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Dynamical evolution of planetesimals in protoplanetary disks

Dynamical evolution of planetesimals in protoplanetary disks

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06/16/2009

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Draft version February 2, 2008
Preprint typeset using L
A
TEX style emulateapj v. 02/09/03
DYNAMICAL EVOLUTION OF PLANETESIMALS IN PROTOPLANETARY DISKS.
R. R. Rafikov
IAS, Einstein Dr., Princeton, NJ 08540
Draft version February 2, 2008 
ABSTRACTThe current picture of terrestrial planet formation relies heavily on our understanding of the dynam-ical evolution of planetesimals — asteroid-like bodies thought to be planetary building blocks. Inthis study we investigate the growth of eccentricities and inclinations of planetesimals in spatiallyhomogeneous protoplanetary disks using methods of kinetic theory. Emphasis is put on clarifying theeffect of gravitational scattering between planetesimals on the evolution of their random velocities.We explore disks with a realistic mass spectrum of planetesimals evolving in time, similar to thatobtained in self-consistent simulations of planetesimal coagulation: distribution scales as a power lawof mass for small planetesimals and is supplemented by an extended tail of bodies at large massesrepresenting the ongoing runaway growth in the system. We calculate the behavior of planetesimalrandom velocities as a function of the planetesimal mass spectrum both analytically and numerically;results obtained by the two approaches agree quite well. Scaling of random velocity with mass canalways be represented as a combination of power laws corresponding to different velocity regimes(shear- or dispersion-dominated) of planetesimal gravitational interactions. For different mass spectrawe calculate analytically the exponents and time dependent normalizations of these power laws, aswell as the positions of the transition regions between different regimes. It is shown that randomenergy equipartition between different planetesimals can only be achieved in disks with very steepmass distributions (differential surface number density of planetesimals falling off steeper than
m
4
),or in the runaway tails. In systems with shallow mass spectra (shallower than
m
3
) random velocitiesof small planetesimals turn out to be independent of their masses. We also discuss the damping ef-fects of inelastic collisions between planetesimals and of gas drag, and their importance in modifyingplanetesimal random velocities.
Subject headings:
planetary systems: formation — solar system: formation — Kuiper Belt
1.
introduction.
Gravity-assisted agglomeration of planetesimals in theprotoplanetary disks around young stars is a backboneof a currently widely accepted paradigm of terrestrialplanet formation, despite many uncertainties in the de-tails of specific processes involved. In many respects ourunderstanding of the planetesimal disk evolution heavilyrelies on the numerical investigations, and these studiessignificantlygrew in complexity in recent years(Wetherill& Stewart 1989, 1993; Kenyon & Luu 1998, 2002; Inabaet al. 2001). On one hand, the sheer scale of simulatedsystems has expanded considerably, which was made pos-sible by the increase in computing power; on the otherhand, a wider range of concomitant physical phenomena(fragmentation, migration, etc.) can now be routinelyfollowed simultaneously with the evolution of planetesi-mal mass and velocity distributions.Unfortunately, very often this complexity creates aproblem when one tries to understand a
relative
role of each of the specific processes in shaping the planetesimalmass and velocity spectra. Disentangling the contribu-tions of different physical nature in the results of numer-ical simulations certainly is a tantalizing task which canoften yield very confusing conclusions. Thus it is very im-portant to be able to isolate different physical processesoperating in the planetesimal disks and to study their ef-fects on the disk evolution separately. One way to do thisis to build simple but realistic models which are easy to
Electronic address:rrr@ias.edu
analyze and at the same time are able to grasp the mainfeatures of the physics involved. Such approach wouldgrant us good analytical understanding of relevant pro-cesses, and we are going to follow this route in our study.Behavior of planetesimal velocities is one of the cru-cial ingredients of the terrestrial planet formation pic-ture because of the very important role played by thegravitational focusing (which depends on planetesimalvelocities) in assembly of the big bodies in planetesimaldisks. The purpose of this paper is to explore the evo-lution of inclinations and eccentricities (which representplanetesimal random velocities) caused by the mutualgravitational scattering of planetesimals. This is a cleanand well-posed problem. The effects of gas drag and in-elastic collisions are initially neglected but later on wediscuss how their inclusion affects our results. To keepthings as clear as possible we have opted not to try cou-pling self-consistently planetesimal velocity evolution tothe evolution of the mass spectrum in this study. Instead,we follow changes of random velocities in a disk with adistribution of planetesimal sizes which evolves in some
prescribed 
manner. However simplistic this assumptionseems to be, in adopting it we try to use mass spectrawhich are similar to those produced by self-consistentcoagulation simulations, and to study a wide variety of such mass distribution models.Another argument in favor of this approach is the factthat the dynamical relaxation time in a disk of gravita-tionally interacting planetesimals is much shorter thanthe physical collision timescale (characterizing evolution
 
