We present results for 2-D, axisymmetric simulations of flows with Lorentz factors ~ 5 -- 10, typical of values inferred for superluminal BL Lacs and QSOs. The simulations were performed with a numerical hydrodynamic code that admits relativistic flow speed. We exploit the property that the relativistic Euler equations for mass, momentum and total energy densities in the laboratory frame have the same form as the nonrelativistic equations, to solve for laboratory frame variables using a conventional Godunov-type scheme with approximate Riemann solver: the HLLE method. The relativistic nature of the flow is incorporated by performing a Lorentz transformation at every step, at each cell center or cell boundary where pressure, sound speed or velocity are required. Determination of the velocity in this manner is a robust algebraic procedure within which we can ensure that v<c. The method is second order in both space and time, and is applied within the framework of an adaptive mesh refinement code (Quirk, J.J., 1991, Ph.D. Thesis, College of Aeronautics, Cranfield Institute of Technology, U.K.). This allows us to achieve non-diffusive, high resolution results with modest computing resources. We find all the features seen in the many published nonrelativistic simulations (Mach disk, cocoon, bow shock etc.), but the relativistic flows exhibit a less pronounced pattern of incident and reflection shocks on axis. For flows which have propagated to a fixed number of jet radii, the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability at the contact surface is much less evident in the high Lorentz factor cases, supporting the contention that relativistic flows are less prone to such instability. We describe how the morphology of the cocoon and shocked ambient gas change with increasing Lorentz factor. This work was supported by NSF grant AST 9120224 and by the Ohio Supercomputer Center from a Cray Research Software Development Grant.
American Astronomical Society Meeting Abstracts #184
- Pub Date:
- May 1994