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Open AccessArticle

Selective Aggregation Experiments on Planetesimal Formation and Mercury-Like Planets

Faculty of Physics, University of Duisburg-Essen, Lotharstr. 1, D-47057 Duisburg, Germany
Geosciences 2018, 8(9), 310; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8090310
Received: 21 June 2018 / Revised: 17 August 2018 / Accepted: 18 August 2018 / Published: 21 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Detection and Characterization of Extrasolar Planets)
Much of a planet’s composition could be determined right at the onset of formation. Laboratory experiments can constrain these early steps. This includes static tensile strength measurements or collisions carried out under Earth’s gravity and on various microgravity platforms. Among the variety of extrasolar planets which eventually form are (Exo)-Mercury, terrestrial planets with high density. If they form in inner protoplanetary disks, high temperature experiments are mandatory but they are still rare. Beyond the initial process of hit-and-stick collisions, some additional selective processing might be needed to explain Mercury. In analogy to icy worlds, such planets might, e.g., form in environments which are enriched in iron. This requires methods to separate iron and silicate at early stages. Photophoresis might be one viable way. Mercury and Mercury-like planets might also form due to the ferromagnetic properties of iron and mechanisms like magnetic aggregation in disk magnetic fields might become important. This review highlights some of the mechanisms with the potential to trigger Mercury formation. View Full-Text
Keywords: mercury; planet formation; protoplanetary disk; iron-silicate separation; extrasolar planets mercury; planet formation; protoplanetary disk; iron-silicate separation; extrasolar planets
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Wurm, G. Selective Aggregation Experiments on Planetesimal Formation and Mercury-Like Planets. Geosciences 2018, 8, 310.

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