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  1. ABSTRACT

    Our understanding of stellar structure and evolution coming from one-dimensional (1D) stellar models is limited by uncertainties related to multidimensional processes taking place in stellar interiors. 1D models, however, can now be tested and improved with the help of detailed three-dimensional (3D) hydrodynamics models, which can reproduce complex multidimensional processes over short time-scales, thanks to the recent advances in computing resources. Among these processes, turbulent entrainment leading to mixing across convective boundaries is one of the least understood and most impactful. Here, we present the results from a set of hydrodynamics simulations of the neon-burning shell in a massive star, and interpret them in the framework of the turbulent entrainment law from geophysics. Our simulations differ from previous studies in their unprecedented degree of realism in reproducing the stellar environment. Importantly, the strong entrainment found in the simulations highlights the major flaws of the current implementation of convective boundary mixing in 1D stellar models. This study therefore calls for major revisions of how convective boundaries are modelled in 1D, and in particular the implementation of entrainment in these models. This will have important implications for supernova theory, nucleosynthesis, neutron stars, and black holes physics.

  2. Our ability to predict the structure and evolution of stars is in part limited by complex, 3D hydrodynamic processes such as convective boundary mixing. Hydrodynamic simulations help us understand the dynamics of stellar convection and convective boundaries. However, the codes used to compute such simulations are usually tested on extremely simple problems and the reliability and reproducibility of their predictions for turbulent flows is unclear. We define a test problem involving turbulent convection in a plane-parallel box, which leads to mass entrainment from, and internal-wave generation in, a stably stratified layer. We compare the outputs from the codes FLASH , MUSIC , PPMSTAR , PROMPI , and SLH , which have been widely employed to study hydrodynamic problems in stellar interiors. The convection is dominated by the largest scales that fit into the simulation box. All time-averaged profiles of velocity components, fluctuation amplitudes, and fluxes of enthalpy and kinetic energy are within ≲3 σ of the mean of all simulations on a given grid (128 3 and 256 3 grid cells), where σ describes the statistical variation due to the flow’s time dependence. They also agree well with a 512 3 reference run. The 128 3 and 256 3 simulationsmore »agree within 9% and 4%, respectively, on the total mass entrained into the convective layer. The entrainment rate appears to be set by the amount of energy that can be converted to work in our setup and details of the small-scale flows in the boundary layer seem to be largely irrelevant. Our results lend credence to hydrodynamic simulations of flows in stellar interiors. We provide in electronic form all outputs of our simulations as well as all information needed to reproduce or extend our study.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023