The Physics of Thermonuclear Flames in Type Ia Supernovae

M. Zingale, S. E. Woosley (UCSC), J. B. Bell, M. S. Day, C. A. Rendleman (LBL)

Flame instabilities play a dominant role in accelerating the burning front to a large fraction of the speed of sound in a Type Ia supernova. We present three-dimensional numerical simulations of Rayleigh-Taylor unstable and turbulent flames. A low Mach number hydrodynamics method is used, freeing us from the harsh timestep restrictions imposed by sound waves. We fully resolve the thermal structure of the flame and its reaction zone, eliminating the need for a flame model. We compute detailed diagnostics of the turbulence and discuss the flame characteristics as it transitions from the flamelet to the distributed burning regimes.