Wind-driving protostellar accretion discs - I. Formulation and parameter constraints

Arieh Königl*, Raquel Salmeron, Mark Wardle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


We study a model of weakly ionized, protostellar accretion discs that are threaded by a large-scale, ordered magnetic field and power a centrifugally driven wind. We consider the limiting case where the wind is the main repository of the excess disc angular momentum and generalize the radially localized disc model of Wardle & Königl, which focused on the ambipolar diffusion regime, to other field diffusivity regimes, notably Hall and Ohm. We present a general formulation of the problem for nearly Keplerian, vertically isothermal discs using both the conductivity-tensor and the multifluid approaches and simplify it to a normalized system of ordinary differential equations in the vertical space coordinate. We determine the relevant parameters of the problem and investigate, using the vertical-hydrostatic-equilibrium approximation and other simplifications, the parameter constraints on physically viable solutions for discs in which the neutral particles are dynamically well coupled to the field already at the mid-plane. When the charged particles constitute a two-component ion-electron plasma, one can identify four distinct sub-regimes in the parameter domain where the Hall diffusivity dominates and three sub-regimes in the Ohm-dominated domain. Two of the Hall sub-regimes can be characterized as being ambipolar diffusion-like and two as being Ohm-like: the properties of one member of the first pair of sub-regimes are identical to those of the ambipolar diffusion regime, whereas one member of the second pair has the same characteristics as one of the Ohm sub-regimes. All the Hall sub-regimes have Brb/|Bφb| (ratio of radial-to-azimuthal magnetic field amplitudes at the disc surface) >1, whereas in two Ohm sub-regimes this ratio is <1. When the two-component plasma consists, instead, of positively and negatively charged grains of equal mass, the entire Hall domain and one of the Ohm sub-regimes with Brb/|Bφb| < 1 disappear. All viable solutions require the mid-plane neutral-ion momentum exchange time to be shorter than the local orbital time. We also infer that vertical magnetic squeezing always dominates over gravitational tidal compression in this model. In a follow-up paper we will present exact solutions that test the results of this analysis in the Hall regime.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-499
Number of pages21
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010


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