A New Database of Giant Impacts over a Wide Range of Masses and with Material Strength: A First Analysis of OutcomesOPEN ACCESS 

Alexandre Emsenhuber, Erik Asphaug, Saverio Cambioni, Travis S. J. Gabriel, Stephen R. Schwartz, Robert E. Melikyan and C. Adeene Denton

The Planetary Science Journal, Volume 5, Number 3


“In the late stage of terrestrial planet formation, planets are predicted to undergo pairwise collisions known as giant impacts. Here, we present a high-resolution database of giant impacts for differentiated colliding bodies of iron–silicate composition, with target masses ranging from 1×10−4M⊕up to super-Earths (5M⊕). We vary the impactor-to-target mass ratio, core–mantle (iron–silicate) fraction, impact velocity, and impact angle. Strength in the form of friction is included in all simulations. We find that, due to strength, the collisions with bodies smaller than about 2×10−3M⊕can result in irregular shapes, compound-core structures, and captured binaries. We observe that the characteristic escaping velocity of smaller remnants (debris) is approximately half of the impact velocity, significantly faster than currently assumed in N-body simulations of planet formation. Incorporating these results in N-body planet formation studies would provide more realistic debris–debris and debris–planet interactions.”