Breaking stress of neutron star crust

A. I. Chugunov, C. J. Horowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

97 Scopus citations


The breaking stress (the maximum of the stress-strain curve) of neutron star crust is important for neutron star physics including pulsar glitches, emission of gravitational waves from static mountains and flares from star quakes. We perform many molecular dynamic simulations of the breaking stress at different coupling parameters (inverse temperatures) and strain rates. We describe our results with the Zhurkov model of strength. We apply this model to estimate the breaking stress for time-scales ~1 s-1 yr, which are most important for applications, but much longer than can be directly simulated. At these time-scales, the breaking stress depends strongly on the temperature. For coupling parameter Γ ≲ 200 matter breaks at very small stress, if it is applied for a few years. This viscoelastic creep can limit the lifetime of mountains on neutron stars. We also suggest an alternative model of time-scale-independent breaking stress, which can be used to estimate an upper limit on the breaking stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L54-L58
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Equation of state
  • Stars: interiors
  • Stars: neutron


Dive into the research topics of 'Breaking stress of neutron star crust'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this