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Sputtering in interstellar shocks - A model for heavy element depletion
Barlow, M. J.; Silk, J.
AA(Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics, Boulder, Colo.)
Astrophysical Journal, vol. 211, Jan. 15, 1977, pt. 2, p. L83-L87. (ApJL Homepage)
Publication Date:
NASA/STI Keywords:
Absorption, Heavy Elements, Interstellar Matter, Shock Wave Propagation, Sputtering, Supernova Remnants, Abundance, Granular Materials, Propagation Velocity, Shock Fronts
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High-velocity (at least 100 km/s) shock fronts are found to provide an environment where grains can be destroyed by thermal sputtering. Application is made to supernova remnants. Sputtering of refractory grains in shocks associated with high-velocity clouds leads to cosmic abundances of heavy elements and if followed by deceleration of the high-velocity gas and dilution with ambient depleted matter. A correlation of depletion with systematic velocity is predicted. It is proposed that there is a residual underlying depletion associated with refractory grain formation and a subsequent trapping of gas-phase metallic species by adsorption. Sputtering of adsorbed monolayers in intermediate-velocity shocks (not exceeding 50 km/s) can account for a range of depletions in diffuse interstellar matter.

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