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We present the first self-consistent three-dimensional study of hydrodynamic simulations of mass transfer in binary systems with bipolytropic (composite polytropic) components. In certain systems, such as contact binaries or during the common-envelope phase, the core- envelope structure of the stars plays an important role in binary interactions. In this paper, we compare mass transfer simulations of bipolytropic binary systems in order to test the suitability of our numerical tools for investigating the dynamical behaviour of such systems. The initial, equilibrium binary models possess a core-envelope structure and are obtained using the bipolytropic self-consistent field technique. We conduct mass transfer simulations using two independent, fully three-dimensional Eulerian codes - FLOW-ER and OCTO-TIGER. These hydrodynamic codes are compared across binary systems undergoing unstable as well as stable mass transfer, and the former at two resolutions. The initial conditions for each simulation and for each code are chosen to match closely so that the simulations can be used as benchmarks. Although there are some key differences, a detailed comparison of the simulations suggests that there is remarkable agreement between the results obtained using the two codes. This study puts our numerical tools on a secure footing, and enables us to reliably simulate specific mass transfer scenarios of binary systems involving components with a core-envelope structure.

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Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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