The formation and role of vortices in protoplanetary disks.

We carry out a two-dimensional, compressible simulation of a disk, including dust particles, to study the formation and potential role of vortices in protoplanetary disks. We found that anticyclonic vortices can form out of an initial random perturbation of the vorticity held. Vortices have a typical decay time of the order of 50 orbital periods (for a viscosity parameter a\10~4 and a disk aspect ratio of H/r\0.15). If vorticity is continuously generated at a constant rate in the Now (e.g., by convection), then a large vortex can form and be sustained (because of the merger of vortices). We found that dust concentrates in the cores of vortices within a few orbital periods, when the drag parameter is of the order of the orbital frequency. Also, the radial drift of the dust induces a significant increase in the surface density of dust particles in the inner region of the disk. Thus, vortices may represent the preferred location for planetesimal formation in protoplanetary disks. The relative difficulty in forming such vortices, however, suggests that a further examination of this phenomenon is required in order to determine the viability of vortices as planet formation sites. We show that it is very difficult for vortex mergers to sustain a relatively coherent outward Nux of angular momentum.

Main Author: Godon, Patrick.
Other Authors: Livio, Mario.
Language: English
Published: 2000
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