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The aeolian-erosion barrier for the growth of metre-size objects in protoplanetary-discs and implications

Published onAug 03, 2020
The aeolian-erosion barrier for the growth of metre-size objects in protoplanetary-discs and implications

Aeolian-erosion is a destructive process which can erode small-size planetary objects through their interaction with a gaseous environment. Aeolian-erosion operates in a wide range of environments and under various conditions. Aeolian-erosion has been extensively explored in the context of geophysics in terrestrial planets. We show that aeolian-erosion of cobbles, boulders and small planetesimals in protoplanetary-discs can constitute a significant barrier for the early stages of planet formation. We use analytic calculations to show that under the conditions prevailing in protoplanetary-discs small bodies (10-10,000 m) are highly susceptible to gas-drag aeolian-erosion. At this size-range aeolian-erosion can efficiently erode the planetesimals down to tens-cm size and quench any further growth of such small bodies. It thereby raises potential difficulties for channels suggested to alleviate the metre-size barrier. Nevertheless, the population of ~ decimetre-size cobbles resulting from aeolian-erosion might boost the growth of larger (>km size) planetesimals and planetary embryos through increasing the efficiency of pebble-accretion, once/if such large planetesimals and planetary embryos exist in the disc.


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