Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Role of Dust in Protoplanetary Disks

Dust Evolution in Protoplanetary Disks


Testi et al


In the core accretion scenario for the formation of planetary rocky cores, the first step toward planet formation is the growth of dust grains into larger and larger aggregates and eventually planetesimals. Although dust grains are thought to grow from the submicron sizes typical of interstellar dust to micron size particles in the dense regions of molecular clouds and cores, the growth from micron size particles to pebbles and kilometre size bodies must occur in protoplanetary disks. This step in the formation of planetary systems is the last stage of solids evolution that can be observed directly in young extrasolar systems.

In this chapter we review the constraints on the physics of grain-grain collisions as they have emerged from laboratory experiments and numerical computations. We then review the current theoretical understanding of the global processes governing the evolution of solids in protoplanetary disks, including dust settling, growth, and radial transport. The predicted observational signatures are summarized.
We discuss recent developments in the study of grain growth in molecular cloud cores and in collapsing envelopes of protostars as these provide the initial conditions for the dust in disks. We discuss the observational evidence for the growth of grains in young disks from mm surveys, as well as the recent evidence of radial variations of the dust properties in disks. We include a brief discussion of the constraints on the small end of the grain size distribution and on dust settling as derived from optical and IR observations. The observations are discussed in the context of global dust evolution models, in particular we focus on the emerging evidence for a very efficient early growth of grains and the radial distribution of grain sizes in disks. We also highlight the limits of current models, including the need to slow the radial drift of grains.

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