Fr.: contraction de Kelvin-Helmholtz
The contraction of a volume of gas under its → gravity, accompanied by the → radiation of the lost → potential energy as → heat.
After the Scottish physicist William Thomson, also known as Lord Kelvin (1824-1907) and the German physicist and physician Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von Helmholtz (1821-1894), who made important contributions to the thermodynamics of gaseous systems; → contraction.
nâpâydâri-ye Kelvin-Helmholtz (#)
Fr.: instabilité de Kelvin-Helmholtz
An → instability raised when there is sufficient velocity difference across the interface between two uniformly moving → incompressible fluid layers, or when velocity → shear is present within a continuous fluid.
Fr.: mécanisme Kelvin-Helmholtz
The heating of a body that contracts under its own gravity. For a large body like a planet or star, gravity tries to compress the body. This compression heats the core of the body, which results in internal energy which in turn is radiated as → thermal energy. In this way a star could be heated by its own weight.
William Thomson (Lord Kelvin) and Hermann von Helmholtz proposed that the sun derived its energy from the conversion of gravitational potential energy; → mechanism.
Fr.: échelle de temps de Kelvin-Helmholtz
The characteristic time that would be required for a contracting spherical cloud of gas to transform all its → gravitational energy into → thermal energy. It is given by the relation: tKH ≅ GM2/RL, where G is the → gravitational constant, M is the mass of the cloud, R the initial radius, and L the → luminosity. The Kelvin-Helmholtz time scale determines how quickly a pre-main sequence star contracts before → nuclear fusion starts. For the Sun it is 3 x 107 years, which also represents the time scale on which the Sun would contract if its nuclear source were turned off. Moreover, this time scale indicates that the gravitational energy cannot account for the solar luminosity. For a → massive star of M = 30 Msun, the Kelvin-Helmholtz time is only about 3 x 104 years.