Criteria for Dynamical Timescale Mass Transfer of Metal-poor Intermediate-mass Stars

Hongwei Ge, Christopher A Tout, Xuefei Chen, Arnab Sarkar, Dominic J Walton, Zhanwen Han

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The stability criteria of rapid mass transfer and common-envelope evolution are fundamental in binary star evolution. They determine the mass, mass ratio, and orbital distribution of many important systems, such as X-ray binaries, type Ia supernovae, and merging gravitational-wave sources. We use our adiabatic mass-loss model to systematically survey intermediate-mass (IM) stars’ thresholds for dynamical timescale mass transfer. The impact of metallicity on the stellar responses and critical mass ratios is explored. Both tables (Z = 0.001) and fitting formulae (Z = 0.001 and Z = 0.02) of the critical mass ratios of IM stars are provided. An application of our results to intermediate-mass X-ray binaries (IMXBs) is discussed. We find that the predicted upper limit to mass ratios, as a function of orbital period, is consistent with the observed IMXBs that undergo thermal or nuclear timescale mass transfer. According to the observed peak X-ray luminosity, L X, we predict the range of L X for IMXBs as a function of the donor mass and the mass-transfer timescale.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Early online date1 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2023


  • 340
  • Stars and Stellar Physics


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