In this paper, we examine the issue of characterizing the transport associated with gravitational instabilities in relatively cold discs, discussing in particular the conditions under which it can be described within a local, viscous framework. We present the results of global, three-dimensional, smoothed particle hydrodynamics simulations of self-gravitating accretion discs, in which the disc is cooled using a simple parametrization for the cooling function. Our simulations show that the disc settles in a ‘self-regulated’ state, where the axisymmetric stability parameter Q≈ 1 and where transport and energy dissipation are dominated by self-gravity. We have computed the gravitational stress tensor and compared our results with expectations based on a local theory of transport. We find that, as long as the disc mass is smaller than 0.25M★ and the aspect ratio H/R≲ 0.1, transport is determined locally, thus allowing for a viscous treatment of the disc evolution
To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.