The rebound condition of dust aggregates revealed by numerical simulation of their collisions

Koji Wada, Hidekazu Tanaka, Toru Suyama, Hiroshi Kimura, Tetsuo Yamamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)


Collisional growth of dust aggregates is a plausible root of planetesimals forming in protoplanetary disks. However, a rebound of colliding dust aggregates prevents dust from growing into planetesimals. In fact, rebounding aggregates are observed in laboratory experiments but not in previous numerical simulations. Therefore, the condition of rebound between dust aggregates should be clarified to better understand the processes of dust growth and planetesimal formation. We have carried out numerical simulations of aggregate collisions for various types of aggregates and succeeded in reproducing a rebound of colliding aggregates under specific conditions. Our finding is that in the rebound process, the key factor of the aggregate structure is the coordination number, namely, the number of particles in contact with a particle. A rebound is governed by the energy dissipation along with restructuring of the aggregates and a large coordination number inhibits the restructuring at collisions. Results of our numerical simulation for various aggregates indicate that they stick to each other when the mean coordination number is less than 6, regardless of their materials and structures, as long as their collision velocity is less than the critical velocity for fragmentation. This criterion of the coordination number would correspond to a filling factor of 0.3, which is somewhat larger than that reported in laboratory experiments. In protoplanetary disks, dust aggregates are expected to have low bulk densities (<0.1gcm-3) during their growth, which would prevent dust aggregates from rebounding. This result supports the formation of planetesimals with direct dust growth in protoplanetary disks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number36
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Aug 10
Externally publishedYes


  • dust
  • extinction
  • methods: numerical
  • planets and satellites: formation
  • protoplanetary disks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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