Dust grain coagulation modelling: From discrete to continuous
In molecular clouds, stars are formed from a mixture of gas, plasma and dust particles. The dynamics of this formation is still actively investigated and a study of dust coagulation can help to shed light on this process. Starting from a pre-existing discrete coagulation model, this work aims to mathematically explore its properties and its suitability for numerical validation. The crucial step is in our reinterpretation from its original discrete to a well-defined continuous form, which results in the well-known Smoluchowski coagulation equation. This opens up the possibility of exploiting previous results in order to prove the existence and uniqueness of a mass conserving solution for the evolution of dust grain size distribution. Ultimately, to allow for a more flexible numerical implementation, the problem is rewritten as a nonlinear hyperbolic integro-differential equation and solved using a finite volume discretisation. It is demonstrated that there is an exact numerical agreement with the initial discrete model, with improved accuracy. This is of interest for further work on dynamically coupled gas with dust simulations. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.