Charge transfer in dust-agglomerate collisions and the efficiency of electrostatic secondary agglomeration

A possible explanation for a rapid formation of macroscopic bodies in protoplanetary disks in spite of low sticking probabilities is based upon charge separation in non-sticking collisions. Such a charge separation has been observed in laboratory collisions between microscopic dust particles and macroscopic solid targets. A succession of non-sticking collisions can lead to the build-up of surface charges and, thus, of strong electric fields on the larger bodies from which emerging, previously non-sticking dust particles are not able to escape. The proposed project aims at the experimental test of this concept and the modelling of the charge-induced growth of protoplanetary bodies. In addition to that, chondrule-formation theories based on nebular lightning will be tested.

Principle Investigators

Prof. Dr. Jürgen Blum
Dr. Gerhard Wurm