Chaos and turbulent nucleosynthesis prior to a supernova explosion

W. D. Arnett, C. Meakin, M. Viallet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Three-dimensional (3D), time dependent numerical simulations of flow of matter in stars, now have sufficient resolution to be fully turbulent. The late stages of the evolution of massive stars, leading up to core collapse to a neutron star (or black hole), and often to supernova explosion and nucleosynthesis, are strongly convective because of vigorous neutrino cooling and nuclear heating. Unlike models based on current stellar evolutionary practice, these simulations show a chaotic dynamics characteristic of highly turbulent flow. Theoretical analysis of this flow, both in the Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) framework and by simple dynamic models, show an encouraging consistency with the numerical results. It may now be possible to develop physically realistic and robust procedures for convection and mixing which (unlike 3D numerical simulation) may be applied throughout the long life times of stars. In addition, a new picture of the presupernova stages is emerging which is more dynamic and interesting (i.e., predictive of new and newly observed phenomena) than our previous one.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number041010
JournalAIP Advances
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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