Carbon-enhanced metal-poor stars and thermohaline mixing

Richard James Stancliffe, Evert Glebbeek, Robert George Izzard, Onno R Pols

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One possible scenario for the formation of carbon-enhanced metal-poor stars is the accretion of carbon-rich material from a binary companion which may no longer visible. It is generally assumed that the accreted material remains on the surface of the star and does not mix with the interior until first dredge-up. However, thermohaline mixing should mix the accreted material with the original stellar material as it has a higher mean molecular weight. We investigate the effect that this has on the surface abundances by modelling a binary system of metallicity Z = 10(-4) with a 2 M-circle dot primary star and a 0.74 M-circle dot secondary star in an initial orbit of 4000 days. The accretion of material from the wind of the primary leads to the formation of a carbon-rich secondary. We find that the accreted material mixes fairly rapidly throughout 90 of the star, with important consequences for the surface composition. Models with thermohaline mixing predict very different surface abundances after first dredge-up compared to canonical models of stellar evolution.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L57 - L60
Number of pages4
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

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