Tensile Strength of Porous Dust Aggregates

Misako Tatsuuma, Akimasa Kataoka, Hidekazu Tanaka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Comets are thought to have information about the formation process of our solar system. Recently, detailed information about comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was found by Rosetta. It is remarkable that its tensile strength was estimated. In this paper, we measure and formulate the tensile strength of porous dust aggregates using numerical simulations, motivated by a porous dust aggregation model of planetesimal formation. We perform three-dimensional numerical simulations using a monomer interaction model with a periodic boundary condition. We stretch out a dust aggregate with a various initial volume filling factor between 10 -2 and 0.5. We find that the tensile stress takes the maximum value at the time when the volume filling factor decreases to about half of the initial value. The maximum stress is defined to be the tensile strength. We take an average of the results with 10 different initial shapes to smooth out the effects of initial shapes of aggregates. Finally, we numerically obtain the relation between the tensile strength and the initial volume filling factor of dust aggregates. We also use a simple semi-analytical model and successfully reproduce the numerical results, which enables us to apply a wide parameter range and different materials. The obtained relation is consistent with previous experiments and numerical simulations about silicate dust aggregates. We estimate that the monomer radius of comet 67P has to be about 3.3-220 μm to reproduce its tensile strength using our model.

Original languageEnglish
Article number159
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Apr 1
Externally publishedYes


  • methods: analytical
  • methods: numerical
  • planets and satellites: formation
  • protoplanetary disks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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