On the Size of $(K_t,\mathcal{T}_k)$-Co-Critical Graphs

  • Zi-Xia Song
  • Jingmei Zhang


Given an integer $r\geqslant 1$ and graphs $G, H_1, \ldots, H_r$, we write $G \rightarrow ({H}_1, \ldots, {H}_r)$ if every $r$-coloring of the edges of $G$ contains a monochromatic copy of $H_i$ in color $i$ for some $i\in\{1, \ldots, r\}$. A non-complete graph $G$ is $(H_1, \ldots, H_r)$-co-critical if $G \nrightarrow ({H}_1, \ldots, {H}_r)$, but $G+e\rightarrow ({H}_1, \ldots, {H}_r)$ for every edge $e$ in $\overline{G}$. In this paper, motivated by Hanson and Toft's conjecture [Edge-colored saturated graphs, J Graph Theory 11(1987), 191–196], we study the minimum number of edges over all $(K_t, \mathcal{T}_k)$-co-critical graphs on $n$ vertices, where $\mathcal{T}_k$ denotes the family of all trees on $k$ vertices. Following Day [Saturated graphs of prescribed minimum degree, Combin. Probab. Comput. 26 (2017), 201–207], we apply graph bootstrap percolation on a not necessarily $K_t$-saturated graph to prove that for all $t\geqslant4 $ and $k\geqslant\max\{6, t\}$, there exists a constant $c(t, k)$ such that, for all $n \ge (t-1)(k-1)+1$, if $G$ is a $(K_t, \mathcal{T}_k)$-co-critical graph on $n$ vertices, then $$ e(G)\geqslant \left(\frac{4t-9}{2}+\frac{1}{2}\left\lceil \frac{k}{2} \right\rceil\right)n-c(t, k).$$ Furthermore, this linear bound is asymptotically best possible when $t\in\{4,5\}$ and $k\geqslant6$. The method we develop in this paper may shed some light on attacking Hanson and Toft's conjecture.

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