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Aggregates in the strength and gravity regime: Particles sizes in Saturn's rings
  • Univ Potsdam
  • Lab Atmospher & Space Phys
  • Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP)
  • Univ Leicester
  • Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD)
  • Cassini-Huygens project
Sponsorship Process Number: 
DAAD: A06/20714
Particles in Saturn's main rings range in size from dust to kilometer-sized objects. Their size distribution is thought to be a result of competing accretion and fragmentation processes. While growth is naturally limited in tidal environments, frequent collisions among these objects may contribute to both accretion and fragmentation. As ring particles are primarily made of water ice attractive surface forces like adhesion could significantly influence these processes, finally determining the resulting size distribution. Here, we derive analytic expressions for the specific self-energy Q and related specific break-up energy Q(star) of aggregates. These expressions can be used for any aggregate type composed of monomeric constituents. We compare these expressions to numerical experiments where we create aggregates of various types including: regular packings like the face-centered cubic (fcc), Ballistic Particle Cluster Aggregates (BPCA), and modified BPCAs including e.g. different constituent size distributions. We show that accounting for attractive surface forces such as adhesion a simple approach is able to: (a) generally account for the size dependence of the specific break-up energy for fragmentation to occur reported in the literature, namely the division into "strength" and "gravity" regimes and (b) estimate the maximum aggregate size in a collisional ensemble to be on the order of a few tens of meters, consistent with the maximum particle size observed in Saturn's rings of about 10 m. (c) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Issue Date: 
Icarus. San Diego: Academic Press Inc. Elsevier B.V., v. 220, n. 2, p. 660-678, 2012.
Time Duration: 
Academic Press Inc. Elsevier B.V.
  • Collisional physics
  • Accretion
  • Planetary rings
  • Saturn, Rings
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Appears in Collections:Artigos, TCCs, Teses e Dissertações da Unesp

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