A note on hydrodynamic viscosity and selfgravitation in accretion disks

W. J. Duschl, P. A. Strittmatter, P. L. Biermann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


We propose a generalized accretion disk viscosity prescription based on hydrodynamically driven turbulence at the critical effective Reynolds number. This approach is consistent with recent re-analysis by Richard & Zahn (1999) of experimental results on turbulent Couette-Taylor flows. This new β-viscosity formulation is applied to both selfgravitating and non-selfgravitating disks and is shown to yield the standard α-disk prescription in the case of shock dissipation limited, non-selfgravitating disks. A specific case of fully selfgravitating β-disks is analyzed. We suggest that such disks may explain the observed spectra of protoplanetary disks and yield a natural explanation for the radial motions inferred from the observed metallicity gradients in disk galaxies. The β-mechanism may also account for the rapid mass transport required to power ultra luminous infrared galaxies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1123-1132
Number of pages10
JournalAstronomy and astrophysics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000


  • Accretion, accretion disks
  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxy: evolution
  • Hydrodynamics
  • Stars: pre-main sequence
  • Turbulence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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