massive stars of the same generation into their protoplanetary disc as they move through the GC core. We perform simulations with 2 different smoothed particle hydrodynamics codes to investigate if a low-mass star surrounded by a protoplanetary disc can accrete the amount of enriched material required in this scenario. We focus on the gas loading rate onto the disc and star as well as on the lifetime of the disc. We find that the gas loading rate is a factor of 2 smaller than the geometric rate, because the effective cross section of the disc is smaller than its surface area. The loading rate is consistent for both codes, irrespective of resolution. The disc gains mass in the high resolution runs, but loses angular momentum on a time scale of 10^4 yrs. Two effects determine the loss of (specific) angular momentum in our simulations: 1) continuous ram pressure stripping and 2) accretion of material with no azimuthal angular momentum. Our study and previous work suggest that the former, dominant process is mainly caused by numerical rather than physical effects, while the latter is not. The latter process causes the disc to become more compact, increasing the surface density profile at smaller radii. The disc size is determined in the first place by the ram pressure when the flow first hits the disc. Further evolution is governed by the decrease in the specific angular momentum of the disc. We conclude that the size and lifetime of the disc are probably not sufficient to accrete the amount of mass required in Bastian et al.'s scenario.

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