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Cohesion of regolith: Measurements of meteorite powders

Cohesion of regolith: Measurements of meteorite powders

Nagaashi, Yuuya; Aoki, Takanobu; Nakamura, Akiko M.

Abstract

The cohesion of particles has a significant effect on the properties of small bodies. In this study, we measured in open air, the cohesive forces of tens of micron-sized irregularly shaped meteorite, silica sand, glass powder, and spherical glass particles, using a centrifugal method. In addition, we estimated the amount of water vapor adsorbed on the particles under the measurement conditions. The measured cohesive forces of the meteorite particles are tens of times smaller than those of an ideally spherical silica particle and correspond to the submicron-scale effective (or equivalent) curvature radius of the particle surface. Moreover, based on the estimated amount of water vapor adsorbed on the particles, we expect the cohesive forces of the particles in airless bodies to be approximately 10 times larger than those measured in open air. Based on the measurement results, we estimate that the cohesive forces of the particles on asteroids are typically in the sub-micro-Newton range, and that the particles on fast-rotating asteroids are tens of microns in size.

Accepted for publication in Icarus