Fragmentation of Kozai-Lidov Disks

We analyze the gravitational instability (GI) of a locally isothermal inclined disk around one component of a binary system. Such a disk can undergo global Kozai-Lidov (KL) cycles if the initial disk tilt is above the critical KL angle (of about 40 degrees). During these cycles, an initially circular disk exchanges its inclination for eccentricity, and vice versa. Self-gravity may suppress the cycles under some circumstances. However, with hydrodynamic simulations including self-gravity we show that for a sufficiently high initial disk tilts and for certain disk masses, disks can undergo KL oscillations and fragment due to GI, even when the Toomre Q value for an equivalent undisturbed disk is well within the stable regime (Q > 2). We suggest that KL triggered disk fragmentation provides a mechanism for the efficient formation of giant planets in binary systems and may enhance fragmentation of disks in massive black hole binaries.

Comments: Accepted for publication in ApJL

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