Collision Dynamics in Planet Formation

Nan Wang, Nanjing University
Advisors: Shangfei Liu, Diana Valencia

Abstract: The final stage of terrestrial planet formation in the solar system involves collisions between dozens of lunar-to-Mars-sized planetary embryos and the leftover planetesimals. Early N-body simulations have treated a collision as a perfect merger. Until recently, the importance of fragmentation and hit-and-run collisions has been taken into account. Based on Leinhardt and Stewart's work (Leinhardt & Stewart 2012), we built a realistic collision model including four major regimes of merging, disruption, super-catastrophic disruption and hit-and-run, which were defined in their work. And we modified the REBOUND code (Rein & Liu 2010) to deal with different collisions and to track every body's collision history. The future work is to continue the investigation of the effects of realistic collision model, by comparing the results of the simulations with fragmentation and those with merging only. In particular, the chemical composition of final products is of prime interest.

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