Vorticity generation by Shocks in the Interstellar Medium

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Session 29 -- General Interstellar Medium
Display presentation, Tuesday, 31, 1994, 9:20-6:30

[29.21] Vorticity generation by Shocks in the Interstellar Medium

P. J. Kornreich (UT, Austin), John Scalo (UT, Austin)

An attempt is made to estimate vorticity production by shocks in the galaxy, and how it may be amplified by cooling. Three known mechanisms of producing vorticity behind a shock are used: the expansion of a curved shock into a uniform medium; the expansion of a straight shock into an inhomogeneous medium; and the intersection of two shocks, which is sometimes known as the Mach stem or triple point shock. All these mechanisms are able to produce vorticity by means of the ``baroclinic vector,'' which results when the pressure and density gradients are nonaligned. Given the dependence of the vorticity and the vorticity production rate on given parameters (mach number, obliquity, etc.), integration is made over a statistical distribution to obtain a total vorticity and vorticity production rate. Finally, vorticity amplification by compression due to radiative cooling is also investigated.

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