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Numerical Simulations of Black-Hole Spacetimes


Chu, Tony (2012) Numerical Simulations of Black-Hole Spacetimes. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/MKD2-1N95.


This thesis covers various aspects of the numerical simulation of black-hole spacetimes according to Einstein's general theory of relativity, using the Spectral Einstein Code developed by the Caltech-Cornell-CITA collaboration. The first topic is improvement of binary-black-hole initial data. One such issue is the construction of binary-black-hole initial data with nearly extremal spins that remain nearly constant during the initial relaxation in an evolution. Another concern is the inclusion of physically realistic tidal deformations of the black holes to reduce the high-frequency components of the spurious gravitational radiation content, and represents a first step in incorporating post-Newtonian results in constraint-satisfying initial data. The next topic is the evolution of black-hole binaries and the gravitational waves they emit. The first spectral simulation of two inspiralling black holes through merger and ringdown is presented, in which the black holes are nonspinning and have equal masses. This work is extended to perform the first spectral simulations of two inspiralling black holes with moderate spins and equal masses, including the merger and ringdown. Two configurations are considered, in which both spins are either anti-aligned or aligned with the orbital angular momentum. Highly accurate gravitational waveforms are computed for all these cases, and are used to calibrate waveforms in the effective-one-body model. The final topic is the behavior of quasilocal black-hole horizons in highly dynamical situations. Simulations of a rotating black hole that is distorted by a pulse of ingoing gravitational radiation are performed. Multiple marginally outer trapped surfaces are seen to appear and annihilate with each other during the evolution, and the world tubes they trace out are all dynamical horizons. The dynamical horizon and angular momentum flux laws are evaluated in this context, and the dynamical horizons are contrasted with the event horizon. The formation of multiple marginally outer trapped surfaces in the Vaidya spacetime is also treated.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:numerical relativity, black holes, gravitational waves, effective-one-body formalism, dynamical horizons
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy
Major Option:Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Scheel, Mark
Thesis Committee:
  • Scheel, Mark (chair)
  • Chen, Yanbei
  • Adhikari, Rana
  • Ott, Christian D.
  • Szilagyi, Bela
Defense Date:8 July 2011
Non-Caltech Author Email:tonyc (AT)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Brinson FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Sherman Fairchild FoundationUNSPECIFIED
National Science FoundationPHY-0601459
National Science FoundationPHY-0652995
National Science FoundationDMS-0553302
National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationNNX09AF97G
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:07292011-012517485
Persistent URL:
Related URLs:
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Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:6556
Deposited By: Tony Chu
Deposited On:25 Aug 2011 18:41
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 23:52

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PDF (Complete Thesis) - Final Version
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