Evolution of supernovae-driven superbubbles with conduction and cooling

Kareem El-Badry, Eve C. Ostriker, Chang Goo Kim, Eliot Quataert, Daniel R. Weisz

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We use spherically symmetric hydrodynamic simulations to study the dynamical evolution and internal structure of superbubbles (SBs) driven by clustered supernovae (SNe), focusing on the effects of thermal conduction and cooling in the interface between the hot bubble interior and cooled shell. Our simulations employ an effective diffusivity to account for turbulent mixing from non-linear instabilities that are not captured in 1D. The conductive heat flux into the shell is balanced by a combination of cooling in the interface and evaporation of shell gas into the bubble interior. This evaporation increases the density, and decreases the temperature, of the SB interior by more than an order of magnitude relative to simulations without conduction. However, most of the energy conducted into the interface is immediately lost to cooling, reducing the evaporative mass flux required to balance conduction. As a result, the evaporation rate is typically a factor of ∼3-30 lower than predicted by the classical similarity solution of (Weaver et al. 1977), which neglects cooling. Blast waves from the first ∼30 SNe remain supersonic in the SB interior because reduced evaporation from the interface lowers the mass they sweep up in the hot interior. Updating the Weaver solution to include cooling, we construct a new analytic model to predict the cooling rate, evaporation rate, and temporal evolution of SBs. The cooling rate, and hence the hot gas mass, momentum, and energy delivered by SBs, is set by the ambient interstellar mass density and the efficiency of non-linear mixing at the bubble-shell interface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1961-1990
Number of pages30
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • ISM: bubbles
  • ISM: kinematics and dynamics
  • ISM: supernova remnants


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