Transition region from turbulent to dead zone in protoplanetary disks: Local shearing box simulations

Fulvia Pucci, Kengo Tomida, James Stone, Shinsuke Takasao, Hantao Ji, Shoichi Okamura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The dynamical evolution of protoplanetary disks is of key interest for building a comprehensive theory of planet formation and to explain the observational properties of these objects. Using the magnetohydrodynamics code Athena++, with an isothermal shearing box setup, we study the boundary between the active and dead zone, where the accretion rate changes and mass can accumulate. We quantify how the turbulence level is affected by the presence of a non-uniform Ohmic resistivity in the radial x direction that leads to a region of inhibited turbulence (or dead zone). Comparing the turbulent activity to that of ideal simulations, the turbulence-inhibited area shows density fluctuations and magnetic activity at its boundaries, driven by energy injection from the active (ideal) zone boundaries. We find magnetic dissipation to be significantly stronger in the ideal regions, and the turbulence penetration through the boundary of the dead zone is determined by the value of the resistivity itself, through the Ohmic dissipation process, though the thickness of the transition does not play a significant role in changing the dissipation. We investigate the 1D spectra along the shearing direction: magnetic spectra appear flat at large scales both in ideal as well as resistive simulations, though a Kolmogorov scaling over more than one decade persists in the dead zone, suggesting the turbulent cascade is determined by the hydrodynamics of the system: magnetorotational instability dynamo action is inhibited where sufficiently high resistivity is present.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberabc9c0
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 20 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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