Thursday, April 18, 2013

1304.4810 (Johannes Deckers et al.)

Colliding Decimetre Dust    [PDF]

Johannes Deckers, Jens Teiser
Collisional evolution is a key process in planetesimal formation and decimetre bodies play a key role in the different models. However, the outcome of collisions between two dusty decimetre bodies has never been studied experimentally. Therefore, we carried out microgravity collision experiments in the Bremen drop tower. The agglomerates consist of quartz with irregularly shaped micrometre-sized grains and the mean volume filling factor is 0.437 $\pm$ 0.004. The aggregates are cylindrical with 12 cm in height and 12 cm in diameter and typcial masses are 1.5 kg. These are the largest and most massive dust aggregates studied in collisions to date. We observed rebound and fragmentation but no sticking in the velocity range between 0.8 and 25.7 cm s$^{-1}$. The critical fragmentation velocity for split up of an aggregate is 16.2 $\pm$ 0.4 cm s$^{-1}$. At lower velocities the aggregates bounce of each other. In this velocity range the coefficient of restitution decreases with increasing collision velocity from 0.8 to 0.3. While the aggregates are very weak the critical specific kinetic energy for fragmentation $Q_{\mu =1}$ is a factor 6 larger than expected. Collisions of large bodies in protoplanetary discs are supposed to be much faster and the generation of smaller fragments is likely. In planetary rings collision velocities are of the order of a few cm s$^{-1}$ and are thereby in the same range investigated in these experiments. The coefficient of restitution of dust agglomerates and regolith covered ice particles, which are common in planetary rings, are similar.
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