Modeling collisional cascades in debris disks: The numerical method

András Gáspár, Dimitrios Psaltis, Feryal Zel, George H. Rieke, Alan Cooney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


We develop a new numerical algorithm to model collisional cascades in debris disks. Because of the large dynamical range in particle masses, we solve the integro-differential equations describing erosive and catastrophic collisions in a particle-in-a-box approach, while treating the orbital dynamics of the particles in an approximate fashion. We employ a new scheme for describing erosive (cratering) collisions that yields a continuous set of outcomes as a function of colliding masses. We demonstrate the stability and convergence characteristics of our algorithm and compare it with other treatments. We show that incorporating the effects of erosive collisions results in a decay of the particle distribution that is significantly faster than with purely catastrophic collisions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number14
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 10 2012


  • circumstellar matter
  • infrared: stars
  • methods: numerical
  • planetary systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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