Renvoizé, V.; Baraffe, I.; Kolb, U. and Ritter, H.
Distortion of secondaries in semi-detached binaries and the cataclysmic variable period minimum.
Astronomy and Astrophysics, 389
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Based on SPH simulations, we quantify the geometrical distortion effect due to tidal and rotational forces on polytropic secondaries in semi-detached binaries. The main effect is an expansion of the polytropic star, with an effect on the radius of ~ 5%-12%, depending on the polytropic index and the mass ratio. We apply such distortion effects to the secular evolution of secondaries in cataclysmic variable systems. We focus on systems below the 2-3 h period gap and that approach the minimum period. We find a significant increase of the predicted minimum period ( ~ 4% if changes in the secondary's thermal relaxation are approximately taken into account). Though an improvement, the effect is not big enough to solve the mismatch between predicted and observed minimum period at 80 min.
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