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Title: Carbon–Oxygen Phase Separation in Modules for Experiments in Stellar Astrophysics (MESA) White Dwarf Models

We enhance the treatment of crystallization for models of white dwarfs (WDs) in the stellar evolution software Modules for Experiments in Stellar Astrophysics (MESA) by implementing carbon–oxygen (C/O) phase separation. The phase separation process during crystallization leads to transport of oxygen toward the centers of WDs, resulting in a more compact structure that liberates gravitational energy as additional heating that modestly slows WD cooling timescales. We quantify this cooling delay in MESA C/O WD models over the mass range 0.5–1.0M, finding delays of 0.5–0.8 Gyr for typical C/O interior profiles. MESA WD cooling timescales including this effect are generally comparable to other WD evolution models that make similar assumptions about input physics. When considering phase separation alongside22Ne sedimentation, however, we find that both MESA and BaSTI WD cooling models predict a more modest sedimentation delay than the latest LPCODE models, and this may therefore require a reevaluation of previously proposed solutions to some WD cooling anomalies that were based on LPCODE models of22Ne sedimentation. Our implementation of C/O phase separation in the open-source stellar evolution software MESA provides an important tool for building realistic grids of WD cooling models, as well as a framework for expanding on our implementation to explore additional physical processes related to phase transitions and associated fluid motions in WD interiors.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.3847
Date Published:
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal
Medium: X Size: Article No. 115
["Article No. 115"]
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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