Planetesimal formation via sweep-up growth at the inner edge of dead zones
1 Heidelberg University, Center for Astronomy, Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics, Albert-Ueberle-Str. 2, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
2 Member of the International Max-Planck Research School for Astronomy and Cosmic Physics at the Heidelberg University, Germany
Received: 25 March 2013
Accepted: 13 June 2013
Context. The early stages of planet formation are still not well understood. Coagulation models have revealed numerous obstacles to the dust growth, such as the bouncing, fragmentation, and radial drift barriers. Gas drag causes rapid loss, and turbulence leads to generally destructive collisions between the dust aggregates.
Aims. We study the interplay between dust coagulation and drift to determine the conditions in protoplanetary disk that support the formation of planetesimals. We focus on planetesimal formation via sweep-up and investigate whether it can take place in a realistic protoplanetary disk.
Methods. We have developed a new numerical model that resolves the spatial distribution of dust in the radial and vertical dimensions. The model uses representative particles approach to follow the dust evolution in a protoplanetary disk. The coagulation and fragmentation of solids is taken into account in the Monte Carlo method. A collision model adopting the mass transfer effect, which can occur for different-sized dust aggregate collisions, is implemented. We focus on a protoplanetary disk that includes a pressure bump caused by a steep decline of turbulent viscosity around the snow line.
Results. Our results show that high enough resolution of the vertical disk structure in dust coagulation codes is needed to obtain adequately short growth timescales, especially in the case of a low turbulence region. We find that a sharp radial variation in the turbulence strength at the inner edge of dead zone promotes planetesimal formation in several ways. It provides a pressure bump that efficiently prevents the dust from drifting inwards. It also causes a radial variation in the size of aggregates at which growth barriers occur, favoring the growth of large aggregates by sweeping up of small particles. In our model, by employing an ad hoc α viscosity change near the snow line, it is possible to grow planetesimals by incremental growth on timescales of approximately 105 years.
Key words: accretion, accretion disks / circumstellar matter / protoplanetary disks / planets and satellites: formation / methods: numerical
© ESO, 2013