Impact experiments on porous icy-silicate cylindrical blocks and the implication for disruption and accumulation of small icy bodies

Arakawa M, Leliwa-Kopystyński J, Maeno N


158(2), 2002, 516-531, 10.1006/icar.2002.6893

Impact strength and cratering ejecta were studied for porous targets of pure ice and icy-silicate mixture in order to clarify the accumulation and destruction (shattering) condition of small icy bodies. The icy projectile impacted on the cylindrical targets with the porosity up to 55% at a velocity of 150 to 670 m/s at −10°C. The porosity dependence of the impact strength and that of the maximum ejecta velocity were measured in each type of these targets. As a result, the maximum ejecta velocity normalized by the impact velocity (Ve-max/Vi) is found to depend only on the porosity (φ), irrespective of the target type; a relationship is derived to be Ve-max/Vi=−2.17φ+1.29. The impact strength of pure ice increased with increased target porosity, but that of mixture target had an opposite trend; that is, the strength decreased with increased porosity. These porosity dependencies of the impact strength could be explained by the porosity dependence of the physical parameters such as impact pressure, pressure decay, and static strength. Finally, the accumulation of small icy bodies is discussed to show that the collisional events can be divided into three types by the porosity and the collision velocity according to our experimental results: mass loss, rubble pile formation, and regolith formation (compaction).