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Numerically Determined Transport Laws for Fingering ("Thermohaline") Convection in Astrophysics
The Astrophysical Journal Letters
  • Adrienne L. Traxler, Wright State University - Main Campus
  • Pascale Garaud
  • Stephan Stellmach
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We present the first three-dimensional simulations of fingering convection performed in a parameter regime close to the one relevant for astrophysics, and reveal the existence of simple asymptotic scaling laws for turbulent heat and compositional transport. These laws can straightforwardly be extrapolated to the true astrophysical regime. Our investigation also indicates that thermocompositional "staircases," a key consequence of fingering convection in the ocean, cannot form spontaneously in the fingering regime in stellar interiors. Our proposed empirically-determined transport laws thus provide simple prescriptions for mixing by fingering convection in a variety of astrophysical situations, and should, from here on, be used preferentially over older and less accurate parameterizations. They also establish that fingering convection does not provide sufficient extra mixing to explain observed chemical abundances in RGB stars.

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Citation Information
Adrienne L. Traxler, Pascale Garaud and Stephan Stellmach. "Numerically Determined Transport Laws for Fingering ("Thermohaline") Convection in Astrophysics" The Astrophysical Journal Letters Vol. 728 Iss. 2 (2011) ISSN: 20418205
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