Effects of monomer shape on the formation of aggregates from a power law monomer distribution
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The coagulation of dust aggregates is an important process in many physical systems such as the Earth’s upper atmosphere, comet tails and protoplanetary discs. Numerical models which study the aggregation in these systems typically involve spherical monomers. There is evidence, however, via the polarization of sunlight in the interstellar medium, as well as optical and LIDAR observations of high-altitude particles in Earth’s atmosphere (70–100 km), which indicate that dust monomers may not necessarily be spherical. This study investigates the influence of different ellipsoidal monomer shapes on the morphology of aggregates given various distributions of monomer sizes. Populations of aggregates are grown from a single monomer using a combination of ballistic particle–cluster aggregation and ballistic cluster–cluster aggregation regimes incorporating the rotation of monomers and aggregates. The resulting structures of the aggregates are then compared via the compactness factor, geometric cross-section and friction time.