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Aspects of the numerical simulation of binary black hole spacetimes

Yeeles, David William 2021. Aspects of the numerical simulation of binary black hole spacetimes. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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The focus of this thesis is the use of numerical simulations of black hole spacetimes in gravitational wave astronomy. The history of the field over the past century is briefly sketched, tracing the journey from general relativity through to the production of full 3D simulations of the inspiral and merger of a black hole binary. This is followed by an exploration of the current state of the art of numerical black hole binary simulations as used by the LIGO-Virgo-KAGRA Collaboration, first with the presentation of a catalogue of such simulations, then through an investigation into the consistency of simulations produced by three prominent numerical relativity codes. Significant disagreement is observed in their gravitational wave phases which may prove problematic for future ground-based gravitational wave astronomy. Finally the practical obstacles inherent to the simulation of high mass ratio binaries, of particular relevance to upcoming space-based gravitational wave detectors, is discussed and a novel solution proposed with tests on a preliminary implementation of this conducted for static and boosted black holes, and for the head-on collision of two black holes. A reduction in resolution of three orders of magnitude is achieved in these exploratory simulations, equivalent to a speed increase of 60,000% in the static black hole case. While this demonstrates its potential for further development, significant questions remain over how accurately the true solution is recovered or whether it is only the phenomenology that is approximated.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Physics and Astronomy
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Q Science > QC Physics
Uncontrolled Keywords: gravitational waves, black hole, numerical relativity, general relativity, gravitation, relativity, simulation, waveform modelling, LIGO
Funders: European Research Council
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 18 August 2021
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2022 01:25

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