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Title: The role of protostellar heating in star formation
Author: Jones, Michael Oliver
ISNI:       0000 0004 7653 6178
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2018
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Previous studies have shown that thermal feedback from protostars plays a key role in the process of low-mass star formation. In this thesis, we explore the effects of protostellar heating on the formation of stellar clusters. We describe new methods for modelling protostellar accretion luminosities and protostellar evolution in calculations of star formation. We then present results of a series of numerical simulations of stellar cluster formation which include these effects, and examine their impact. We begin by investigating the dependence of stellar properties on the initial density of molecular clouds. We find that the dependence of the median stellar mass on the initial density of the cloud is weaker than the dependence of the thermal Jeans mass when radiative effects are included. We suggest that including protostellar accretion luminosities and protostellar evolution may weaken this dependence further, and may account for the observed invariance of the median stellar mass in Galactic star-forming regions. Next, we investigate the effects of including accretion feedback from sink particles on the formation of small stellar groups. We find that including accretion feedback in calculations suppresses fragmentation even further than calculations that only include radiative transfer within the gas. Including feedback also produces a higher median stellar mass, which is insensitive to the sink particle accretion radius used. Finally, we compare calculations of small stellar clusters which model the evolution of protostars using a live stellar model with those which use a fixed stellar structure. We find that the dynamics of the clusters are primarily determined by the accretion luminosities of protostars, but that the relative effects of protostellar evolution depend on the accretion rate and advection of energy into the protostar. We also demonstrate how such calculations may be used to study the properties of young stellar populations.
Supervisor: Bate, Matthew Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Physics ; Astrophysics ; Astronomy ; Stars ; Molecular Clouds ; Star Formation ; Initial Mass Function ; Protostars ; Accretion ; Hydrodynamics ; Radiative Transfer