Article

Chemical Evolution of Dwarf Irregular Galaxies - chemodynamical models and the effect of gas infall

09/1999;
Source: arXiv

ABSTRACT Because of their low gravitational energies dwarf galaxies are greatly exposed to energetical influences by the interstellar medium, like e.g. stellar radiation, winds or explosions, or by their environment. While the metallicity depletion in dwarf galaxies can be explained in general by supernova-driven galactic winds, the reason for their low N/O ratios at low O abundance is not yet completely understood. Stellar yields enrich the different gas phases with elements that are characteristic for their stellar progenitors. Gas-phase transitions are necessary for a mixing of elements, but depend sensitively on the thermal and dynamical state of the interstellar medium. Models of chemical evolution start usually with a high N/O ratio at low O abundance according to a metal enrichment by ancient stellar populations with traditional yields, but can only reproduce the N/O-O peculiarity by the stepwise element release and mostly by the application of multiple starbursts in order to account also for a selective element reduction by galactic winds. Chemodynamical models of dwarf galaxies, however, demonstrate that strong evaporation of clouds by the hot supernova gas leads to an almost perfect mixing of the interstellar gas and a large-scale homogenization of abundance ratios. In addition, even with star-formation self-regulation these models can successfully account for the observed N/O-O values in a self-consistent way. Although new stellar yields have been taken into account which provide mainly secondary N production from massive stars, a significant discrepancy remains between the chemodynamical dwarf galaxy models and closed-box models that take the chemodynamical treatment into account. In this paper we therefore discuss to what amount gas infall is responsible to affect the N/O ratio.

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