AAS 203rd Meeting, January 2004
Session 45 Supernovae
Poster, Tuesday, January 6, 2004, 9:20am-6:30pm, Grand Hall

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[45.12] Direct Numerical Simulations of Flame Instabilities in Type Ia Supernovae

M. Zingale (Dept. of Astronomy & Astrophysics, UCSC), J. B. Bell, M. S. Day, C. A. Rendleman (Center for Computational Science and Engineering, LBL), S. E. Woosley (Dept. of Astronomy & Astrophysics, UCSC)

Instabilities serve an important role in accelerating a thermonuclear flame in a white dwarf to a large fraction of the speed of sound (perhaps to a supersonic detonation), consuming the carbon/oxygen, and producing a Type Ia supernovae. The precise mechanism for this acceleration is not well understood, but large scale simulations show that a deflagration alone can unbind the star. We present fully resolved, multidimensional calculations of Rayleigh-Taylor unstable flames in conditions appropriate to the late stages of Type Ia SNe, using a low Mach number hydrodynamics code. At densities below 1.e7 g/cc, a fundamental change in the burning is observed, as the flame transitions from the wrinkled flame to the distributed burning regime. Significant acceleration is observed for all densities we study, limited only by the size of the domain we can address. We compare with corresponding simulations of the Landau-Darrieus instability. We discuss the physics of these instabilities on the small scales and the implications they have for large scale flame modeling and the possibility for deflagration to detonation transitions.

Support for this work was provided by the DOE grant No. DE-FC02-01ER41176 to the Supernova Science Center/UCSC and the Applied Mathematics Program of the DOE Office of Mathematics, Information, and Computational Sciences under the U.S. Department of Energy under contract No. DE-AC03-76SF00098.

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