Dust dynamics in 2D gravito-turbulent discs

Ji Ming Shi, Zhaohuan Zhu, James McLellan Stone, Eugene Chiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The dynamics of solid bodies in protoplanetary discs are subject to the properties of any underlying gas turbulence. Turbulence driven by disc self-gravity shows features distinct from those driven by the magnetorotational instability (MRI). We study the dynamics of solids in gravito-turbulent discs with two-dimensional (in the disc plane), hybrid (particle and gas) simulations. Gravito-turbulent discs can exhibit stronger gravitational stirring than MRI-active discs, resulting in greater radial diffusion and larger eccentricities and relative speeds for large particles (those with dimensionless stopping times tstopΩ > 1, where Ω is the orbital frequency). The agglomeration of large particles into planetesimals by pairwise collisions is therefore disfavoured in gravito-turbulent discs. However, the relative speeds of intermediate-size particles (tstopΩ ~ 1) are significantly reduced as such particles are collected by gas drag and gas gravity into coherent filament-like structures with densities high enough to trigger gravitational collapse. First-generation planetesimals may form via gravitational instability of dust in marginally gravitationally unstable gas discs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)982-998
Number of pages17
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 11 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Hydrodynamics
  • Methods: numerical
  • Planets and satellites: formation
  • Protoplanetary discs
  • Turbulence


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