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Three-dimensional Instability of Flame Fronts in Type I X-Ray Bursts

Author(s): Cavecchi, Y; Spitkovsky, Anatoly

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Abstract: We present the first realistic 3D simulations of flame front instabilities during type I X-ray bursts. The unperturbed front is characterized by the balance between the pressure gradient and the Coriolis force of a spinning neutron star (nu = 450 Hz in our case). This balance leads to a fast horizontal velocity field parallel to the flame front. This flow is strongly sheared in the vertical direction. When we perturb the front an instability quickly corrugates the front. We identify this instability as the baroclinic instability. Most importantly, the flame is not disrupted by the instability and there are two major consequences: the overall flame propagation speed is similar to 10 times faster than in the unperturbed case and distinct flame vortices appear. The speedup is due to the corrugation of the front and the dynamics of the vortices. These vortices may also be linked to the oscillations observed in the light curves of the bursts.
Publication Date: 11-Sep-2019
Electronic Publication Date: 10-Sep-2019
Citation: Cavecchi, Y, Spitkovsky, A. (2019). Three-dimensional Instability of Flame Fronts in Type I X-Ray Bursts. ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL, 882 (2), 10.3847/1538-4357/ab3650
DOI: doi:10.3847/1538-4357/ab3650
ISSN: 0004-637X
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Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL
Version: Final published version. Article is made available in OAR by the publisher's permission or policy.

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