Competitive Accretion in Clusters and the IMF

Research output: Other contribution


Observations have revealed that most stars are born in clusters. As these clusters typically contain more mass in gas than ill stars, accretion can play an important role in determining the final stellar masses. Numerical simulations of gas accretion in stellar clusters have found that the stars compete for the available reservoir of gas. The accretion rates are highly nonuniform and are determined primarily by each star's position in the cluster. Stars in the centre accrete more gas, resulting in initial mass segregation. This competitive accretion naturally results in a mass spectrum and is potentially the dominant mechanism for producing the initial mass function. Furthermore, accretion on to the core of a cluster forces it to shrink, which may result in formation of massive stars through collisions.

Original languageEnglish
VolumeESA SP-445
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • star formation
  • mass segregation
  • stellar masses
  • IMF


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