On the conditions for warping and breaking protoplanetary discs

Alison K. Young*, Struan Stevenson, C. J. Nixon, Ken Rice

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Recent observations demonstrate that misalignments and other out-of-plane structures are common in protoplanetary discs. Many of these have been linked to a central host binary with an orbit that is inclined with respect to the disc. We present simulations of misaligned circumbinary discs with a range of parameters to gain a better understanding of the link between those parameters and the disc morphology in the wave-like regime of warp propagation that is appropriate to protoplanetary discs. The simulations confirm that disc tearing is possible in protoplanetary discs as long as the mass ratio, μ, and disc-binary inclination angle, i, are not too small. For the simulations presented here this corresponds to μ > 0.1 and i ≳ 40. For highly eccentric binaries, tearing can occur for discs with smaller misalignment. Existing theoretical predictions provide an estimate of the radial extent of the disc in which we can expect breaking to occur. However, there does not seem to be a simple relationship between the disc properties and the radius within the circumbinary disc at which the breaks appear, and furthermore the radius at which the disc breaks can change as a function of time in each case. We discuss the implications of our results for interpreting observations and suggest some considerations for modelling misaligned discs in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2616-2631
Number of pages16
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
Early online date18 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • accretion
  • accretion discs
  • hydrodynamics
  • protoplanetary discs


Dive into the research topics of 'On the conditions for warping and breaking protoplanetary discs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this