Volume 502, Number 3, August II 2009
|Page(s)||845 - 869|
|Section||Interstellar and circumstellar matter|
|Published online||15 June 2009|
Dust coagulation and fragmentation in molecular clouds*
I. How collisions between dust aggregates alter the dust size distribution
Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, University of Groningen, PO box 800, 9700 AV Groningen, The Netherlands e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie, Königstuhl 17, 69117, Heidelberg, Germany
3 Sterrenkundig Instituut Anton Pannekoek, Kruislaan 403, 1098 SJ Amsterdam, The Netherlands e-mail: C.Dominik@uva.nl
4 Afdeling Sterrenkunde, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, Postbus 9010, 6500 GL Nijmegen, The Netherlands
5 Ames Research Center, NASA, Mail Stop 245-3, Moffett Field, CA 94035, USA
6 Leiden Observatory, Leiden University, PO Box 9513, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands e-mail: email@example.com
Accepted: 2 June 2009
The cores in molecular clouds are the densest and coldest regions of the interstellar medium (ISM). In these regions ISM-dust grains have the potential to coagulate. This study investigates the collisional evolution of the dust population by combining two models: a binary model that simulates the collision between two aggregates and a coagulation model that computes the dust size distribution with time. In the first, results from a parameter study quantify the outcome of the collision – sticking, fragmentation (shattering, breakage, and erosion) – and the effects on the internal structure of the particles in tabular format. These tables are then used as input for the dust evolution model, which is applied to an homogeneous and static cloud of temperature 10 K and gas densities between 103 and 107 cm-3. The coagulation is followed locally on timescales of ~107 yr. We find that the growth can be divided into two stages: a growth dominated phase and a fragmentation dominated phase. Initially, the mass distribution is relatively narrow and shifts to larger sizes with time. At a certain point, dependent on the material properties of the grains as well as on the gas density, collision velocities will become sufficiently energetic to fragment particles, halting the growth and replenishing particles of lower mass. Eventually, a steady state is reached, where the mass distribution is characterized by a mass spectrum of approximately equal amount of mass per logarithmic size bin. The amount of growth that is achieved depends on the cloud's lifetime. If clouds exist on free-fall timescales the effects of coagulation on the dust size distribution are very minor. On the other hand, if clouds have long-term support mechanisms, the impact of coagulation is important, resulting in a significant decrease of the opacity on timescales longer than the initial collision timescale between big grains.
Key words: ISM: dust / extinction / ISM: clouds / turbulence / methods: numerical
© ESO, 2009
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