Volume 622, February 2019
|Number of page(s)||20|
|Section||Planets and planetary systems|
|Published online||13 February 2019|
Observation of aerodynamic instability in the flow of a particle stream in a dilute gas
Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization (MPIDS),
Am Faβberg 17,
2 Lund Observatory, Department of Astronomy and Theoretical Physics, Lund University, 22100 Lund, Sweden
3 Institut für Geophysik und extraterrestrische Physik, Technische Universität Braunschweig, Mendelssohnstr. 3, 38106 Braunschweig, Germany
4 Institute for Nonlinear Dynamics, University of Göttingen, 37073 Göttingen, Germany
5 Laboratory of Atomic and Solid-State Physics and Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA
Accepted: 2 December 2018
Forming macroscopic solid bodies in circumstellar discs requires local dust concentration levels significantly higher than the mean. Interactions of the dust particles with the gas must serve to augment local particle densities, and facilitate growth past barriers in the metre size range. Amongst a number of mechanisms that can amplify the local density of solids, aerodynamic streaming instability (SI) is one of the most promising. This work tests the physical assumptions of models that lead to SI in protoplanetary discs (PPDs). We conduct laboratory experiments in which we track the three-dimensional motion of spherical solid particles fluidised in a low-pressure, laminar, incompressible, gas stream. The particle sizes span the Stokes–Epstein drag regime transition and the overall dust-to-gas mass density ratio, ϵ, is close to unity. A recently published study establishes the similarity of the laboratory flow to a simplified PPD model flow. We study velocity statistics and perform time-series analysis of the advected flow to obtain experimental results suggesting an instability due to particle-gas interaction: (i) there exist variations in particle concentration in the direction of the mean relative motion between the gas and the particles, that is the direction of the mean drag forces; (ii) the particles have a tendency to “catch up” to one another when they are in proximity; (iii) particle clumping occurs on very small scales, which implies local enhancements above the background ϵ by factors of several tens; (iv) the presence of these density enhancements occurs for a mean ϵ approaching or greater than 1; (v) we find evidence for collective particle drag reduction when the local particle number density becomes high and when the background gas pressure is high so that the drag is in the continuum regime. The experiments presented here are precedent-setting for observing SI under controlled conditions and may lead to a deeper understanding of how it operates in nature.
Key words: hydrodynamics / instabilities / turbulence / planets and satellites: formation / protoplanetary disks
© ESO 2019
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