The influence of the monomer shape in the first stage of dust growth in the protoplanetary disk
Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, CSIC, Camino Bajo de Huétor 50, 18008 Granada, Spain e-mail: [bertini;pedroj;wsabolo]@iaa.es
Accepted: 6 July 2009
Context. Laboratory experiments have shown that the initial stage of the dust growth in the protoplanetary disk starts with low-velocity hit-and-stick collisions between sub-micron grains, before the relative impact energy becomes large enough to cause the morphological restructuring of the forming aggregates. The results of these collisions are loose aggregates characterized by fractal dimensions ≤2. Numerical studies generally model this early stage with colliding clusters made of monodisperse spherical monomers.
Aims. In this paper we aimed to investigate how a more complex representation of the monodisperse monomers structure influences the morphology of the final aggregate particles in terms of fractal dimension, porosity, cross-section, and friction time. This study had also the purpose of testing the validity of the current fractal models in representing irregular particles.
Methods. We used three kinds of hit-and-stick aggregation methods: two particle-cluster aggregations producing compact and extremely loose aggregates, respectively, and simplified cluster-cluster aggregation as intermediate class in terms of fluffyness and porosity. In our measures, we used two kinds of monomer shapes: spheres and elongated prolate ellipsoids with axis ratio 3:1 resembling the ones used to model interstellar dust grains.
Results. We found that the monomer shape has little influence (≲2%) on the fractal dimension of the final aggregate, once large particles are taken into account, independently on the morphological class. Elongated monomers produce structures with larger fractal dimension in the limit of small particles. For loose objects the influence on the porosity is even smaller, whereas elongated monomers give particles with ~5% higher porosity in the case of large compact fractals. Regardless the ellipsoidal monomer used has, by construction, a cross-section ~26% larger than the one of the volume-equivalent sphere, the difference in cross-section per unit mass is decreasing when aggregates are considered. Clusters made by elliptical monomers result much coupled to the surrounding gas than objects made by spherical monomers belonging to the same morphological class. Differences in the friction time are estimated to be below 15%. We conclude that the monomer shape influence on the morphology of the final particles during the hit-and-stick aggregation step is much lower than the differences due to considering different morphological classes in modeling and the uncertainties produced in a realistic accretion scenario, where a wide distribution of morphologies is expected. Present models of irregular particles as fractals made by spherical monomers can therefore also represent well more complex shapes, before the restructuring phase is taken into account.
Key words: accretion, accretion disks / interplanetary medium / solar system: formation
© ESO, 2009