Critically-rotating stars in binaries: an unsolved problem

S.E. de Mink, O.R. Pols, E. Glebbeek

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


In close binaries mass and angular momentum can be transferred from one star to the other during Roche-lobe overflow. The efficiency of this process is not well understood and constitutes one of the largest uncertainties in binary evolution. One of the problems lies in the transfer of angular momentum, which will spin up the accreting star. In very tight systems tidal friction can prevent reaching critical rotation, by locking the spin period to the orbital period. Accreting stars in systems with orbital periods larger than a few days reach critical rotation after accreting only a fraction of their mass, unless there is an effective mechanism to get rid of angular momentum. In low-mass stars magnetic field might help. In more-massive stars angular-momentum loss will be accompanied by strong mass loss. This would imply that most interacting binaries with initial orbital periods larger than a few days evolve very non-conservatively. In this contribution we wish to draw attention to the unsolved problems related to mass and angular-momentum transfer in binary systems. We do this by presenting the first results of an implementation of spin up by accretion into the TWIN version of the Eggleton stellar-evolution code.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Title of host publicationUnsolved problems in stellar physics : a conference in honour of Douglas Gough : Cambridge, United Kingdom, 2-6 July 2007
EditorsRichard J. Stancliffe
Place of PublicationMelville, N.Y.
PublisherAmerican Institute of Physics
Number of pages464
ISBN (Print)9780735404625
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Publication series

NameAIP conference proceedings

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