The University of Arizona

Chondrule Collisions in Shock Waves

F. J. Ciesla


Detailed numerical models have shown that solar nebula shock waves would be able to thermally process chondrules in a way that is consistent with experimental constraints. However, it has recently been argued that the high relative velocities that would be generated between chondrules of different sizes immediately behind the shock front would lead to energetic collisions that would destroy the chondrules as they were processed rather than preserving them for incorporation into meteorite parent bodies. Here the outcome of these collisions is quantitatively explored using a simple analytic expression for the viscous dissipation of collisional energy in a liquid layer. It is shown that molten chondrules can survive collisions at velocities as high as a few hundred meters per second. It is also shown that the thermal evolution of chondrules in a given shock wave varies with chondrule size, which may allow chondrules of different textures to form in a given shock wave. While experiments are needed to further constrain the parameters used in this work, these calculations show that the expected outcomes from collisions behind shock waves are consistent with what is observed in meteorites.


Shock wave;Chondrule formation;Solar nebula;Chondrules

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