A number of new expressions for the Roche limit are derived in order to inv
estigate the splitting behavior of cometary nuclei when passing close to ma
ssive bodies. These expressions handle both tensile and shear failure, taki
ng the radius, density, material strength, rotation period, and spin axis o
rientation of the body into account. The critical period for which bodies i
n free space disrupt due to the centrifugal force is also investigated, res
ulting in functions depending on radius, density, and material strength. (C
) 1999 Academic Press.