Research Article

A unified mechanism for unconfined deflagration-to-detonation transition in terrestrial chemical systems and type Ia supernovae

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Science  01 Nov 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6465, eaau7365
DOI: 10.1126/science.aau7365

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Achieving unconfined supersonic explosions

In some forms of supernovae and chemical explosions, a flame moving at subsonic speeds (deflagration) spontaneously evolves into one driven by a supersonic shock (detonation), vastly increasing the power output. The mechanism of this deflagration-to-detonation transition (DDT) is poorly understood. Poludnenko et al. developed an analytical model to describe DDTs, then tested it with lab experiments and numerical simulations. Their model successfully reproduced the DDT seen in the experiments and predicted a DDT in type Ia supernovae, which is consistent with observational constraints. The same mechanism may apply to DDTs in any unconfined explosion.

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