Numerical relativity simulations of the neutron star merger GW170817: Long-term remnant evolutions, winds, remnant disks, and nucleosynthesis

Vsevolod Nedora, Sebastiano Bernuzzi, David Radice, Boris Daszuta, Andrea Endrizzi, Albino Perego, Aviral Prakash, Mohammadtaher Safarzadeh, Federico Schianchi, Domenico Logoteta

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We present a systematic numerical relativity study of the dynamical ejecta, winds, and nucleosynthesis in neutron star (NS) merger remnants. Binaries with the chirp mass compatible with GW170817, different mass ratios, and five microphysical equations of state (EOSs) are simulated with an approximate neutrino transport and a subgrid model for magnetohydrodynamic turbulence up to 100 ms postmerger. Spiral density waves propagating from the NS remnant to the disk trigger a wind with mass flux ∼0.1-0.5 Me s−1, which persists for the entire simulation as long as the remnant does not collapse to a black hole. This wind has average electron fraction ≳0.3 and average velocity ∼0.1-0.17 c and thus is a site for the production of weak r-process elements (mass number A < 195). Disks around long-lived remnants have masses ∼0.1-0.2 Me, temperatures peaking at ≲10 MeV near the inner edge, and a characteristic double-peak distribution in entropy resulting from shocks propagating through the disk. The dynamical and spiral-wave ejecta computed in our targeted simulations are not compatible with those inferred from AT2017gfo using two-components kilonova models. Rather, they indicate that multicomponent kilonova models including disk winds are necessary to interpret AT2017gfo. The nucleosynthesis in the combined dynamical ejecta and spiral-wave wind in the long-lived mergers of comparable mass robustly accounts for all the r-process peaks, from mass number ∼75 to actinides in terms of solar abundances. Total abundances are weakly dependent on the EOS, while the mass ratio affects the production of first-peak elements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number98
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 10 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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