Saturday, March 14, 2015

Simulating Dust Evolution and Photoevaporation in Protoplanetary Disk Dispersal

The Impact of Dust Evolution and Photoevaporation on Disk Dispersal


Gorti et al


Protoplanetary disks are dispersed by viscous evolution and photoevaporation in a few million years; in the interim small, sub-micron sized dust grains must grow and form planets. The time-varying abundance of small grains in an evolving disk directly affects gas heating by far-ultraviolet photons, while dust evolution affects photoevaporation by changing the disk opacity and resulting penetration of FUV photons in the disk. Photoevaporative flows, in turn, selectively carry small dust grains leaving the larger particles---which decouple from the gas---behind in the disk. We study these effects by investigating the evolution of a disk subject to viscosity, photoevaporation by EUV, FUV and X-rays, dust evolution, and radial drift using a 1-D multi-fluid approach (gas + different dust grain sizes) to solve for the evolving surface density distributions. The 1-D evolution is augmented by 1+1D models constructed at each epoch to obtain the instantaneous disk structure and determine photoevaporation rates. The implementation of a dust coagulation/fragmentation model results in a marginal decrease in disk lifetimes when compared to models with no dust evolution; the disk lifetime is thus found to be relatively insensitive to the evolving dust opacity. We find that photoevaporation can cause significant reductions in the gas/dust mass ratio in the planet-forming regions of the disk as it evolves, and may result in a corresponding increase in heavy element abundances relative to hydrogen. We discuss implications for theories of planetesimal formation and giant planet formation, including the formation of gas-poor giants. After gas disk dispersal, ∼3×10−4 \ms\ of mass in solids typically remain, comparable to the solids inventory of our solar system.

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