AAS 200th meeting, Albuquerque, NM, June 2002
Session 73. Interim Stellar Materials: Gas, Dust and Clouds
Display, Thursday, June 6, 2002, 9:20am-4:00pm, SW Exhibit Hall

[Previous] | [Session 73] | [Next]

[73.20] Density Interface Instabilities in Molecular Clouds; Self-Gravity Driven vs Rayleigh-Taylor

R.M. Hueckstaedt (Los Alamos National Laboratory, Applied Physics Division)

The structure and evolution of molecular clouds are affected by a large number of physical processes, including self-gravity. In recent years, studies have shown that an interface of discontinuous density is unstable to perturbations due to the action of self-gravity. Crenulations along the interface grow as the system seeks a lower energy state. Theory predicts a growth rate of the order of the free-fall time in the denser medium, even when the perturbation wavelength is less than the Jeans length. In the incompressible limit, the growth rate is independent from the perturbation wavelength. An ongoing computational study of the self-gravity driven interfacial instability (SGI) seeks to validate the linear theory and examine the nonlinear behavior. Preliminary results have shown growth rates in agreement with theory. Here, I present the latest results from hydrodynamic simulations using an expanded parameter space to further explore the behavior of the SGI. Comparison is made with the well studied Rayleigh-Taylor instability.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: rmhx@lanl.gov

[Previous] | [Session 73] | [Next]

Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34
© 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.