Simulation of gas-grain collisions: a mechanism for chondrule formation

Morlock, A.; Sutton, Y. C.; Patel, M.; Braithwaite, N. St. J and Grady, M. M. (2011). Simulation of gas-grain collisions: a mechanism for chondrule formation. In: 74th Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society, 8-12 Aug 2011, London, UK.



The exact process of chondrule formation is still not known. The most common scenarios are formation in a protoplanetary nebular environment: e.g. X-wind model [1] or nebular shock fronts, where precursor grains are heated by collisions with gas [2]. Most chondrules probably have been heated to 1500–1600 ºC, followed by a cooling rate of usually between 10 to 1000 ºC/h [3]. In this part of our study about the formation of chondrules by shock processes, we try to simulate the formation of chondrules by gas-grain collisions in a nebular environment.

Earlier, related studies usually did not result in chondrulelike objects[4]. In a first series of experiments using plasma arcs, we produced successfully spherical silicate droplets in a simple set-up under atmospheric conditions. These chondrule-like objects already show similarities to actual chondrules [5]. In a second series, the experiments take place in an environment closer to the earlier solar nebula, at low pressure and a reducing environment.

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