On the Disalignment of Interstellar Grains

Joseph C. Weingartner
2006 Astrophysical Journal  
Several mechanisms have been proposed to explain the alignment of grains with the interstellar magnetic field, including paramagnetic dissipation, radiative torques, and supersonic gas-grain streaming. These must compete with disaligning processes, including randomly directed torques arising from collisions with gas atoms. I describe a novel disalignment mechanism for grains that have a time-varying electric dipole moment and that drift across the magnetic field. Depending on the drift speed,
more » ... the drift speed, this mechanism may yield a much shorter disalignment timescale than that associated with random gas atom impacts. For suprathermally rotating grains, the new disaligning process may be more potent for carbonaceous dust than for silicate dust. This could result in efficient alignment for silicate grains but poor alignment for carbonaceous grains.
doi:10.1086/505342 fatcat:dggromhp2jepfd7m4te7nr5h3m