Mass Transfer in Binary Stellar Evolution and Its Stability


The evolution of a binary star system by various analytical and numerical approximations of mass transfer rate normalized to the equilibrium rate and its stability conditions are investigated. We present results from investigations of mass transfer and stability in close binary star systems using the different orbital parameters. The stability and instability of mass transfer in binary star evolution depends on the exchange of material which the response of the binary to the initial Roche lobe overflow causes the donor to loose even more material. Our work is mainly focused on basic mathematical derivations, analytical and numerical solutions in order to explain the mass transfer system in different orbital parameters as well as the results are compared with previous studies in both cases. Mass transfer is usually stable, as long as the winds specific angular momentum does not exceed the angular momentum per reduced mass of the system. This holds for both dynamical and thermal time scales. Those systems which are not stable will usually transfer mass on the thermal time scale. The variation of Roche lobe radius with mass ratio in the binary, for various orbital parameters in the conservative and non-conservative mass transfer, as well as the evolution equations, orbital angular momentum of the binary system and the corresponding analytical and numerical solutions for different cases, under certain restrictive approximations is derived, simulated and discussed.

Share and Cite:

Negu, S. and Tessema, S. (2015) Mass Transfer in Binary Stellar Evolution and Its Stability. International Journal of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 5, 222-241. doi: 10.4236/ijaa.2015.53026.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Shore, S.N. (1994) Observations and Physical Processes in Interacting Binaries. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg, 1-133.
[2] Soberman, G.E., Phinney, E.S. and van den Heuvel, E.P.J. (1997) Stability Criteria for Mass Transfer in Binary Stellar Evolution. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 327, 620-635.
[3] Konstantin, A.P. (2014) The Evolution of Compact Binary Star Systems. Living Reviews in Relativity, 17, 3.
[4] Pennington, R.(1985) Interacting Binary Stars. Pringle, J.E. and Wade, R.A., Eds., Cambridge Astrophysics Series, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 197-199.
[5] Hjellming, M.S. and Webbink, R.F. (1987) Thresholds for rapid mass transfer in binary systems. I—Polytropic Models. The Astrophysical Journal, 318, 794-808.
[6] Ruderman, M., Shaham, J. and Tavani, M. (1989) Accretion Powered by Compact Binaries. The Astrophysical Journal, 3, 507.
[7] Tessema, S.B. (2014) Stability of Accretion Discs around Magnetized Stars. International Journal of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 4, 319-331.
[8] Lightman, A.P. and Eardley, D.M. (1974) Black Holes in Binary Systems: Instability of Disc Accretion. The Astrophysical Journal, 187, L1.
[9] Gharami, P., Ghosh, K. and Rahaman, F. (2014) A Theoretical Model of Non-Conservative Mass Transfer with Non-Uniform Mass Accretion Rate in Close Binary Stars. General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology, 366, 1511.
[10] Plavec, A. and Paczynski, B. (1971) Numerical Simulations of Dynamical Mass Transfer in Binaries. Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 9, 183.
[11] Lajoie, C.-P. and Sills, A. (2010) Mass Transfer in Binary Stars Using Smoothed Particle hydrodynamics. II. Eccentric Binaries. The Astrophysical Journal, 726, 13 p.
[12] Tsugawa, M. and Osaki, Y. (1997) Disk Instability Model for the AM Canum Venaticorum Stars. PASJ: Publ. Astron. Soc. Japan, Vol. 49, 75-84.
[13] Paczynski, B. and Sienkiewicz, R. (1972) Mass Transfer Effects in Binary Star Evolution. Acta Astronautica, 22, 73.
[14] Vayujeet, G. (2007) Mass Transfer and Evolution of Compact Binary Stars. Astronomy & Astrophysics, 202, 93.
[15] Izzard, R.G., de Mink, S.E., Onno, RP., Langer, N., Sana, H. and de Koter, A. (2013) Massive Binary Stars and Self-Enrichment of Globular Clusters. Memorie della Società Astronomica Italiana, 1, 1-4.

Copyright © 2022 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.