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Interpreting the Oppenheimer-Volkoff Equations

and the Equations of State for Neutron Stars

George E. Hrabovsky
MAST

James Firmiss
MAST

Abstract
In this paper the authors interpret the equations from the famous paper by Oppenheimer and Volkoff  in
Mathematica. We then plot the solutions for various conditions.

Introduction
The birth of the study of compact objects traces back to the landmark paper written by J. R. Oppenheimer and G. M. Volkoff , and will be called
OV throughout this paper. OV was a great departure from the previous work of Arthur Eddingtonbased on conveniently assumed distributions
of stellar energy sources to invent different stellar modelsand Lev Landauwhose work was based on equilibrium conditions from Newtonian
gravitation. OV is based on the general relativistic calculations of the metrics (and thus the Ricci tensor) and the stress-energy tensor from Richard C.
Tolman . It is thus fully in line with general relativity, though the assumption of no cosmological constantconsistant with Einsteins views at the
timemay require some rethinking in light of recent results regarding so-called dark energy.

The Model
OV is very clever and mathematical, sometimes the physics is submerged and difficult to locate. We begin and assign the value for the
parameter K = 41 .
K=

1
4

= K(sinh t - t)

(1)

eqn11 = [r] K (Sinh[t[r]] - t[r]);

and for pressure,
=

eqn12 = p[r]

1
2

1
3

K sinh t - 8 sinh

K Sinh[t[r]] - 8 Sinh

1
3

1
2

t+3t

(2)

t[r] + 3 t[r] ;

We now write the Oppenheimer Volkoff equations,

u
r

= r 2 (sinh t - t).

eqn18 = D[u[r], r] r2 (Sinh[t[r]] - t[r]);

and,

(3)

OV.nb

t
r

eqn19 = D[t[r], r] 1
3

r3

=-

sinh t - 2 sinh 12 t

r (r - 2 u) cosh t - 4 cosh 1 t + 3
2

r (r - 2 u[r]) Cosh[t[r]] - 4 Cosh 1 t[r] + 3

2

Sinh[t[r]] + 8 Sinh

1
2

Choosing Initial Conditions

We avoid a singularity by assuming a minimum radius of 0.001 absolute units. We then assign the following initial conditions:
ic[tt_] := {t[0.001] tt, u[0.001] 0, [0.001] == 0.1752, p[0.001] == 1.458}

The Solution
We now use NDSolve to get the solution for the equations and initial conditions.
soln[tt_] := NDSolve[{eqn11, eqn12, eqn18, eqn19, ic[tt]}, {u[r], t[r], [r], p[r]},
{r, 0.001, 50}]

The First Run

We will assume an internal temperature of 1 in absolute units. This gives us the initial conditions:
ic
{t[0.001] 1, u[0.001] 0, [0.001] 0.1752, p[0.001] 1.458}
{t[0.001] 1, u[0.001] 0, [0.001] 0.1752, p[0.001] 1.458}
It also gives the solution (in InterpolatingFunctions):
s1 = soln
{{u[r] InterpolatingFunction[{{0.001, 0.211127}}, <>][r],
t[r] InterpolatingFunction[{{0.001, 0.211127}}, <>][r],
[r] InterpolatingFunction[{{0.001, 0.211127}}, <>][r],
p[r] InterpolatingFunction[{{0.001, 0.211127}}, <>][r]}}
{{u[r] InterpolatingFunction[{{0.001, 0.211127}}, <>][r],
t[r] InterpolatingFunction[{{0.001, 0.211127}}, <>][r],
[r] InterpolatingFunction[{{0.001, 0.211127}}, <>][r],
p[r] InterpolatingFunction[{{0.001, 0.211127}}, <>][r]}}
Here we see the temperature profile with radius.

(4)

OV.nb

Plot[t[r] /. s1, {r, 0.001, .2}, Frame True,

FrameLabel {"r [Arbitrary Units]", "t(r) [Arbitrary Units]"},
PlotLabel
"Temperature as a Function of Radius from the Oppenheimer-Volkhoff Equations"]
Temperature as a Function of Radius from the Oppenheimer-Volkhoff Equations

1.0

t(r) [Arbitrary Units ]

0.8

0.6

0.4

0.2

0.0
0.00

0.05

0.10

0.15

0.20

r [Arbitrary Units]

Here we have density with radius.

