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Evolution of Angular Momentum and Orbital Period Changes in Close Double White Dwarf Binaries

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Document pages: 24 pages

Abstract: We have presented the evolution of angular momentum and orbital period changes between the component spins and the orbit in close double white dwarf binaries undergoing mass transfer through direct impact accretion over a broad range of orbital parameter space. This work improves upon similar earlier studies in a number of ways: First, we calculate self-consistently the angular momentum of the orbit at all times. This includes gravitational, tides and mass transfer effects in the orbital evolution of the component structure models, and allow the Roche lobe radius of the donor star and the rotational angular velocities of both components to vary, and account for the exchange of angular momentum between the spins of the white dwarfs and the orbit. Second, we investigate the mass transfer by modeling the ballistic motion of a point mass ejected from the center of the donor star through the inner Lagrangian point. Finally, we ensure that the angular momentum is conserved, which requires the donor star spin to vary self-consistently. With these improvements, we calculate the angular momentum and orbital period changes of the orbit and each binary component across the entire parameter space of direct impact double white dwarf binary systems. We find a significant decrease in the amount of angular momentum removed from the orbit during mass transfer, as well as cases where this process increases the angular momentum and orbital period of the orbit at the expense of the spin angular momentum of the donor and accretor. We find that our analysis yields an increase in the predicted number of stable systems compared to that in the previous studies, survive the onset of mass transfer, even if this mass transfer is initially unstable. In addition, as a consequence of the tidal coupling, systems that come into contact near the mass transfer instability boundary undergo a phase of mass transfer with their orbital period.

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