Hydrodynamical simulations of the decay of high-speed molecular turbulence - II. Divergence from isothermality

Pavlovski, Georgi and Smith, Michael D. and Mac Low, Mordecai-Mark (2006) Hydrodynamical simulations of the decay of high-speed molecular turbulence - II. Divergence from isothermality. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 368 (2). pp. 943-958. ISSN 0035-8711. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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A roughly constant temperature over a wide range of densities is maintained in molecular clouds through radiative heating and cooling. An isothermal equation of state is therefore frequently employed in molecular cloud simulations. However, the dynamical processes in molecular clouds include shock waves, expansion waves, cooling induced collapse and baroclinic vorticity, all incompatible with the assumption of a purely isothermal flow. Here, we incorporate an energy equation including all the important heating and cooling rates and a simple chemical network into simulations of 3D, hydrodynamic, decaying turbulence. This allows us to test the accuracy of the isothermal assumption by directly comparing a model run with the modified energy equation to an isothermal model. We compute an extreme case in which the initial turbulence is sufficiently strong to dissociate much of the gas and alter the specific heat ratio. The molecules then reform as the turbulence weakens. We track the true specific heat ratio as well as its effective value. We analyse power spectra, vorticity and shock structures, and discuss scaling laws for decaying turbulence. We derive some limitations to the isothermal approximation for simulations of the interstellar medium using simple projection techniques. Overall, even given the extreme conditions, we find that an isothermal flow provides an adequate physical and observational description of many properties. The main exceptions revealed here concern behaviour directly related to the high-temperature zones behind the shock waves.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science
Divisions: Faculties > Science Technology and Medical Studies > School of Physical Sciences
Depositing User: Michael Smith
Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2008 22:41
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2014 09:25
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/8325 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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