Space Science Reviews

, 214:123 | Cite as

Enrichment of the Hot Intracluster Medium: Numerical Simulations

  • V. BiffiEmail author
  • F. Mernier
  • P. Medvedev
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Clusters of Galaxies: Physics and Cosmology


The distribution of chemical elements in the hot intracluster medium (ICM) retains valuable information about the enrichment and star formation histories of galaxy clusters, and on the feedback and dynamical processes driving the evolution of the cosmic baryons. In the present study we review the progresses made so far in the modelling of the ICM chemical enrichment in a cosmological context, focusing in particular on cosmological hydrodynamical simulations. We will review the key aspects of embedding chemical evolution models into hydrodynamical simulations, with special attention to the crucial assumptions on the initial stellar mass function, stellar lifetimes and metal yields, and to the numerical limitations of the modelling. At a second stage, we will overview the main simulation results obtained in the last decades and compare them to X-ray observations of the ICM enrichment patterns. In particular, we will discuss how state-of-the-art simulations are able to reproduce the observed radial distribution of metals in the ICM, from the core to the outskirts, the chemical diversity depending on cluster thermo-dynamical properties, the evolution of ICM metallicity and its dependency on the system mass from group to cluster scales. Finally, we will discuss the limitations still present in modern cosmological, chemical, hydrodynamical simulations and the perspectives for improving the theoretical modelling of the ICM enrichment in galaxy clusters in the future.


Galaxy clusters ICM chemical enrichment Numerical simulations 



The authors would like to acknowledge the referee for her/his valuable comments on this review. V.B. is thankful to Elena Rasia and Stefano Borgani for useful suggestions that helped improving the manuscript, and to Klaus Dolag for kindly providing the simulation data reported in Fig. 10. She wishes also to thank Umberto Maio and partial funding support from a grant of the German Research Fundation (DFG), number 390015701. F.M. is supported by the Lendület LP2016-11 grant awarded by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. SRON is supported financially by NWO, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research. P.M. acknowledges support from Russian Science Foundation (grant 14-22-00271).


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Physics Department, Astronomy UnitTrieste UniversityTriesteItaly
  2. 2.Observatory of TriesteINAFTriesteItaly
  3. 3.MTA-Eötvös University Lendület Hot Universe Research GroupBudapestHungary
  4. 4.Institute of PhysicsEötvös UniversityBudapestHungary
  5. 5.SRON Netherlands Institute for Space ResearchUtrechtThe Netherlands
  6. 6.Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IKI)MoscowRussia

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