Author(s): Horowitz CJ, Caballero OL, Berry DK
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Abstract Recently, crust cooling times have been measured for neutron stars after extended outbursts. These observations are very sensitive to the thermal conductivity kappa of the crust and strongly suggest that kappa is large. We perform molecular dynamics simulations of the structure of the crust of an accreting neutron star using a complex composition that includes many impurities. The composition comes from simulations of rapid proton capture nucleosynthesis followed by electron captures. We find that the thermal conductivity is reduced by impurity scattering. In addition, we find phase separation. Some impurities with low atomic number Z are concentrated in a subregion of the simulation volume. For our composition, the solid crust must separate into regions of different compositions. This could lead to an asymmetric star with a quadrupole deformation. Observations of crust cooling can constrain impurity concentrations.
This article was published in Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys
and referenced in International Journal of Advance Innovations, Thoughts & Ideas