The long-term evolution of neutron star merger remnants - I. The impact of r-process nucleosynthesis
2014 (English)In: Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, ISSN 0035-8711, E-ISSN 1365-2966, Vol. 439, no 1, 744-756 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
We follow the long-term evolution of the dynamic ejecta of neutron star mergers for up to 100 years and over a density range of roughly 40 orders of magnitude. We include the nuclear energy input from the freshly synthesized, radioactively decaying nuclei in our simulations and study its effects on the remnant dynamics. Although the nuclear heating substantially alters the long-term evolution, we find that running nuclear networks over purely hydrodynamic simulations (i.e. without heating) yields actually acceptable nucleosynthesis results. The main dynamic effect of the radioactive heating is to quickly smooth out inhomogeneities in the initial mass distribution, subsequently the evolution proceeds self-similarly and after 100 years the remnant still carries the memory of the initial binary mass ratio. We also explore the nucleosynthetic yields for two mass ejection channels. The dynamic ejecta very robustly produce 'strong' r-process elements with A > 130 with a pattern that is essentially independent of the details of the merging system. From a simple model we find that neutrino-driven winds yield 'weak' r-process contributions with 50 < A < 130 whose abundance patterns vary substantially between different merger cases. This is because their electron fraction, set by the ratio of neutrino luminosities, varies considerably from case to case. Such winds do not produce any Ni-56, but a range of radioactive isotopes that are long-lived enough to produce a second, radioactively powered electromagnetic transient in addition to the 'macronova' from the dynamic ejecta. While our wind model is very simple, it nevertheless demonstrates the potential of such neutrino-driven winds for electromagnetic transients and it motivates further, more detailed neutrino-hydrodynamic studies. The properties of the mentioned transients are discussed in more detail in a companion paper.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 439, no 1, 744-756 p.
hydrodynamics, nuclear reactions, nucleosynthesis, abundances, gamma-ray burst: general, stars: neutron
Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-102974DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stt2502ISI: 000333297700071OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-102974DiVA: diva2:714554