Context: Protoplanetary disks are observed to remain dust-rich for up to several million years. Theoretical modeling, on the other hand, raises several questions. Firstly, dust coagulation occurs so rapidly, that if the small dust grains are not replenished by collisional fragmentation of dust aggregates, most disks should be observed to be dust poor, which is not the case. Secondly, if dust aggregates grow to sizes of the order of centimeters to meters, they drift so fast inwards, that they are quickly lost.
Aims: We attempt to verify if collisional fragmentation of dust aggregates is effective enough to keep disks “dusty” by replenishing the population of small grains and by preventing excessive radial drift.
Methods: With a new and sophisticated implicitly integrated coagulation and fragmentation modeling code, we solve the combined problem of coagulation, fragmentation, turbulent mixing and radial drift and at the same time solve for the 1D viscous gas disk evolution.
Results: We find that for a critical collision velocity of 1 m s-1, as suggested by laboratory experiments, the fragmentation is so effective, that at all times the dust is in the form of relatively small particles. This means that radial drift is small and that large amounts of small dust particles remain present for a few million years, as observed. For a critical velocity of 10 m s-1, we find that particles grow about two orders of magnitude larger, which leads again to significant dust loss since larger particles are more strongly affected by radial drift.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Pub Date:
- August 2009
- accretion disks;
- circumstellar matter;
- stars: formation;
- stars: pre-main-sequence;
- infrared: stars;
- Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics
- Letter accepted 3 July 2009, included comments of language editor