2of the mass spectrum) if relative random velocities of planetesimals are smaller than the escape velocities fromtheir surfaces (which is very often the case). The dynam-ical evolution of planetesimal disk can then be approxi-mated as that of a system with a quasi-stationary plan-etesimal mass spectrum. Understanding this problem isa logical step necessary to provide a clearer perspectiveon how to build a fully self-consistent theory of planetformation.We describe the statistical approach to the problemof the evolution of planetesimal random velocities in
§
2.Our model of planetesimal mass spectrum is introduced
§
3.In
§
4we outline the results for the distribution of planetesimal random velocities vs. planetesimal massesas functions of the input mass distribution and time; wealso compare these analytical predictions with numer-ical results. TableC1summarizes our major findingsin a concise form. In
§
5we comment on how gas dragand inelastic collisions between planetesimals can affectplanetesimal velocity spectra. We conclude in
§
6by thediscussion of our results and comparison with previousstudies.
2.
velocity evolution equations.
When the number of planetesimals in the protoplane-tary disk is very large and their masses are not sufficientto induce strong local nonuniformities in the disk (Ida& Makino 1993; Rafikov 2001, 2003b, 2003c), statisticalapproach and homogeneous “particle in a box” assump-tion are very helpful in the treatment of planetesimalevolution (Wetherill & Stewart 1989). We assume thatplanetesimals with mass
m
have velocity dispersions of eccentricity and inclination
σ
e
(
m,t
) and
σ
i
(
m,t
) associ-ated with them. It is natural to characterize planetes-imal disk by its mass distribution, and we assume that
(
m,t
)
dm
is the
surface number density 
of planetesimalswith masses between
m
and
m
+
dm
.In studying the dynamics of planetesimal disks wemake the following natural assumptions:
disk is locally homogeneous in radial direction andazimuthally symmetric; it is in Keplerian rotationaround central star,
epicyclic excursions of planetesimals in horizontaland vertical directions are small compared with thedistance to the central object,
planetesimal masses are much smaller than themass of the central object
c
.Two important consequences immediately follow fromthis set of assumptions. First, the gravitational scatter-ing of planetesimals during their encounter can be stud-ied in the framework of Hill approximation (H´enon &Petit 1986; Ida 1990; Rafikov 2003a). In this approach,gravitational interaction between two bodies with masses
m
and
m
introduces a natural lengthscale — Hill ra-dius
1
R
a
m
+
m
c
1
/
3
1
This definition follows original work of H´enon & Petit (1986)and differs from
R
H
a
[(
m
+
m
)
/
3
c
]
1
/
3
often used in theliterature (e.g. Ida 1990; Stewart and Ida 2000).
= 10
4
AU
a
AU 
m
+
m
2
×
10
21
g
1
/
3
,
(1)where
a
is the distance from the central object. Nu-merical estimate made in(1) assumes
c
=
and
a
AU 
a/
(1 AU), and is intended to illustrate that typi-cally
R
a
. Hill approximation yields two significantsimplifications:
The outcome of the interactions between two bod-ies depends only on their
relative
velocities and dis-tances.
If all relative distances are scaled by
R
and rel-ative velocities of interacting bodies are scaled by
R
, then the outcome of the gravitational scat-tering depends only on the initial values of scaledrelative quantities.Second, numerical studies (Greenzweig & Lissauer1992; Ida & Makino 1992) have demonstrated that in ho-mogeneous planetesimal disks the distribution function
ψ
(
e,i
) of absolute values of planetesimal eccentricities
e
and inclinations
i
is well represented by the Rayleighdistribution:
ψ
(
e,i
)
dedi
=
ede idiσ
2
e
σ
2
i
exp
e
2
2
σ
2
e
i
2
2
σ
2
i
,
(2)where
σ
e
and
σ
i
are the aforementioned dispersions of ec-centricity and inclination. It also follows from azimuthalsymmetry that horizontal and vertical epicyclic phases
τ 
and
ω
are distributed uniformly in the interval (0
,
2
π
).These facts have important ramifications as we demon-strate below.Let’s consider the gravitational interaction of two plan-etesimal populations: one with mass
m
and eccentricityand inclination dispersions
σ
e
and
σ
i
and the other withmass
m
and dispersions
σ
e
and
σ
i
. When the veloc-ity
2
distribution function of planetesimals has the form(2) it can be shown (Rafikov 2003a) that the evolutionof 
σ
e
and
σ
i
due to the gravitational interaction withpopulation of mass
m
proceeds according to
∂σ
2
e
∂t
=
|
A
|
a
2
m
+
m
c
4
/
3
m
m
+
m
×
m
m
+
m
1
+ 2
σ
2
e
σ
2
e
+
σ
2
e
2
,∂σ
2
i
∂t
=
|
A
|
a
2
m
+
m
c
4
/
3
m
m
+
m
×
m
m
+
m
1
+ 2
σ
2
i
σ
2
i
+
σ
2
i
2
,
(3)where
is the surface number density of planetesimalsof mass
m
, and
A
=
(
r/
2)
d
/dr
is a measure of shearin the disk [in Keplerian disks
A
=
(3
/
4)Ω]. Scatteringcoefficients
1
,
2
are defined as
1
=
1
σ
er
,
˜
σ
ir
)=
 
