Sarah T. Stewart, Zoë M. Leinhardt
2009 Astrophysical Journal  
The resistance of planetesimals to collisional erosion changes dramatically during planet formation. The transition between accretion and erosion from a collision is defined by the relationship between the mass of the largest remnant (M lr ) and the normalized specific impact energy (Q/Q * D ), where Q * D are the size-dependent catastrophic disruption criteria (the Q required to disperse half the target mass). Here, we calculate Q * D for gravitationally bound aggregates subject to
more » ... collisions (1-300 m s −1 ) and compare the results to previous work at high velocities. We find that Q * D varies by orders of magnitude depending on the impact velocity and material properties. We define new variables to describe catastrophic disruption that remove ambiguities (over material density and projectile-totarget mass ratio) that are inherent in the traditional variables (Q and target radius): R C1 is the spherical radius of the combined projectile and target masses (M tot ) at a density of 1 g cm −3 , Q R is 0.5μV 2 i /M tot (μ is the reduced mass and V i is the impact velocity), and Q * RD is the Q R required to disperse half the combined mass. We derive a universal law for the largest remnant, M lr /M tot = −0.5(Q R /Q * RD − 1) + 0.5, and velocity-dependent catastrophic disruption criteria for strong and weak planetesimals for use in numerical studies of planet formation. Weak aggregate bodies are easily disrupted due to efficient momentum coupling during low-velocity collisions. Collisional growth of planetesimals requires a dynamically cold environment; alternatively, a noncollisional mechanism is required to form planetesimals large enough to be resistant to collisional disruption (several tens of kilometers).
doi:10.1088/0004-637x/691/2/l133 fatcat:hhmlpmrnibcype2uakbr3fte5a