Disc population synthesis: decrease of the solid mass reservoir through pebble drift
Surveys of star-forming regions reveal that the dust mass of protoplanetary discs decreases by several orders of magnitude on a timescale of a few million years. This decrease in the mass budget of solids is likely due to the gas-drag-induced radial drift of mm-sized solids, called pebbles. However, quantifying the evolution of this dust component in young stellar clusters is difficult due to the inherent large spread in stellar masses and formation times. Therefore, we aim to model the collective evolution of a cluster to investigate the effectiveness of radial drift in clearing the discs of mm-sized particles. We use a protoplanetary disc model that numerically solves for disc formation, and the viscous evolution and photoevaporative clearing of the gas component, while also including the drift of particles limited in size by fragmentation. We find that discs are born with dust masses between 50 Earth masses and 1000 Earth masses, for stars with, respectively, masses between 0.1 solar masses and 1 solar masses. The majority of this initial dust reservoir is typically lost through drift before photoevaporation opens a gap in the gas disc for models both with and without strong X-ray-driven mass loss rates. We conclude that the decrease in time of the mass locked in fragmentation-limited pebbles is consistent with the evolution of dust masses and ages inferred from nearby star-forming regions when assuming viscous evolution rates corresponding to mean gas disc lifetimes between 3 Myr and 8 Myr.
- Pub Date:
- March 2023
- Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics;
- Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics
- 16 pages, 11 figures, accepted for publication in A&