The white dwarf's carbon fraction as a secondary parameter of Type Ia supernovae

Sebastian T. Ohlmann, Markus Kromer, Michael Fink, Rüdiger Pakmor, Ivo R. Seitenzahl, Stuart A. Sim, Friedrich K. Röpke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Context. Binary stellar evolution calculations predict thatChandrasekhar-mass carbon/oxygen white dwarfs (WDs) show a radiallyvarying profile for the composition with a carbon depleted core. Manyrecent multi-dimensional simulations of Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia),however, assume the progenitor WD has a homogeneous chemicalcomposition.
Aims: In this work, we explore the impact ofdifferent initial carbon profiles of the progenitor WD on the explosionphase and on synthetic observables in the Chandrasekhar-mass delayeddetonation model. Spectra and light curves are compared to observationsto judge the validity of the model.
Methods: The explosion phaseis simulated using the finite volume supernova code Leafs, which isextended to treat different compositions of the progenitor WD. Thesynthetic observables are computed with the Monte Carlo radiativetransfer code Artis. Results: Differences in binding energies ofcarbon and oxygen lead to a lower nuclear energy release for carbondepleted material; thus, the burning fronts that develop are weaker andthe total nuclear energy release is smaller. For otherwise identicalconditions, carbon depleted models produce less 56Ni.Comparing different models with similar 56Ni yields showslower kinetic energies in the ejecta for carbon depleted models, butonly small differences in velocity distributions and line velocities inspectra. The light curve width-luminosity relation (WLR) obtained formodels with differing carbon depletion is roughly perpendicular to theobserved WLR, hence the carbon mass fraction is probably only asecondary parameter in the family of SNe Ia.
Tables 3 and 4 are available in electronic form at
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA57
Number of pages16
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Early online date02 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 2014


  • supernovae: general
  • hydrodynamics
  • nuclear reactions
  • nucleosynthesis
  • abundances
  • radiative transfer
  • binaries: close
  • white dwarfs


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