ChJAA Vol 2, No 3 (2002) / Chang

History of Star Formation and Chemical Enrichment in the Milky Way Disk

Rui-Xiang Chang, Cheng-Gang Shu, Jin-Liang Hou

Abstract

Based on a physical treatment of the star formation law similar to that given by Efstathiou, we have improved our two-component chemical evolution model for the Milky Way disk. Two gas infall rates are compared, one exponential, one Gaussian. It is shown that the star formation law adopted in this paper depends more strongly on the gas surface density than that in Chang et al. It has large effects on the history of star formation and gas evolution of the whole disk. In the solar neighborhood, the history of chemical evolution and star formation is not sensitive to whether the infall rate is Gaussian or exponential. For the same infall time scale, both forms predict the same behavior for the current properties of the Galactic disk. The model predictions do depend on whether or not the infall time scale varies with the radius, but current available observations cannot decide which case is the more realistic. Our results also show that it would be inadequate to describe the gradient evolution along the Galactic disk by only one word ``flatter'' or ``steeper'', as was suggested by Hou et al. and Chiapinni et al. We point out that both the absolute value and the evolution of the abundance gradient may be different in the inner and outer regions.

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