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Chemical heterogeneity and imperfect mixing in the solar nebula

Stevenson, David J. (1990) Chemical heterogeneity and imperfect mixing in the solar nebula. Astrophysical Journal, 348 (2). pp. 730-737. ISSN 0004-637X. doi:10.1086/168282.

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It is shown that for the "standard" accretion disk model of the solar nebula, the efficiency of mixing the products of thermochemical processing from small to large disk radii depends only on the ratio of Djv ≡ k (D = eddy diffusivity, v = eddy viscosity). In the steady state limit, where mixing is most efficient, the fractional contamination at radius R which is due to thermochemical processing at radius R_p < R is found to be ~(R_p/R)^Y where y = 3/2k. This assumes that accretion takes place predominantly at radii R > R_p, which is true for all but very low angular momentum models. Since most of the mass resides at large radii R » R_p, it is concluded that if k ≾ 1, then most of the solar nebula was not contaminated by the consequences of thermochemical equilibria that were established at "small" radii (e.g., of order 1 AU). This condition is almost certainly satisfied if the physical process responsible for v is thermal convection or waves, but has uncertain validity during the early phases of disk evolution where accretion-induced shear instabilities may dominate, as Prinn discusses. In most cases, and especially during the later most relevant stage of disk evolution, interstellar dominance is implied for most solar nebula speciation and is predicted for cometary speciation except possibly for a small contamination which is due to catalyzed hydrogenation of CO to CH_4 and other hydrocarbons. If primordial giant planets possessed accretion disks, then the chemical speciation of the disk may have been partly that of the solar nebula. However, greater mixing and gas processing (including conversion of CO to CH_4 and N_2 to NH_3) might have occurred in these circumstances. The formalism developed here may have applicability to the interpretation of compositional gradients in the nebulae of Young Stellar Objects, and may be relevant to the survivability of interstellar dust grains.

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Stevenson, David J.0000-0001-9432-7159
Additional Information:© 1990 American Astronomical Society. Received 1988 June 8; accepted 1989 July 27. This work began while the author was on sabbatical at the Department of Astronomy, Cornell University. Their support is gratefully acknowledged. Comments from a reviewer (S. Weidenschilling), and spirited criticism from R. Prinn helped clarify the issues presented. This work is supported by NASA grant NAGW-185.
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Subject Keywords:comets, planets: abundances, solar system: general, stars: accretion
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Caltech Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences4642
Issue or Number:2
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Official Citation:Chemical heterogeneity and imperfect mixing in the solar nebula Stevenson, David J. Astrophysical Journal, Part 1 (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 348, Jan. 10, 1990, p. 730-737.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:44981
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:16 Apr 2014 20:00
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 16:58

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