The University of Arizona

Chondrule and metal grain size sorting from jet flows

K. Liffman


We examine the size sorting of chondrules and metal grains within the context of the jet flow model for chondrule/CAI formation. In this model, chondrules, CAIs, AOAs, metal grains, and related components of meteorites are assumed to have formed in the outflow region of the innermost regions of the solar nebula and then were ejected, via the agency of a bipolar jet flow, to outer regions of the nebula. We wish to see if size sorting of chondrules and metal grains is a natural consequence of this model. To assist in this task, we used a multiprocessor system to undertake Monte Carlo simulations of the early solar nebula. The paths of a statistically significant number of chondrules and metal grains were analyzed as they were ejected from the outflow and travelled over or into the solar nebula. For statistical reasons, only distances ≤3 AU from the Sun were examined. Our results suggest that size sorting can occur provided that the solar nebula jet flow had a relatively constant flow rate as function of time. A constant flow rate outflow produces size sorting, but it also produces a sharp size distribution of particles across the nebula and a metal-rich Fe/Si ratio. When the other extreme of a fully random flow rate was examined, it was found that size sorting was removed, and the initial material injected into the flow was simply spread over most of the the solar nebula. These results indicate that the outflow can act as a size and density classifier. By simply varying the flow rate, the outflow can produce different types of proto-meteorites from the same chondrule and metal grain feed stock. As a consequence of these investigations, we observed that the number of particles that impact into the nebula drops off moderately rapidly as a function of distance r from the Sun. We also derive a corrected form of the Epstein stopping time.


Size sorting;Solar nebula;Jet flows

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