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Title: Grain growth during protostellar disc formation

Recent observations indicate that mm/cm-sized grains may exist in the embedded protostellar discs. How such large grains grow from the micron size (or less) in the earliest phase of star formation remains relatively unexplored. In this study, we take a first step to model the grain growth in the protostellar environment, using 2D (axisymmetric) radiation hydrodynamic and grain growth simulations. We show that the grain growth calculations can be greatly simplified by the ‘terminal velocity approximation’, where the dust drift velocity relative to the gas is proportional to its stopping time, which is proportional to the grain size. We find that the grain–grain collision from size-dependent terminal velocity alone is too slow to convert a significant fraction of the initially micron-sized grains into mm/cm sizes during the deeply embedded Class 0 phase. Substantial grain growth is achieved when the grain–grain collision speed is enhanced by a factor of 4. The dust growth above and below the disc midplane enables the grains to settle faster towards the midplane, which increases the local dust-to-gas ratio, which, in turn, speeds up further growth there. How this needed enhancement can be achieved is unclear, although turbulence is a strong possibility that deserves further more » exploration.

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Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
p. 4780-4796
Oxford University Press
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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