Collisional evolution of dust aggregates. From compaction to catastrophic destruction
Sterrenkundig Instituut “Anton Pannekoek”, Kruislaan 403, 1098 SJ Amsterdam, The Netherlands e-mail: email@example.com
2 Afdeling Sterrenkunde, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, Postbus 9010, 6500 GL Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Accepted: 15 August 2009
The coagulation of dust aggregates occurs in various astrophysical environments. Each one is characterized by different conditions that influence the growth, e.g., relative velocities, composition, and size of the smallest constituents (monomers). Here we study the microphysics of collisions of dust aggregates in a four-dimensional parameter space. The parameters are the collision energy, the initial compactness of agglomerates, the mass ratio of collision partners, and the impact parameter. For this purpose we employ a state of the art molecular dynamics type of model that has been extensively and successfully tested against laboratory experiments. It simulates the motion of individual monomers interacting dynamically via van der Waals surface forces. The structure of aggregates is quantified by the filling factor that provides information about the internal structure, the packing density of monomers, and the projected surface area of aggregates. Our results show the importance of the impact parameter that causes formation of elongated particles, due to tensile forces acting in offset collisions. In head-on impacts, aggregates are compacted at lower energies. A sufficiently high energy causes restructuring to reach maximum compaction. If more energy is provided, pancake-like structures are formed. We find that the outcome of collisions can be represented in a simple way. A highly pronounced large fragment component coexists with a power-law distribution of small fragments. The structural parameter of these small fragments is described very well by a simple relation, largely independent of the initial compactness, impact energy or impact parameter. The simulations show that erosion by collisions with high mass-ratio can be significant. The ejected mass can be several orders of magnitude higher than the impactor mass. This contrasts with collisions of equal mass aggregates, where the same impact energy can lead to perfect sticking. These findings are summarized in the form of a simple collision recipe. The recipe specifies the outcome of a collision, averaged over the impact parameter. It is provided in tabular form for a range of physical parameters such as impact energy and pre-collision filling factor. The dependence on the mass ratio of impactor and target is taken into account by providing both a local and a global branch of the recipe.
Key words: planets and satellites: formation
© ESO, 2009