In the core-accretion scenario for the formation of planetary rocky cores, the first step toward planet formation is the growth of dust grains into larger and larger aggregates and eventually planetesimals. Although dust grains are thought to grow up to micrometer-sized particles in the dense regions of molecular clouds, the growth to pebbles and kilometer-sized bodies must occur at the high densities within protoplanetary disks. This critical step is the last stage of solids evolution that can be observed directly in extrasolar systems before the appearance of large planetary-sized bodies. In this chapter we review the constraints on the physics of grain-grain collisions as they have emerged from laboratory experiments and numerical computations. We then review the current theoretical understanding of the global processes governing the evolution of solids in protoplanetary disks, including dust settling, growth, and radial transport. The predicted observational signatures of these processes are summarized. We briefly discuss grain growth in molecular cloud cores and in collapsing envelopes of protostars, as these likely provide the initial conditions for the dust in protoplanetary disks. We then review the observational constraints on grain growth in disks from millimeter surveys, as well as the very recent evidence for radial variations of the dust properties in disks. We also include a brief discussion on the small end of the grain size distribution and dust settling as derived from optical, near-, and mid-infrared observations. Results are discussed in the context of global dust-evolution models; in particular, we focus on the emerging evidence for a very efficient early growth of grains and the radial distribution of maximum grain sizes as the result of growth barriers. We also highlight the limits of the current models of dust evolution in disks, including the need to slow the radial drift of grains to overcome the migration/fragmentation barrier.
Protostars and Planets VI
- Pub Date:
- Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics;
- Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics
- Accepted for publication as a chapter in Protostars and Planets VI, University of Arizona Press (2014), eds. H. Beuther, R. Klessen, C. Dullemond, Th. Henning