Dohnanyi's (1969, 1971) theory predicts that a collisional system such as the asteroid population should rapidly relax to a power-law equilibrium size distribution, provided all the collisional response parameters are independent of size. However, we have found that Dohnanyi did not include in a consistent way in the theory the possible occurrence of a small-size cutoff in the distribution. We have carried out a number of numerical simulations of the collisional evolution process, showing that the cutoff results in a wavy pattern superimposed on Dohnanyi's equilibrium power law, which affects the distribution up to sizes of tens of km. The pattern arises because particles just above the cutoff are not removed by catastrophic impacts by smaller projectiles, and therefore are created by break-up of larger bodies faster than they are eliminated; larger particles are increasingly depleted up to the size where the smallest shattering projectile exceeds the cutoff, and beyond that the removal rate is reduced and the distribution flattens. Thus, to be effective in producing the waves, the cutoff (or any other persisting 'discontinuity' in the particle properties) must be sharp over a size range corresponding to the threshold projectile-to-target ratio for fragmentation.

Wavy size distributions for collisional systems with a small-size cutoff

FARINELLA, PAOLO;PAOLICCHI, PAOLO
1994

Abstract

Dohnanyi's (1969, 1971) theory predicts that a collisional system such as the asteroid population should rapidly relax to a power-law equilibrium size distribution, provided all the collisional response parameters are independent of size. However, we have found that Dohnanyi did not include in a consistent way in the theory the possible occurrence of a small-size cutoff in the distribution. We have carried out a number of numerical simulations of the collisional evolution process, showing that the cutoff results in a wavy pattern superimposed on Dohnanyi's equilibrium power law, which affects the distribution up to sizes of tens of km. The pattern arises because particles just above the cutoff are not removed by catastrophic impacts by smaller projectiles, and therefore are created by break-up of larger bodies faster than they are eliminated; larger particles are increasingly depleted up to the size where the smallest shattering projectile exceeds the cutoff, and beyond that the removal rate is reduced and the distribution flattens. Thus, to be effective in producing the waves, the cutoff (or any other persisting 'discontinuity' in the particle properties) must be sharp over a size range corresponding to the threshold projectile-to-target ratio for fragmentation.
Campo Bagatin, A.; Cellino, A.; Davis, D. R.; Farinella, Paolo; Paolicchi, Paolo
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11568/229342
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