Letter to the Editor
Dust retention in protoplanetary disks
Junior Research Group at the Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie, Königstuhl 17, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany e-mail: email@example.com
Accepted: 3 July 2009
Context. Protoplanetary disks are observed to remain dust-rich for up to several million years. Theoretical modeling, on the other hand, raises several questions. Firstly, dust coagulation occurs so rapidly, that if the small dust grains are not replenished by collisional fragmentation of dust aggregates, most disks should be observed to be dust poor, which is not the case. Secondly, if dust aggregates grow to sizes of the order of centimeters to meters, they drift so fast inwards, that they are quickly lost.
Aims. We attempt to verify if collisional fragmentation of dust aggregates is effective enough to keep disks “dusty” by replenishing the population of small grains and by preventing excessive radial drift.
Methods. With a new and sophisticated implicitly integrated coagulation and fragmentation modeling code, we solve the combined problem of coagulation, fragmentation, turbulent mixing and radial drift and at the same time solve for the 1D viscous gas disk evolution.
Results. We find that for a critical collision velocity of 1 m s-1, as suggested by laboratory experiments, the fragmentation is so effective, that at all times the dust is in the form of relatively small particles. This means that radial drift is small and that large amounts of small dust particles remain present for a few million years, as observed. For a critical velocity of 10 m s-1, we find that particles grow about two orders of magnitude larger, which leads again to significant dust loss since larger particles are more strongly affected by radial drift.
Key words: accretion, accretion disks / circumstellar matter / stars: formation / stars: pre-main-sequence / infrared: stars
© ESO, 2009