Erosion of dust aggregates [EPA]

Aims: The aim of this work is to gain a deeper insight into how much different aggregate types are affected by erosion. Especially, it is important to study the influence of the velocity of the impacting projectiles. We also want to provide models for dust growth in protoplanetary disks with simple recipes to account for erosion effects.
Methods: To study the erosion of dust aggregates we employed a molecular dynamics approach that features a detailed micro-physical model of the interaction of spherical grains. For the first time, the model has been extended by introducing a new visco-elastic damping force which requires a proper calibration. Afterwards, different sample generation methods were used to cover a wide range of aggregate types.
Results: The visco-elastic damping force introduced in this work turns out to be crucial to reproduce results obtained from laboratory experiments. After proper calibration, we find that erosion occurs for impact velocities of 5 m/s and above. Though fractal aggregates as formed during the first growth phase are most susceptible to erosion, we observe erosion of aggregates with rather compact surfaces as well.
Conclusions: We find that bombarding a larger target aggregate with small projectiles results in erosion for impact velocities as low as a few m/s. More compact aggregates suffer less from erosion. With increasing projectile size the transition from accretion to erosion is shifted to higher velocities. This allows larger bodies to grow through high velocity collisions with smaller aggregates.

Read this paper on arXiv…

Date added: Thu, 17 Oct 13