Evolution of Dust-to-Metal Ratio in Galaxies

Akio K. Inoue*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Citations (Scopus)


This paper investigates the evolution of the dust-to-metal ratio in galaxies based on a simple evolution model for the amount of metal and dust with infall. We take into account grain formation in stellar mass-loss gas, grain growth by the accretion of metallic atoms in a cold dense cloud, and grain destruction by SN shocks. Especially, we propose that the accretion efficiency is independent of the star-formation history. This predicts various evolutionary tracks in the metallicity (Z)-dust-to-gas ratio (D) plane depending on the star-formation history. In this framework, the observed linear Z-D relation of nearby spiral galaxies can be interpreted as a sequence of a constant galactic age. We emphasize that an observational study of the Z-D relation of galaxies at z ∼ 1 is very useful to constrain the efficiencies of dust growth and destruction. We also suggest that the Lyman break galaxies at z ∼ 3 have a very low dust-to-metal ratio, typically ≲ 0.1. Although the effect of infall on the evolutionary tracks in the Z-D plane is quite small, the dispersion of the infall rate can disturb the Z-D relation with a constant galactic age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)901-909
Number of pages9
JournalPublications of the Astronomical Society of Japan
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Dust, extinction
  • Galaxies: ISM
  • Galaxies: evolution
  • ISM: evolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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