A semi-analytical description for the formation and gravitational evolution of protoplanetary disks

Sanemichi Z. Takahashi, Shu Ichiro Inutsuka, Masahiro N. Machida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


We investigate the formation process of self-gravitating protoplanetary disks in unmagnetized molecular clouds. The angular momentum is redistributed by the action of gravitational torques in the massive disk during its early formation. We develop a simplified one-dimensional accretion disk model that takes into account the infall of gas from the envelope onto the disk and the transfer of angular momentum in the disk with an effective viscosity. First we evaluate the gas accretion rate from the cloud core onto the disk by approximately estimating the effects of gas pressure and gravity acting on the cloud core. We formulate the effective viscosity as a function of the Toomre Q parameter that measures the local gravitational stability of the rotating thin disk. We use a function for viscosity that changes sensitively with Q when the disk is gravitationally unstable. We find a strong self-regulation mechanism in the disk evolution. During the formation stage of protoplanetary disks, the evolution of the surface density does not depend on the other details of the modeling of effective viscosity, such as the prefactor of the viscosity coefficient. Next, to verify our model, we compare the time evolution of the disk calculated with our formulation with that of three-dimensional hydrodynamical simulations. The structures of the resultant disks from the one-dimensional accretion disk model agree well with those of the three-dimensional simulations. Our model is a useful tool for the further modeling of chemistry, radiative transfer, and planet formation in protoplanetary disks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number71
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 10 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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