Testing Common Envelopes on Double White Dwarf Binaries
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Nandez, Jose L. A.
Lombardi, James C. Jr
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Abstract. The formation of a double white dwarf binary likely involves a common envelope (CE) event between a red giant and a white dwarf (WD) during the most recent episode of Roche lobe overflow mass transfer. We study the role of recombination energy with hydrodynamic simulations of such stellar interactions. We find that the recombination energy helps to expel the common envelope entirely, while if recombination energy is not taken into account, a significant fraction of the common envelope remains bound. We apply our numerical methods to constrain the progenitor system for WD 1101+364 – a double WD binary that has well-measured mass ratio of q = 0.87 ± 0.03 and an orbital period of 0.145 days. Our best-fit progenitor for the pre-common envelope donor is a 1.5 M red giant.