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Paper: How Do Disks Survive Mergers?
Volume: 419, Galaxy Evolution: Emerging Insights and Future Challenges
Page: 228
Authors: Hopkins, P. F.
Abstract: We develop a physical model for how galactic disks survive and/or are destroyed in interactions. Based on dynamical arguments, we show gas primarily loses angular momentum to internal torques in a merger. Gas within some characteristic radius (a function of the orbital parameters, mass ratio, and gas fraction of the merging galaxies), will quickly lose angular momentum to the stars sharing the perturbed disk, fall to the center and be consumed in a starburst. A similar analysis predicts where violent relaxation of the stellar disks is efficient. Our model allows us to predict the stellar and gas content that will survive to re-form a disk in the remnant, versus being violently relaxed or contributing to a starburst. We test this in hydrodynamic simulations and find good agreement as a function of mass ratio, orbital parameters, and gas fraction, in simulations spanning a wide range in these properties and others, including different prescriptions for gas physics and feedback. In an immediate sense, the amount of disk that re-forms can be understood in terms of well-understood gravitational physics, independent of details of ISM gas physics or feedback. This allows us to explicitly quantify the requirements for such feedback to (indirectly) enable disk survival, by changing the pre-merger gas content and distribution. The efficiency of disk destruction is a strong function of gas content: we show how and why sufficiently gas-rich major mergers can, under general conditions, yield systems with small bulges (B/T < 0.2). We provide prescriptions for inclusion of our results in semi-analytic models.
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