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[en] We study lithium depletion in low-mass and solar-like stars as a function of time, using a new diffusion coefficient describing extra-mixing taking place at the bottom of a convective envelope. This new form is motivated by multi-dimensional fully compressible, time-implicit hydrodynamic simulations performed with the MUSIC code. Intermittent convective mixing at the convective boundary in a star can be modeled using extreme value theory, a statistical analysis frequently used for finance, meteorology, and environmental science. In this Letter, we implement this statistical diffusion coefficient in a one-dimensional stellar evolution code, using parameters calibrated from multi-dimensional hydrodynamic simulations of a young low-mass star. We propose a new scenario that can explain observations of the surface abundance of lithium in the Sun and in clusters covering a wide range of ages, from ∼50 Myr to ∼4 Gyr. Because it relies on our physical model of convective penetration, this scenario has a limited number of assumptions. It can explain the observed trend between rotation and depletion, based on a single additional assumption, namely, that rotation affects the mixing efficiency at the convective boundary. We suggest the existence of a threshold in stellar rotation rate above which rotation strongly prevents the vertical penetration of plumes and below which rotation has small effects. In addition to providing a possible explanation for the long-standing problem of lithium depletion in pre-main-sequence and main-sequence stars, the strength of our scenario is that its basic assumptions can be tested by future hydrodynamic simulations.
[en] 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
[en] Stellar evolution models of massive stars are important for many areas of astrophysics, for example nucleosynthesis yields, supernova progenitor models and understanding physics under extreme conditions. Turbulence occurs in stars primarily due to nuclear burning at different mass coordinates within the star. The understanding and correct treatment of turbulence and turbulent mixing at convective boundaries in stellar models has been studied for decades but still lacks a definitive solution. This paper presents initial results of a study on convective boundary mixing (CBM) in massive stars. The ‘stiffness’ of a convective boundary can be quantified using the bulk Richardson number (), the ratio of the potential energy for restoration of the boundary to the kinetic energy of turbulent eddies. A ‘stiff’ boundary () will suppress CBM, whereas in the opposite case a ‘soft’ boundary () will be more susceptible to CBM. One of the key results obtained so far is that lower convective boundaries (closer to the centre) of nuclear burning shells are ‘stiffer’ than the corresponding upper boundaries, implying limited CBM at lower shell boundaries. This is in agreement with 3D hydrodynamic simulations carried out by Meakin and Arnett (2007 Astrophys. J. 667 448–75). This result also has implications for new CBM prescriptions in massive stars as well as for nuclear burning flame front propagation in super-asymptotic giant branch stars and also the onset of novae. (paper)