Heating by acoustic waves of multiphase media

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We study the emission and dissipation of acoustic waves from cool dense clouds in pressure equilibrium with a hot, volume-filling dilute gas component. In our model, the clouds are exposed to a source of ionizing radiation whose flux level varies with time, forcing the clouds to pulsate. We estimate the rate at which acoustic energy is radiated away by an ensemble of clouds and the rate at which it is absorbed by, and dissipated in, the hot dilute phase. We show that acoustic energy can be a substantial heating source of the hot gas phase when the mass in the cool component is a substantial fraction of the total gas mass. We investigate the applicability of our results to the multiphase media of several astrophysical systems, including quasar outflows and cooling flows. We find that acoustic heating could have a substantial effect on the thermal properties of the hot phase in those systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-381
Number of pages7
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 10 Feb 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • ISM: clouds
  • ISM: jets and outflows
  • cooling flows
  • galaxies: Seyfert
  • quasars: general
  • waves Online-only material: color figure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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