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Projecting the likely importance of weak-interaction-driven bulk viscosity in neutron star mergers

Author(s): Most, Elias R; Harris, Steven P; Plumberg, Christopher; Alford, Mark G; Noronha, Jorge; et al

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Abstract: In this work, we estimate how much bulk viscosity driven by Urca processes is likely to affect the gravitational wave signal of a neutron star coalescence. In the late inspiral, we show that bulk viscosity affects the binding energy at fourth post-Newtonian order. Even though this effect is enhanced by the square of the gravitational compactness, the coefficient of bulk viscosity is likely too small to lead to observable effects in the waveform during the late inspiral, when only considering the orbital motion itself. In the post-merger, however, the characteristic time-scales and spatial scales are different, potentially leading to the opposite conclusion. We post-process data from a state-of-the-art equal-mass binary neutron star merger simulation to estimate the effects of bulk viscosity (which was not included in the simulation itself). In that scenario, we find that bulk viscosity can reach high values in regions of the merger. We compute several estimates of how much it might directly affect the global dynamics of the considered merger scenario, and find that it could become significant. Even larger effects could arise in different merger scenarios or in simulations that include non-linear effects. This assessment is reinforced by a quantitative comparison with relativistic heavy-ion collisions where such effects have been explored extensively.
Publication Date: 1-Oct-2021
Citation: Most, Elias R, Harris, Steven P, Plumberg, Christopher, Alford, Mark G, Noronha, Jorge, Noronha-Hostler, Jacquelyn, Pretorius, Frans, Witek, Helvi, Yunes, Nicolás. (2021). Projecting the likely importance of weak-interaction-driven bulk viscosity in neutron star mergers. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 509 (1), 1096 - 1108. doi:10.1093/mnras/stab2793
DOI: doi:10.1093/mnras/stab2793
ISSN: 0035-8711
EISSN: 1365-2966
Pages: 1096 - 1108
Language: en
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Version: Final published version. This is an open access article.

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