Pebble accretion is a promising process for decreasing growth timescales of planetary cores, allowing gas giants to form at wide orbital separations. However, nebular turbulence can reduce the efficiency of this gas-assisted growth. We present an order-of-magnitude model of pebble accretion that calculates the impact of turbulence on the average velocity of small bodies, the radius for binary capture, and the sizes of the small bodies that can be accreted. We also include the effect of turbulence on the particle scale height, which has been studied in previous works. We find that turbulence does not prevent rapid growth in the high-mass regime: the last doubling time to the critical mass to trigger runaway gas accretion (M ∼ 10 M ⊕) is well within the disk lifetime, even for strong (α 10-2) turbulence. We find that, while the growth timescale is quite sensitive to the local properties of the protoplanetary disk, there are large regimes of parameter space over which large cores grow in less than the disk lifetime, if appropriately sized small bodies are present. Instead, the effects of turbulence are most pronounced for low planetary masses. For strong turbulence, the growth timescale is longer than the gas disk lifetime until the core reaches masses . A "flow isolation mass," at which binary capture ceases, emerges naturally from our model framework. We comment that the dependence of this mass on orbital separation is similar to the semimajor axis distribution of solar system cores.
- planets and satellites: formation
- planets and satellites: gaseous planets
- protoplanetary disks
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science