We derive a new formalism for convective motions involving two radial flows. This formalism provides a framework for convective models that guarantees consistency for the chemistry and the energy budget in the flows, allows time dependence and accounts for the interaction of the convective motions with the global contraction or expansion of the star. In the one-stream limit, the formalism reproduces several existing convective models and allows them to treat the chemistry in the flows. We suggest a version of the formalism that can be implemented easily in a stellar evolution code. We then apply the formalism to convective Urca cores in Chandrasekhar-mass white dwarfs and compare it to previous studies. We demonstrate that, in degenerate matter, nuclear reactions which change the number of electrons strongly influence the convective velocities, and we show that the net energy budget is sensitive to the mixing. We illustrate our model by computing stationary convective cores with Urca nuclei. Even a very small mass fraction of Urca nuclei (as little as 10-8) strongly influences the convective velocities. We conclude that the proper modelling of the Urca process is essential for determining the ignition conditions for the thermonuclear runaway in Chandrasekhar-mass white dwarfs.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
- Pub Date:
- January 2005
- nuclear reactions;
- supernovae: general;
- white dwarfs;
- 15 pages,9 figures, MNRAS in press