Sunday, May 29, 2016

Towards a Global Evolutionary Model of Protoplanetary Disks

Towards a Global Evolutionary Model of Protoplanetary Disks


Bai et al


A global evolution picture of protoplanetary disks (PPDs) is key to understanding almost every aspect of planet formation, where standard alpha-disk models have been constantly employed for its simplicity. In the mean time, disk mass loss has been conventionally attributed to photoevaporation, which controls disk dispersal. However, a paradigm shift towards accretion driven by magnetized disk winds has been realized in the recent years, thanks to studies of non-ideal magneto-hydrodynamic effects in PPDs. I present a framework of global PPD evolution aiming to incorporate these advances, highlighting the role of wind-driven accretion and wind mass loss. Disk evolution is found to be largely dominated by wind-driven processes, and viscous spreading is suppressed. The timescale of disk evolution is controlled primarily by the amount of external magnetic flux threading the disks, and how rapidly the disk loses the flux. Rapid disk dispersal can be achieved if the disk is able to hold most of its magnetic flux during the evolution. In addition, because wind launching requires sufficient level of ionization at disk surface (mainly via external far-UV radiation), wind kinematics is also affected by far-UV penetration depth and disk geometry. For typical disk lifetime of a few Myrs, the disk loses approximately the same amount of mass through the wind as through accretion onto the protostar, and most of the wind mass loss proceeds from the outer disk via a slow wind. Fractional wind mass loss increases with increasing disk lifetime. Significant wind mass loss likely substantially enhances the dust to gas mass ratio, and promotes planet formation.

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