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Astron. Astrophys. 325, 300-304

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Research Note

The residence time of dust grains in turbulent molecular clouds

F.P. Pijpers

Theoretical Astrophysics Center, Institute for Physics and Astronomy, Aarhus University, Ny Munkegade, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark

Received 12 February 1997 / Accepted 24 March 1997


The residence time of dust grains inside turbulent molecular clouds is calculated. Earlier estimates of this time by Boland & de Jong (1982) have been criticized by Prasad et al. (1987) for not taking into account properly the turbulent character of the velocity field in molecular clouds which implies that the trajectory of a dust grain should be treated as a random walk. Taking some minimal assumptions regarding the turbulent velocity field a time scale is derived that depends on the Reynolds number of the flow. The near proportionality with Reynolds number of this time scale results in a much longer time scale over which dust grains will remain inside a molecular cloud.

Key words: ISM: dust - ISM: molecular clouds - turbulence

Send offprint requests to: F.P. Pijpers

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1997