Journal Article

Effects of initial condition and cloud density on the composition of the grain mantle

Ankan Das, Kinsuk Acharyya and Sandip K. Chakrabarti

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 409, issue 2, pages 789-800
Published in print December 2010 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online November 2010 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Effects of initial condition and cloud density on the composition of the grain mantle

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The evolution of grain mantles in various interstellar environments is studied. We concentrate mainly on water, methanol and carbon dioxide, which constitute nearly 90 per cent of the grain mantle. We investigate how the production rates of these molecules depend on the relative gas-phase abundances of oxygen and carbon monoxide and constrain the relevant parameter space that reproduces these molecules close to the observed abundances. Allowing the accretion of only H, O and CO on the grains and using the Monte Carlo method, we follow the chemical processes for a few million years. We allow the formation of multilayers on the grains and incorporate the freeze-out effects of accreting O and CO. We find that the formation of these molecules depends on the initial conditions as well as on the average cloud density. Specifically, when the number density of accreting O is less than three times that of CO, methanol is always overproduced. Using the available reaction pathways it appears to be difficult to match the exact observed abundances of all three molecules simultaneously. Only in a narrow region of parameter space are all three molecules produced within the observed limits. Furthermore, we found that the incorporation of the freeze-outs of O and CO leads to an almost steady state on the grain surface. The mantle thickness grows anywhere between 60 and 500 layers in a period of two million years. In addition, we consider a case in which the gas number density changes with time owing to the gradual collapse of the molecular cloud and present the evolution of the composition of different species as a function of the radius of the collapsing cloud.

Keywords: hydrodynamics; molecular processes; stars: protostars; ISM: abundances; ISM: molecules

Journal Article.  8427 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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