8,308 research outputs found

    Wind-driven Accretion in Protoplanetary Disks. I: Suppression of the Magnetorotational Instability and Launching of the Magnetocentrifugal Wind

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    We perform local, vertically stratified shearing-box MHD simulations of protoplanetary disks (PPDs) at a fiducial radius of 1 AU that take into account the effects of both Ohmic resistivity and ambipolar diffusion (AD). The magnetic diffusion coefficients are evaluated self-consistently from a look-up table based on equilibrium chemistry. We first show that the inclusion of AD dramatically changes the conventional picture of layered accretion. Without net vertical magnetic field, the system evolves into a toroidal field dominated configuration with extremely weak turbulence in the far-UV ionization layer that is far too inefficient to drive rapid accretion. In the presence of a weak net vertical field (plasma beta~10^5 at midplane), we find that the MRI is completely suppressed, resulting in a fully laminar flow throughout the vertical extent of the disk. A strong magnetocentrifugal wind is launched that efficiently carries away disk angular momentum and easily accounts for the observed accretion rate in PPDs. Moreover, under a physical disk wind geometry, all the accretion flow proceeds through a strong current layer with thickness of ~0.3H that is offset from disk midplane with radial velocity of up to 0.4 times the sound speed. Both Ohmic resistivity and AD are essential for the suppression of the MRI and wind launching. The efficiency of wind transport increases with increasing net vertical magnetic flux and the penetration depth of the FUV ionization. Our laminar wind solution has important implications on planet formation and global evolution of PPDs.Comment: 23 pages, 13 figures, accepted to Ap

    Dynamics of Solids in the Midplane of Protoplanetary Disks: Implications for Planetesimal Formation

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    (Abridged) We present local 2D and 3D hybrid numerical simulations of particles and gas in the midplane of protoplanetary disks (PPDs) using the Athena code. The particles are coupled to gas aerodynamically, with particle-to-gas feedback included. Magnetorotational turbulence is ignored as an approximation for the dead zone of PPDs, and we ignore particle self-gravity to study the precursor of planetesimal formation. Our simulations include a wide size distribution of particles, ranging from strongly coupled particles with dimensionless stopping time tau_s=Omega t_stop=1e-4 to marginally coupled ones with tau_s=1 (where Omega is the orbital frequency, t_stop is the particle friction time), and a wide range of solid abundances. Our main results are: 1. Particles with tau_s>=0.01 actively participate in the streaming instability, generate turbulence and maintain the height of the particle layer before Kelvin-Helmholtz instability is triggered. 2. Strong particle clumping as a consequence of the streaming instability occurs when a substantial fraction of the solids are large (tau_s>=0.01) and when height-integrated solid to gas mass ratio Z is super-solar. 3. The radial drift velocity is reduced relative to the conventional Nakagawa-Sekiya-Hayashi (NSH) model, especially at high Z. We derive a generalized NSH equilibrium solution for multiple particle species which fits our results very well. 4. Collision velocity between particles with tau_s>=0.01 is dominated by differential radial drift, and is strongly reduced at larger Z. 5. There exist two positive feedback loops with respect to the enrichment of local disk solid abundance and grain growth. All these effects promote planetesimal formation.Comment: 25 pages (emulate apj), accepted to Ap

    A New Godunov Scheme for MHD, with Application to the MRI in disks

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    We describe a new numerical scheme for MHD which combines a higher order Godunov method (PPM) with Constrained Transport. The results from a selection of multidimensional test problems are presented. The complete test suite used to validate the method, as well as implementations of the algorithm in both F90 and C, are available from the web. A fully three-dimensional version of the algorithm has been developed, and is being applied to a variety of astrophysical problems including the decay of supersonic MHD turbulence, the nonlinear evolution of the MHD Rayleigh-Taylor instability, and the saturation of the magnetorotational instability in the shearing box. Our new simulations of the MRI represent the first time that a higher-order Godunov scheme has been applied to this problem, providing a quantitative check on the accuracy of previous results computed with ZEUS; the latter are found to be reliable.Comment: 11 pages, style files included, Conference Proceedings: "Magnetic Fields in the Universe: from Laboratory and Stars to Primordial Structures", More information on Athena can be found at http://www.astro.princeton.edu/~jstone/athena.htm

    Nonlinear Evolution of the Magnetohydrodynamic Rayleigh-Taylor Instability

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    We study the nonlinear evolution of the magnetic Rayleigh-Taylor instability using three-dimensional MHD simulations. We consider the idealized case of two inviscid, perfectly conducting fluids of constant density separated by a contact discontinuity perpendicular to the effective gravity g, with a uniform magnetic field B parallel to the interface. Modes parallel to the field with wavelengths smaller than l_c = [B B/(d_h - d_l) g] are suppressed (where d_h and d_l are the densities of the heavy and light fluids respectively), whereas modes perpendicular to B are unaffected. We study strong fields with l_c varying between 0.01 and 0.36 of the horizontal extent of the computational domain. Even a weak field produces tension forces on small scales that are significant enough to reduce shear (as measured by the distribution of the amplitude of vorticity), which in turn reduces the mixing between fluids, and increases the rate at which bubbles and finger are displaced from the interface compared to the purely hydrodynamic case. For strong fields, the highly anisotropic nature of unstable modes produces ropes and filaments. However, at late time flow along field lines produces large scale bubbles. The kinetic and magnetic energies transverse to gravity remain in rough equipartition and increase as t^4 at early times. The growth deviates from this form once the magnetic energy in the vertical field becomes larger than the energy in the initial field. We comment on the implications of our results to Z-pinch experiments, and a variety of astrophysical systems.Comment: 25 pages, accepted by Physics of Fluids, online version of journal has high resolution figure
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