Impact erosion model for gravity-dominated planetesimals

Hidenori Genda, Tomoaki Fujita, Hiroshi Kobayashi, Hidekazu Tanaka, Ryo Suetsugu, Yutaka Abe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Disruptive collisions have been regarded as an important process for planet formation, while non-disruptive, small-scale collisions (hereafter called erosive collisions) have been underestimated or neglected by many studies. However, recent studies have suggested that erosive collisions are also important to the growth of planets, because they are much more frequent than disruptive collisions. Although the thresholds of the specific impact energy for disruptive collisions (QRD*) have been investigated well, there is no reliable model for erosive collisions. In this study, we systematically carried out impact simulations of gravity-dominated planetesimals for a wide range of specific impact energy (QR) from disruptive collisions (QR ∼ QRD*) to erosive ones (QR << QRD*) using the smoothed particle hydrodynamics method. We found that the ejected mass normalized by the total mass (Mej/Mtot) depends on the numerical resolution, the target radius (Rtar) and the impact velocity (vimp), as well as on QR, but that it can be nicely scaled by QRD* for the parameter ranges investigated (Rtar = 30–300 km, vimp = 2–5 km/s). This means that Mej/Mtot depends only on QR/QRD* in these parameter ranges. We confirmed that the collision outcomes for much less erosive collisions (QR < 0.01 QRD*) converge to the results of an impact onto a planar target for various impact angles (θ) and that Mej/Mtot ∝ QR/QRD* holds. For disruptive collisions (QR ∼ QRD*), the curvature of the target has a significant effect on Mej/Mtot. We also examined the angle-averaged value of Mej/Mtot and found that the numerically obtained relation between angle-averaged Mej/Mtot and QR/QRD* is very similar to the cases for θ = 45° impacts. We proposed a new erosion model based on our numerical simulations for future research on planet formation with collisional erosion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234-246
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Sept 15


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