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Astron. Astrophys. 343, 251-260 (1999)

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3. Versatile advection code

In this section, we discuss the software and numerical method used. The physics results are described from Sect. 4 onwards. The Versatile Advection Code (VAC, see Tóth 1996, 1997) is a general purpose software package for solving a conservative system of hyperbolic partial differential equations with additional non-hyperbolic source terms, such as the MHD equations. VAC runs on PC's, on a variety of workstations, on vector platforms, and we can also run in parallel on a cluster of workstations, and on distributed memory architectures like the Cray T3D and T3E, and the IBM SP (Keppens & Tóth 1998, Tóth & Keppens 1998). The code is written in the dimension independent LASY syntax (Tóth 1997), so it can be used as a convenient tool to handle HD and MHD one-, two-, or three-dimensional problems in astrophysics and laboratory plasma physics. The dimensionality of the problem and the actual set of equations to solve are easily selected in a preprocessing step.

VAC uses a structured finite volume grid and offers a choice of conservative, second order accurate, shock-capturing, spatial and temporal discretization schemes. The spatial discretizations include two Flux Corrected Transport variants and four Total Variation Diminishing (TVD) schemes (Tóth & Odstril 1996). Temporal discretization can be explicit, semi-implicit, or fully implicit. It was recently demonstrated (Keppens et al. 1998, Tóth et al. 1998) how the implicit approach can be used very efficiently, for steady-state and time-accurate problems possibly containing discontinuities. Here, we expect smooth solutions to the steady-state HD and MHD equations, so one can greatly benefit computationally from fully implicit time stepping.

In this paper, we solve the polytropic HD ([FORMULA]) Eqs. (1) and (2) in Sects. 4.1 and 5. Magnetohydrodynamic equations are solved in Sects. 4.2 and 6. We solve one-dimensional problems in Sect. 4 and two-dimensional problems in Sects. 5 and 6. In practice, this means that the stellar winds we model are solutions of the equations under the additional assumption of a prescribed symmetry in the ignored directions. One-dimensional problems assume a spherical symmetry, while 2D solutions assume [FORMULA]. Here, [FORMULA] denotes the angle in a cylindrical [FORMULA] coordinate system centered on the star with its polar and rotation axis as z-axis.

Since we are interested in steady-state solutions, we use fully implicit time stepping as detailed and demonstrated in Keppens et al. (1998) and Tóth et al. (1998). The linear systems arising in the linearized fully implicit backward Euler scheme are solved using a direct block tridiagonal solver for the 1D problems and using a preconditioned Stabilized Bi-Conjugate Gradient iterative solver (van der Vorst 1992) for the 2D cases. The Modified Block Incomplete LU preconditioner is described in van der Ploeg et al. (1997). We consistently used the TVD Lax-Friedrich (TVDLF) spatial discretization (Yee 1989, Tóth & Odstril 1996) using Woodward limiting (Collela & Woodward 1984). We typically took Courant numbers [FORMULA]. For all 1D solutions and for the 2D hydrodynamic solutions, the steady-state is reached when the relative change in the conservative variables from one time level to the next drops below [FORMULA]. We use a normalized measure defined by (Tóth et al. 1998)


where [FORMULA] is the number of conserved variables [FORMULA], and the superscripts indicate the pseudo time level [FORMULA]. Since we are solving for smooth solutions, the numerical schemes can easily achieve such accuracy in the steady-state solutions.

For the axisymmetric 2D MHD solutions, the way to ensure a zero divergence of the magnetic field is non-trivial. Unless one uses a scheme which keeps [FORMULA] exactly in some discretization, like the constrained transport method (Evans & Hawley 1988), corrective action needs to be taken during the time integration. This involves either including corrective source terms in the equations which are proportionate to the numerically generated divergence (Powell 1994, their use for TVDLF was first advocated by Tóth & Odstril 1996), or making use of a projection scheme (Brackbill & Barnes 1980) which involves the solution of a Poisson equation. These two approaches can even be combined and such combination is also beneficial for fully implicit schemes (Tóth et al. 1998). For the 2D axisymmetric MHD wind solutions presented in Sect. 6, it proved difficult to ensure a divergence free solution in a fully implicit manner. Using explicit time stepping and employing the projection scheme before every time step, we could get steady-state solutions where [FORMULA] which have acceptable [FORMULA], although this time-marching method is computationally much more costly than the implicit approach. The use of Powell source terms alone proved inadequate for these wind solutions, as fairly large errors are then advected into the whole solution domain from the stellar boundary outwards.

VAC makes use of two layers of ghost cells surrounding the physical domain to implement boundary conditions. A symmetry condition at a boundary is then imposed by mirroring the calculated values in the two physical cell layers adjacent to the boundary in these ghost cells. The boundary conditions imposed at the stellar surface are extremely important. We will emphasize them for all cases considered.

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1999

Online publication: March 1, 1999