Chaotic Accretion and Merging Supermassive Black Holes
thesisposted on 28.09.2012, 13:11 by Christopher James Nixon
The main driver of the work in this thesis is the idea of chaotic accretion in galaxy centres. Most research in this area focuses on orderly or coherent accretion where supermassive black holes or supermassive black hole binaries are fed with gas always possessing the same sense of angular momentum. If instead gas flows in galaxies are chaotic, feeding occurs through randomly oriented depositions of gas. Previous works show that this chaotic mode of feeding can explain some astrophysical phenomena, such as the lack of correlation between host galaxy structure and the direction of jets. It has also been shown that by keeping the black hole spin low this feeding mechanism can grow supermassive black holes from stellar mass seeds. In this thesis I show that it also alleviates the ‘final parsec problem’ by facilitating the merger of two supermassive black holes, and the growth of supermassive black holes through rapid accretion. I also develop the intriguing possibility of breaking a warped disc into two or more distinct planes.