d
˜e
r
d
˜i
r
˜
ψ
r
(
˜e
r
,
˜i
r
)
 
−∞
d
˜
h
|
˜
h
|
(∆
˜e
sc
)
2
,
2
Throughout the paper we often refer to eccentricities and in-clinations of planetesimals as their random velocities.
 
3
2
=
2
σ
er
,
˜
σ
ir
)=
 
d
˜e
r
d
˜i
r
˜
ψ
r
(
˜e
r
,
˜i
r
)
 
−∞
d
˜
h
|
˜
h
|
(
˜e
r
·
˜e
sc
)
,
(4)where ˜
σ
er,ir
= (
σ
2
e,i
+
σ
2
e,i
)
1
/
2
a/R
are the dispersionsof relative eccentricity and inclination normalized in Hillcoordinates [see (1)],˜
h
is a semimajor axes differenceof interacting bodies scaled by
R
, and˜
e
r
,
˜
i
r
are therelative eccentricity and inclination
vectors
in Hill units(Goldreich & Tremaine 1980; Ida 1990). Function ∆
˜e
sc
represents a change of ˜
e
r
produced in the course of scat-tering, which is a function of not only absolute values of ˜
e
r
,
˜
i
r
, and˜
h
, but also of the relative epicyclic phases (forwhich reason we use vector eccentricities and inclinationshere). The distribution function of relative eccentricitiesand inclinations of planetesimals˜
ψ
r
(
˜e
r
,
˜i
r
) is analogousin its functional form to (2), but with
σ
e,i
replaced by
relative
velocity dispersions ˜
σ
er,ir
. Expressionsanalogousto (4) can be written down also for inclination scatteringcoefficients
1
and
2
. Note that the only assumptionused in deriving (3) is that of the specific form (2) of the distribution function of planetesimal eccentricities andinclinations (Rafikov 2003a).Equations(3) describe dynamical evolution driven onlyby gravitational scattering of planetesimals, implicitlyassuming that they are point masses. Physical size of planetesimal
r
 p
3
×
10
7
AU (
m/
(10
21
g))
1
/
3
(forphysical density 3 g cm
3
) is very small compared tothe corresponding Hill radius (1), which often justifiesthe neglect of physical collisions between planetesimals.However, at high relative velocities — higher than theescape speed from planetesimal surfaces — one can nolonger disregard highly inelastic physical collisions whichstrongly damp planetesimal random motions. In thisstudy we proceed by assuming first that velocities of planetesimals are below their escape velocities, and thendiscussing in
§
5how abandoning this assumption affectsour conclusions.Equation(3) and definitions (4) have been previously derived by other authors in a slightly different form(Wetherill & Stewart 1988; Ida 1990; Tanaka & Ida 1996;Stewart & Ida 2000):
∂σ
2
e
∂t
=
|
A
|
a
2
m
+
m
c
4
/
3
m
m
+
m
×
m
m
+
m
(
1
+ 2
2
) + 2
mm
+
m
σ
2
e
σ
2
e
+
σ
2
e
2
2
m
m
+
m
σ
2
e
σ
2
e
+
σ
2
e
2
.
(5)In this form the first term in brackets on the r.h.s. de-scribes the so-called
viscous stirring 
which is proportionalto the phase space average of ∆(
e
2
r
) (see definitions of 
1
and
2
). Depending on ˜
σ
er
and ˜
σ
ir
it can be eitherpositive or negative. Second term represents the phe-nomenon of 
dynamical friction 
well known from galacticdynamics. In the limit
m
m
its contribution is pro-portional to the mass of particle under consideration andto the surface mass density of field particles, but is inde-pendent of individual masses of field particles (cf. Binney& Tremaine 1987). This term is negative since it repre-sents the gravitational interaction of a moving body withthe wake of field particles formed
