The distribution of metals in cosmological hydrodynamical simulations of dwarf disc galaxies Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • We examine the chemical properties of 5 cosmological hydrodynamical simulations of an M33-like disc galaxy which have been shown to be consistent with the morphological characteristics and bulk scaling relations expected of late-type spirals. These simulations are part of the Making Galaxies In a Cosmological Context (MaGICC) Project, in which stellar feedback is tuned to match the stellar mass -- halo mass relationship. Each realisation employed identical initial conditions and assembly histories, but differed from one another in their underlying baryonic physics prescriptions, including (a) the efficiency with which each supernova energy couples to the ISM, (b) the impact of feedback associated with massive star radiation pressure, (c) the role of the minimum shut-off time for radiative cooling of Type II SNe remnants, (d) the treatment of metal diffusion, and (e) varying the IMF. Our analysis focusses on the resulting stellar metallicity distribution functions (MDFs) in each simulated (analogous) `solar neighbourhood' and central `bulge' region. We compare the simulated MDFs' skewness, kurtosis, and dispersion (inter-quartile, inter-decile, inter-centile, and inter-tenth-percentile regions) with that of the empirical solar neighbourhood MDF and Local Group dwarfs. We find that the MDFs of the simulated discs are more negatively skewed, with higher kurtosis, than those observed locally. We can trace this difference to the simulations' tight and correlated age-metallicity relations (compared with that of the Milky Way), suggesting that these relations within `dwarf' discs might be steeper than in L* discs and/or the degree of stellar orbital re-distribution and migration inferred locally has not been captured in their entirety, at the resolution of our simulations. The important role of metal diffusion in ameliorating the over-production of extremely metal-poor stars is highlighted.

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publication date

  • September 11, 2012