Two-component self-gravitating isothermal slab models
Department of Physics, Università degli Studi di Milano, via Celoria 16, 20133, Milano, Italy
2 Department of Physics, Università di Pisa, Largo Pontecorvo 3, 56127, Pisa, Italy
3 INAF-IAPS, via Fosso del Cavaliere 100, 00133, Roma, Italy
Accepted: 15 April 2022
Published online: 3 May 2022
We revisit the problem of the isothermal slab (in standard Cartesian coordinates, density distributions and mean gravitational potential are considered to be independent of x and y and to be a function of z, symmetric with respect to the plane) in the context of the general issues related to the role of weak collisionality in inhomogeneous self-gravitating stellar systems. We thus consider the two-component case, that is a system of heavy and light stars with assigned mass ratio () and assigned global relative abundance (; the ratio of the total mass of the heavy and light stars). The system is imagined to start from an initial condition in which the two species are well mixed and have identical spatial and velocity distributions and to evolve into a final configuration in which collisions have generated equipartition and mass segregation. Initial and final distribution functions are assumed to be Maxwellian. Application of mass and energy conservation allows us to derive the properties of the final state from the assumed initial conditions. In general, the derivation of these properties requires a simple numerical integration of the Poisson equation. Curiously, the case in which the heavy stars are exactly twice as massive as the light stars () turns out to admit a relatively simple analytic solution. Although the general framework of this investigation is relatively straightforward, some non-trivial issues related to energy conservation and the possible use of a virial constraint are noted and clarified. The formulation and the results of this paper prepare the way to future studies in which the evolution induced by weak collisionality will be followed either by considering the action of standard collision operators or by means of dedicated numerical simulations.
© The Author(s) 2022. corrected publication 2022
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