Filamentary fragmentation in a turbulent medium [GA]

We present the results of smoothed particle hydrodynamic simulations investigating the evolution and fragmentation of filaments that are accreting from a turbulent medium. We show that the presence of turbulence, and the resulting inhomogeneities in the accretion flow, play a significant role in the fragmentation process. Filaments which experience a weakly turbulent accretion flow fragment in a two-tier hierarchical fashion, similar to the fragmentation pattern seen in the Orion Integral Shaped Filament. Increasing the energy in the turbulent velocity field results in more sub-structure within the filaments, and one sees a shift from gravity-dominated fragmentation to turbulence-dominated fragmentation. The sub-structure formed in the filaments is elongated and roughly parallel to the longitudinal axis of the filament, similar to the fibres seen in observations of Taurus, and suggests that the fray and fragment scenario is a possible mechanism for the production of fibres. We show that the formation of these fibre-like structures is linked to the vorticity of the velocity field inside the filament and the filament’s accretion from an inhomogeneous medium. Moreover, we find that accretion is able to drive and sustain roughly sonic levels of turbulence inside the filaments, but is not able to prevent radial collapse once the filaments become supercritical. However, the supercritical filaments which contain fibre-like structures do not collapse radially, suggesting that fibrous filaments may not necessarily become radially unstable once they reach the critical line-density.

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S. Clarke, A. Whitworth, A. Duarte-Cabral, et. al.
Tue, 14 Mar 17

Comments: (Accepted for publication in MNRAS)