Collision-Induced Melting in Collisions of Water Ice Nanograins: Strong Deformations and Prevention of Bouncing

ML Nietiadi and P Umstatter and IA Alhafez and Y Rosandi and EM Bringa and HM Urbassek, GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, 44, 10822-10828 (2017).

DOI: 10.1002/2017GL075395

Collisions between ice grains are ubiquitous in the outer solar system. The mechanics of such collisions is traditionally described by the elastic contact theory of adhesive spheres. Here we use molecular dynamics simulations to study collisions between nanometer-sized amorphous water ice grains. We demonstrate that the collision-induced heating leads to grain melting in the interface of the colliding grains. The large lateral deformations and grain sticking induced considerably modify available macroscopic collision models. We report on systematic increases of the contact radius, strong grain deformations, and the prevention of grain bouncing.

Return to Publications page