Honors College Thesis

Stability of accretion disks in binary black hole systems and their effects on merger parameters

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  • We analyze merger parameters of binary black hole systems (BBHSs), including orbital separation and time at which gravitational and viscous timescales intersect for all combinations of black holes (BHs) in the range 1-100 solar masses. Our initial examination of BBHS merger parameters using the assumption R=0.5r reveals suspicious trends in the data suggesting that this assumption may not be sufficient for all BBHSs. Through our simulation, we determine several stable accretion disk radii which demonstrate a positive linear relationship between the accretion disk radius and the ratio of the mass of the BH with the disk to the total mass of the BBHS. Using this linear trend, we produce a more accurate derivation for the accretion disk radius. Our recalculation of merger parameters using this derivation produces results more typical of what we would expect. The duration of the transient for each BBHS is larger than the transient observed by the Fermi satellite during the event which led to the discovery of gravitational waves. However, these durations fall within the range of observed gamma-ray bursts, and should the solution proposed by Perna et al. prove ultimately true, it could change our current understanding of electromagnetic emissions resulting from binary BH mergers.
  • Key Words: accretion, accretion disks, gamma-ray bursts, black holes, binary black hole systems
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