AGB Stars and Their Circumstellar Envelopes. I. the VULCAN Code

Nanni, Ambra; Cristallo, Sergio; Piersanti, Luciano; Gobrecht, David; Crivellari, Lucio
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The interplay between AGB interiors and their outermost layers, where molecules and dust form, is a problem of high complexity. As a consequence, physical processes like mass loss, which depend on the chemistry of the circumstellar envelope, are often oversimplified. The best candidates to drive mass-loss in AGB stars are dust grains, which trap the outgoing radiation and drag the surrounding gas. Grains build up, however, is far from being completely understood. Our aim is to model both the physics and the chemistry of the cool expanding layers around AGB stars in order to characterize the on-going chemistry, from atoms to dust grains. This has been our rationale to develop ab initio VULCAN, a FORTRAN hydro code able to follow the propagation of shocks in the circumstellar envelopes of AGB stars. The version presented in this paper adopts a perfect gas law and a very simplified treatment of the radiative transfer effects and dust nucleation. In this paper, we present preliminary results obtained with our code.