Plot[[r] /. s1, {r, 0.001, .2}, Frame True,
FrameLabel {"r [Arbitrary Units]", "(r) [Arbitrary Units]"},
PlotLabel
"Density as a Function of Radius from the Oppenheimer-Volkhoff Equations"]
Density as a Function of Radius from the Oppenheimer-Volkhoff Equations

0.014

0.012

(r) [Arbitrary Units ]

0.010

0.008

0.006

0.004

0.002

0.000
0.00

0.05

0.10
r [Arbitrary Units]

0.15

0.20

OV.nb

Plot[p[r] /. s1, {r, 0.001, .2}, Frame True,

FrameLabel {"r [Arbitrary Units]", "p(r) [Arbitrary Units]"},
PlotLabel
"Pressure as a Function of Radius from the Oppenheimer-Volkhoff Equations"]
Pressure as a Function of Radius from the Oppenheimer-Volkhoff Equations

0.05

p(r) [Arbitrary Units ]

0.04

0.03

0.02

0.01

0.00
0.00

0.05

0.10

0.15

0.20

r [Arbitrary Units]

ParametricPlot[{p[r], [r]} /. s1, {r, 0.001, .2}, Frame True,

FrameLabel {"p(r) [Arbitrary Units]", "(r) [Arbitrary Units]"},
PlotLabel "Pressure vs. Density from the Oppenheimer-Volkhoff Equations",
AspectRatio 2 / 3]
Pressure vs. Density from the Oppenheimer-Volkhoff Equations

0.014

0.012

0.010
(r) [Arbitrary Units ]

0.008

0.006

0.004

0.002

0.000
0.00

0.01

0.02

0.03
p(r) [Arbitrary Units]

0.04

0.05

OV.nb

ParametricPlot[{p[r], t[r]} /. s1, {r, 0.001, .2}, Frame True,

FrameLabel {"p(r) [Arbitrary Units]", "t(r) [Arbitrary Units]"},
PlotLabel "Pressure vs. Temperature from the Oppenheimer-Volkhoff Equations",
AspectRatio 2 / 3]
Pressure vs. Temperature from the Oppenheimer-Volkhoff Equations

1.0

t(r) [Arbitrary Units ]

0.8

0.6

0.4

0.2

0.0
0.00

0.01

0.02

0.03
p(r) [Arbitrary Units]

0.04

0.05

OV.nb

ParametricPlot[{[r], t[r]} /. s1, {r, 0.001, .2}, Frame True,

FrameLabel {"(r) [Arbitrary Units]", "t(r) [Arbitrary Units]"},
PlotLabel "Density vs. Temperature from the Oppenheimer-Volkhoff Equations",
AspectRatio 2 / 3]
Density vs. Temperature from the Oppenheimer-Volkhoff Equations

1.0

0.8

0.6

0.4

0.2

0.0
0.000

0.002

0.004

0.006

0.008

0.010

0.012

0.014

(r) [Arbitrary Units]

Conclusions
Not surprisingly, these equations yield a model of neutron star structure for suitable choices of initial conditions.

Future Work
We will attack the problem in five ways:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Create new models based on different initial temeprature values in absolute units. This can be done even by people who do not understand the
equations or physics involved. This is a good learning opportunity for students or technicians.
Create new models based on different initial conditions. This requires some knowledge of neutron star physics to choose reasonable initial
conditions.
Create new equations based on a non-zero cosmological constant. This requires some mathematical sophistication to rederive the O-V
equations.
Create new equations for non-spherically symmetric cases. This requires rederiving the Einstein field equations.
Create new equations of state based on more accurate neutron star physics. This requires knowledge of nuclear physics and quantum field
theory/elementary particle physics.

Bibliography
A.  J. R. Oppeneheimer, G. M. Volkoff, (1939), On Massive Neutron Cores, Phys. Rev. 55, pp. 374-381.
B.  Richard C. Tolman, (1934), Relativity Thermodynamics and Cosmology, Oxford Univeristy Press, reprinted in 1949.