Poster Abstract

P.14 Karel Temmink (Department of Astrophysics/IMAPP, Radboud University Nijmegen)

Coping with loss: stability of mass transfer revisited

Mass transfer is a crucial process in the evolution of many binary systems. Whether the onset of Roche-lobe overflow in a particular binary leads to stable or unstable mass transfer produces a qualitative difference in the future evolution. Different assumptions regarding mass-transfer stability therefore strongly affect predictions for, e.g., white-dwarf binaries and their associated transients. Despite its importance, only few systematic studies of the stability of mass transfer have been performed.
We present a systematic study of mass-transfer stability for Roche-lobe overflow from intermediate-mass donor stars, i.e., important for the population of white-dwarf binaries.
We demonstrate that different, physically-motivated, stability criteria can lead to significant differences in predicted mass-transfer stability. Nonetheless, our study finds mass transfer to be significantly more stable than in the simplified criteria typically still adopted by population-synthesis codes, with implications for the predicted populations of white-dwarf binaries.