behind 
it as a result of gravitational focusing; thus
2
<
0 and
2
<
0. Finally,the third term describes the increase of random velocitiesof a particular body at the expense of random motion of field planetesimals it interacts with. This effect is anal-ogous to the first order Fermi mechanism of the cosmicray acceleration via scattering of energetic particles byrandomly moving magnetic field inhomogeneities (Fermi1949). Note that in previous studies of planetesimal scat-tering it is the combination of the second and third termson the r.h.s. of (5) that is called the dynamical friction(Stewart & Wetherill 1988; Ida 1990). The combined ef-fect of these two terms is to drive planetesimal system toequipartition of random energy between planetesimals of different mass (which would be realized in the absence of viscous stirring).In this work we analyze planetesimal velocity evolutionwith the aid of equation (3). We call the first (positive)term on its r.h.s.
gravitational stirring 
or
heating 
(differ-ent from viscous stirring), while second (negative) termis called
gravitational friction 
or
cooling 
(different fromdynamical friction
3
). In this sense terms “stirring” and“friction” are only used to describe positive and negativecontributions to the growth rate of planetesimals randommotion. Use of equations (3) rather than (5) has two ob- vious advantages: (1) gravitational stirring and frictionhave different dependences on
m
/
(
m
+
m
) which con-siderably simplifies analysis of velocity evolution equa-tions, and (2) stirring and friction terms have definitesigns (unlike viscous stirring and dynamical friction usedin previous studies of planetesimal dynamics).Gravitational scattering of planetesimals can proceedin two rather different velocity regimes, shear-dominatedand dispersion-dominated. The former one is realizedwhen
σ
2
e,i
+
σ
2
e,i
(
R
/a
)
2
, while the latter holds when
σ
2
e,i
+
σ
2
e,i
(
R
/a
)
2
. Analytical arguments and nu-merical calculations demonstrate that in the dispersion-dominated regime
σ
e
and
σ
i
are of the same order andevolve in a similar fashion (e.g. Ida 1990; Stewart & Ida2000). This happens because scattering in this regimehas a three-dimensional character making different com-ponents of velocity ellipsoid comparable to each other.Thus, rough idea of the dynamical evolution in this casecan be obtained by studying only one of the equations(3). Moreover, the behavior of the scattering coefficientsin the dispersion-dominated regime can be calculated an-alytically as a function of ˜
σ
er
and ˜
σ
ir
in two-body ap-proximation (Stewart & Wetherill 1988; Tanaka & Ida1996), and one finds that
1
1
=
A
1
σ
ir
/
˜
σ
er
)
1
σ
ir
/
˜
σ
er
)
lnΛ˜
σ
2
er
,
2
2
=
A
2
σ
ir
/
˜
σ
er
)
2
σ
ir
/
˜
σ
er
)
lnΛ˜
σ
2
er
,
(6)where
A
1
,
2
,
1
,
2
are positive functions of inclination toeccentricity ratio ˜
σ
ir
/
˜
σ
er
, and lnΛ is a Coulomb loga-rithm (Binney & Tremaine 1987), which in our case canbe represented as (Rafikov 2003a)Λ
a
1
˜
σ
ir
σ
2
er
+
a
2
˜
σ
2
ir
)
,
(7)
3
I am grateful to Peter Goldreich and Re’em Sari for pointingthis out to me.

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