Space Science Reviews

, 214:52 | Cite as

Dust Evolution in Protoplanetary Discs and the Formation of Planetesimals

What Have We Learned from Laboratory Experiments?
  • Jürgen BlumEmail author
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Cosmic Dust from the Laboratory to the Stars


After 25 years of laboratory research on protoplanetary dust agglomeration, a consistent picture of the various processes that involve colliding dust aggregates has emerged. Besides sticking, bouncing and fragmentation, other effects, like, e.g., erosion or mass transfer, have now been extensively studied. Coagulation simulations consistently show that \(\upmu\mbox{m}\)-sized dust grains can grow to mm- to cm-sized aggregates before they encounter the bouncing barrier, whereas sub-\(\upmu\mbox{m}\)-sized water-ice particles can directly grow to planetesimal sizes. For siliceous materials, other processes have to be responsible for turning the dust aggregates into planetesimals. In this article, these processes are discussed, the physical properties of the emerging dusty or icy planetesimals are presented and compared to empirical evidence from within and without the Solar System. In conclusion, the formation of planetesimals by a gravitational collapse of dust “pebbles” seems the most likely.


Protoplanetary dust Planetesimals Planet formation 



I thank the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and the Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt for continuous support. I thank Stefan Kothe for providing me with Fig. 1. I also thank Stu Weidenschilling for his constructive suggestions during the review process. Finally, I thank ISSI for inviting me to a wonderful and fruitful workshop.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für Geophysik und extraterrestrische PhysikTechnische Universität BraunschweigBraunschweigGermany

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