We investigate the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability of stratified jets. The internal component (core) is made of a relativistic gas moving with a relativistic bulk speed. The second component (sheath or envelope) flows between the core and external gas with a nonrelativistic speed. Such a two-component jet describes a variety of possible astrophysical jet configurations like e.g. (1) a relativistic electron-positron beam penetrating a classical electron-proton disc wind or (2) a beam-cocoon structure. We perform a linear stability analysis of such a configuration in the hydrodynamic, plane-parallel, vortex-sheet approximation. The obtained solutions of the dispersion relation show very apparent differences with respect to the single-jet solutions. Due to the reflection of sound waves at the boundary between sheet and external gas, the growth rate as a function of wavenumber presents a specific oscillation pattern. Overdense sheets can slow down the growth rate and contribute to stabilize the configuration. Moreover, we obtain the result that even for relatively small sheet widths the properties of sheet start to dominate the jet dynamics. Such effects could have important astrophysical implications, for instance on the origin of the dichotomy between radio-loud and radio-quiet objects.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Pub Date:
- November 1996
- GALAXIES: JETS;
- LaTeX, 11 pages, 6 figures and l-aa.sty, epsf.sty included, accepted for publication in Astronomy &