The stability of radiatively cooled jets in three dimensions

Jianjun Xu, Philip E. Hardee, James McLellan Stone

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33 Scopus citations


The effect of optically thin radiative cooling on the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability of three-dimensional jets is investigated via linear stability theory and nonlinear hydrodynamical simulation. Two different cooling functions are considered; radiative cooling is found to have a significant effect on the stability of the jet in each case. The wavelengths and growth rates of unstable modes in the numerical simulations are found to be in good agreement with theoretical predictions. Disruption of the jet is found to be sensitive to the precessional frequency at the origin, with lower frequencies leading to more rapid disruption. Strong nonlinear effects are observed as the result of the large number of normal modes in three dimensions which provide rich mode-mode interactions. These mode-mode interactions provide new mechanisms for the formation of knots in the flows. Significant structural features found in the numerical simulations appear similar to structures observed on protostellar jets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-177
Number of pages17
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 PART 1
StatePublished - Nov 1 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Galaxies: jets
  • Hydrodynamics
  • ISM: jets and outflows
  • Instabilities


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