Does turbulence determine the initial mass function?

David Liptai, Daniel J. Price, James Wurster, Matthew R. Bate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


We test the hypothesis that the initial mass function (IMF) is determined by the density probability distribution function (PDF) produced by supersonic turbulence. We compare 14 simulations of star cluster formation in 50 M molecular cloud cores where the initial turbulence contains either purely solenoidal or purely compressive modes, in each case resolving fragmentation to the opacity limit to determine the resultant IMF. We find statistically indistinguishable IMFs between the two sets of calculations, despite a factor of 2 difference in the star formation rate and in the standard deviation of log (ρ). This suggests that the density PDF, while determining the star formation rate, is not the primary driver of the IMF.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-110
Number of pages6
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Brown dwarfs
  • Mass function
  • Stars: formation
  • Stars: low-mass
  • Stars: luminosity function

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