Testing the locality of transport in self-gravitating accretion discs

G. Lodato, W. K. M. Rice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, we examine the issue of characterizing the transport associated with gravitational instabilities in relatively cold discs, discussing in particular the conditions under which it can be described within a local, viscous framework. We present the results of global, three-dimensional, smoothed particle hydrodynamics simulations of self-gravitating accretion discs, in which the disc is cooled using a simple parametrization for the cooling function. Our simulations show that the disc settles in a `self-regulated' state, where the axisymmetric stability parameter Q~ 1 and where transport and energy dissipation are dominated by self-gravity. We have computed the gravitational stress tensor and compared our results with expectations based on a local theory of transport. We find that, as long as the disc mass is smaller than 0.25M* and the aspect ratio H/R
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)630-642
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2004


  • accretion
  • accretion discs
  • gravitation
  • instabilities
  • stars: formation
  • galaxies: active


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