Global magnetohydrodynamical models of turbulence in protoplanetary disks
I. A cylindrical potential on a Cartesian grid and transport of solids
Department of Astronomy and Space Physics, Uppsala Astronomical Observatory, Box 515, 751 20 Uppsala, Sweden e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie, Königstuhl 17, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
Accepted: 6 December 2007
Aims.We present global 3D MHD simulations of disks of gas and solids, aiming at developing models that can be used to study various scenarios of planet formation and planet-disk interaction in turbulent accretion disks. A second goal is to demonstrate that Cartesian codes are comparable to cylindrical and spherical ones in handling the magnetohydrodynamics of the disk simulations while offering advantages, such as the absence of a grid singularity, for certain applications, e.g., circumbinary disks and disk-jet simulations.
Methods.We employ the Pencil Code, a 3D high-order finite-difference MHD code using Cartesian coordinates. We solve the equations of ideal MHD with a local isothermal equation of state. Planets and stars are treated as particles evolved with an N-body scheme. Solid boulders are treated as individual superparticles that couple to the gas through a drag force that is linear in the local relative velocity between gas and particle.
Results.We find that Cartesian grids are well-suited for accretion disk problems. The disk-in-a-box models based on Cartesian grids presented here develop and sustain MHD turbulence, in good agreement with published results achieved with cylindrical codes. Models without an inner boundary do not show the spurious build-up of magnetic pressure and Reynolds stress seen in the models with boundaries, but the global stresses and alpha viscosities are similar in the two cases. We investigate the dependence of the magnetorotational instability on disk scale height, finding evidence that the turbulence generated by the magnetorotational instability grows with thermal pressure. The turbulent stresses depend on the thermal pressure obeying a power law of 0.24 ± 0.03, compatible with the value of 0.25 found in shearing box calculations. The ratio of Maxwell to Reynolds stresses decreases with increasing temperature, dropping from 5 to 1 when the sound speed was raised by a factor 4, maintaing the same field strength. We also study the dynamics of solid boulders in the hydromagnetic turbulence, by making use of 106 Lagrangian particles embedded in the Eulerian grid. The effective diffusion provided by the turbulence prevents settling of the solids in a infinitesimally thin layer, forming instead a layer of solids of finite vertical thickness. The measured scale height of this diffusion-supported layer of solids implies turbulent vertical diffusion coefficients with globally averaged Schmidt numbers of 1.0 ± 0.2 for a model with 10-3 and 0.78 ± 0.06 for a model with 10-1. That is, the vertical turbulent diffusion acting on the solids phase is comparable to the turbulent viscosity acting on the gas phase. The average bulk density of solids in the turbulent flow is quite low ( = 6.010-11 kg m-3), but in the high pressure regions, significant overdensities are observed, where the solid-to-gas ratio reached values as great as 85, corresponding to 4 orders of magnitude higher than the initial interstellar value of 0.01.
Key words: magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) / accretion, accretion disks / instabilities / turbulence / solar system: formation / diffusion
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