University of Cambridge > > Exoplanet Seminars > Population level study of the influence of planetesimal fragmentation on planet formation

Population level study of the influence of planetesimal fragmentation on planet formation

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The size distribution of solids in the protoplanetary disk is still ill constrained and evolves significantly throughout plant formation by various processes. As the planets grow, they excite the mutual random velocities among planetesimals, making collisions between them destructive. This leads to their fragmentation changing the typical size of solids accreted by protoplanets. I will show the impact planetesimal collisional fragmentation has on planet formation employing a population synthesis approach. The synthesis is performed by varying the initial conditions based on observations of disks to generate synthetic exoplanet populations. Our results show that planetesimal fragmentation, in conjunction with radial drift and the interactions with the gas disk, can either promote or hinder planet formation, depending on the typical size of fragments produced in collisions. In addition, the enhanced radial drift of the smaller fragments also changes the typical origin of accreted solids affecting the composition of the forming planets.

This talk is part of the Exoplanet Seminars series.

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