Evolution of black-hole intermediate-mass X-ray binaries: the influence of a circumbinary disc
AbstractJustham, Rappaport & Podsiadlowski (2006) recently suggested that black-hole low-mass X-ray binaries (BHLMXBs) with short orbital periods may have evolved from black-hole intermediate-mass X-ray binaries (BHIMXBs). In their model the secondaries in BHIMXBs are assumed to possess anomalously high magnetic fields, so that magnetic braking can lead to substantial loss of angular momentum. In this paper we propose an alternative mechanism for orbital angular momentum loss in BHIMXBs. We assume that a small fraction $\delta$ of the transferred mass from the donor star form a circumbinary disc surrounding the binary system. The tidal torques exerted by the disc can effectively drain orbital angular momentum from the binary. We have numerically calculated the evolutionary sequences of BHIMXBs, to examine the influence of the circumbinary disc on the binary evolution. Our results indicate when $\delta\la 0.01-0.1$ (depending on the initial orbital periods), the circumbinary disc can cause secular orbital shrinking, leading to the formation of compact BHLMXBs, otherwise the orbits always expand during the evolution. This scenario also suggests the possible existence of luminous, persistent BHLMXBs, but it suffers the same problem as in Justham, Rappaport & Podsiadlowski (2006) that, the predicted effective temperatures of the donor stars are significantly higher than those of the observed donor stars in BHLMXBs.
Comment: 7 pages, 5 figures, accepted for publication in MNRAS