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Stellar wind yields of very massive stars

Higgins, Erin R; Vink, Jorick S; Hirschi, Raphael; Laird, Alison M; Sabhahit, Gautham N

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Erin R Higgins

Jorick S Vink

Alison M Laird

Gautham N Sabhahit


The most massive stars provide an essential source of recycled material for young clusters and galaxies. While very massive stars (VMS, M>100 $\rm {\rm M}_{\odot }$) are relatively rare compared to O stars, they lose disproportionately large amounts of mass already from the onset of core H-burning. VMS have optically thick winds with elevated mass-loss rates in comparison to optically thin standard O-star winds. We compute wind yields and ejected masses on the main sequence, and we compare enhanced mass-loss rates to standard ones. We calculate solar metallicity wind yields from MESA stellar evolution models in the range 50 – 500 $\rm {\rm M}_{\odot }$, including a large nuclear network of 92 isotopes, investigating not only the CNO-cycle, but also the Ne-Na and Mg-Al cycles. VMS with enhanced winds eject 5-10 times more H-processed elements (N, Ne, Na, Al) on the main sequence in comparison to standard winds, with possible consequences for observed anti-correlations, such as C-N and Na-O, in globular clusters. We find that for VMS 95% of the total wind yields is produced on the main sequence, while only ∼ 5% is supplied by the post-main sequence. This implies that VMS with enhanced winds are the primary source of 26Al, contrasting previous works where classical Wolf-Rayet winds had been suggested to be responsible for Galactic 26Al enrichment. Finally, 200 $\rm {\rm M}_{\odot }$ stars eject 100 times more of each heavy element in their winds than 50 $\rm {\rm M}_{\odot }$ stars, and even when weighted by an IMF their wind contribution is still an order of magnitude higher than that of 50 $\rm {\rm M}_{\odot }$ stars.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 31, 2023
Online Publication Date Aug 31, 2023
Deposit Date Sep 21, 2023
Publicly Available Date Sep 21, 2023
Journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Print ISSN 0035-8711
Electronic ISSN 1365-2966
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 526
Issue 1
Article Number stad2537
Pages 534–547
Keywords stars: massive, stars: evolution, stars: abundances, stars: mass loss, stars: interiors, nuclear reactions, nucleosynthesis, abundances


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