Spherical shock waves in general relativity
Physical Review D
3164 - 3168
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We present the metric appropriate to a spherical shock wave in the framework of general relativity. This is a Petrov type-N vacuum solution of the Einstein field equations where the metric is continuous across the shock and the Riemann tensor suffers a step-function discontinuity. Spherical gravitational waves are described by type-N Robinson-Trautman metrics. However, for shock waves the Robinson-Trautman solutions are unacceptable because the metric becomes discontinuous in the Robinson-Trautman coordinate system. Other coordinate systems that have so far been introduced for describing Robinson-Trautman solutions also suffer from the same defect. We shall present the C0-form of the metric appropriate to spherical shock waves using Penrose's approach of identification with warp. Further extensions of Penrose's method yield accelerating, as well as coupled electromagnetic-gravitational shock-wave solutions. © 1991 The American Physical Society.