On the dynamics and survival of fractal clouds in galactic winds

W. E. Banda-Barragán, F. J. Zertuche, C. Federrath, J. García Del Valle, M. Brüggen, A. Y. Wagner

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    31 Citations (Scopus)


    Recent observations suggest that dense gas clouds can survive even in hot galactic winds. Here we show that the inclusion of turbulent densities with different statistical properties has significant effects on the evolution of wind-swept clouds. We investigate how the initial standard deviation of the lognormal density field influences the dynamics of quasi-isothermal clouds embedded in supersonic winds. We compare uniform, fractal solenoidal, and fractal compressive cloud models in both 3D and 2D hydrodynamical simulations. We find that the processes of cloud disruption and dense gas entrainment are functions of the initial density distribution in the cloud. Fractal clouds accelerate, mix, and are disrupted earlier than uniform clouds.Within the fractal cloud sample, compressive clouds retain high-density nuclei, so they are more confined, less accelerated, and have lower velocity dispersions than their solenoidal counterparts. Compressive clouds are also less prone to Kelvin-Helmholtz and Rayleigh- Taylor instabilities, so they survive longer than solenoidal clouds. By comparing the cloud properties at the destruction time, we find that dense gas entrainment is more effective in uniform clouds than in either of the fractal clouds, and it is more effective in solenoidal than in compressive models. In contrast, mass loading into the wind is more efficient in compressive cloud models than in uniform or solenoidal models. Overall, wide density distributions lead to inefficient entrainment, but they facilitate mass loading and favour the survival of very dense gas in hot galactic winds.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)4526-4544
    Number of pages19
    JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019


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