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Contribution to the search for binaries among Am stars - VIII. New spectroscopic orbits of eight systems and statistical study of a sample of 91 Am stars

Abstract : This paper is the last of a series devoted to the study of Am stars, with the monitoring of radial velocities of a sample of 91 objects during more than 20 yr. The purpose was to determine which stars were members of spectroscopic binaries (SBs) and study in detail those systems in order to obtain observational constraints on the origin of the Am phenomenon. In the first part, we present the results of a detailed study of eight Am stars (HD 32893, 60489, 109762, 111057, 113697, 204918, 219675 and BD+44° 4512) observed at the Haute-Provence and Cambridge observatories with CORAVEL instruments. We find that these objects are single-lined SBs whose orbital elements are determined for the first time. HD 32893 is found to be a triple spectroscopic system whose third body might be detected by speckle interferometry. Physical parameters are inferred for the primaries of those SBs. We then investigate the influence of tidal interaction and find that it has already led to the synchronism of the primaries and to the circularization of the orbits of four of those systems. In the second part of this paper, we present the main results of our whole programme and derive some statistical properties of Am stars. We give the recapitulating table of the orbital parameters found for the SBs of our whole sample and the list of those for which no evidence for radial velocity variations could be found during our monitoring. Our study shows that at least 64 per cent of Am stars are members of SBs. This rate is significantly greater than that of normal stars. Although some SBs may have been not detected, this study shows that a substantial fraction of Am stars do not belong to SBs: they are either isolated stars or members of wide binary systems. We then present some statistical properties of the orbital parameters of the SBs whose primary is an Am star, on an extended sample obtained by adding 29 Am SB orbits published by other authors. The corresponding e versus logP diagram shows a cut-off between the circular and the eccentric systems at P ~ 5.6 +/- 0.5 d, which indicates a typical age of 0.5 - 1 × 109 yr for the Am stars, which is in agreement with the values found in our previous detailed studies. A Monte Carlo analysis shows that the distribution of the mass function values f(m) is compatible with a power-law distribution N(m) ~ m-? of the masses m of the companions with ? = 0.3 +/- 0.2 or with a Gaussian distribution centred on 0.8 +/- 0.5Msolar, which indicates that the companions of Am SBs are mostly dwarf stars of type G-K-M.
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J.-M. Carquillat, J.-L. Prieur. Contribution to the search for binaries among Am stars - VIII. New spectroscopic orbits of eight systems and statistical study of a sample of 91 Am stars. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Oxford University Press (OUP): Policy P - Oxford Open Option A, 2007, 380, pp.1064-1078. ⟨10.1111/J.1365-2966.2007.12143.X⟩. ⟨hal-00288768⟩

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