Collisions between equal-sized ice grain agglomerates
Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics, University of Tübingen, Auf der Morgenstelle 10, 72076 Tübingen, Germany e-mail: [schaefer;speith;kley]@tat.physik.uni-tuebingen.de
Accepted: 4 May 2007
Context.Following the recent insight in the material structure of comets, protoplanetesimals are assumed to have low densities and to be highly porous agglomerates. It is still unclear if planetesimals can be formed from these objects by collisional growth.
Aims.Therefore, it is important to study numerically the collisional outcome from low velocity impacts of equal sized porous agglomerates which are too large to be examined in a laboratory experiment.
Methods.We use the Lagrangian particle method Smooth Particle Hydrodynamics to solve the equations that describe the dynamics of elastic and plastic bodies. Additionally, to account for the influence of porosity, we follow a previous developed equation of state and certain relations between the material strength and the relative density.
Results.Collisional growth seems possible for rather low collision velocities and particular material strengths. The remnants of collisions with impact parameters that are larger than 50% of the radius of the colliding objects tend to rotate. For small impact parameters, the colliding objects are effectively slowed down without a prominent compaction of the porous structure, which probably increases the possibility for growth. The protoplanetesimals, however, do not stick together for the most part of the employed material strengths.
Conclusions.An important issue in subsequent studies has to be the influence of rotation to collisional growth. Moreover, for realistic simulations of protoplanetesimals it is crucial to know the correct material parameters in more detail.
Key words: planetary systems: formation / planetary systems: protoplanetary disks
© ESO, 2007