Shock Waves

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 401–413 | Cite as

Investigation of conjugate circular arcs in rocket nozzle contour design

  • K. SchombergEmail author
  • J. Olsen
  • A. Neely
  • G. Doig
Original Article


The use of conjugate circular arcs in rocket nozzle contour design has been investigated by numerically comparing three existing sub-scale nozzles to a range of equivalent arc-based contour designs. Three performance measures were considered when comparing nozzle designs: thrust coefficient, nozzle exit wall pressure, and a transition between flow separation regimes during the engine start-up phase. In each case, an equivalent arc-based contour produced an increase in the thrust coefficient and exit wall pressure of up to 0.4 and 40% respectively, in addition to suppressing the transition between a free and restricted shock separation regime. A general approach to arc-based nozzle contour design has also been presented to outline a rapid and repeatable process for generating sub-scale arc-based contours with an exit Mach number of 3.8–5.4 and a length between 60 and 100% of a 15\(^{\circ }\) conical nozzle. The findings suggest that conjugate circular arcs may represent a viable approach for producing sub-scale rocket nozzle contours, and that a further investigation is warranted between arc-based and existing full-scale rocket nozzles.


Rocket nozzle Supersonic flow Contour design 



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Mechanical and Manufacturing EngineeringUNSW SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.School of Engineering and Information TechnologyUNSW CanberraCanberraAustralia
  3. 3.Aerospace Engineering DepartmentCalifornia Polytechnic State UniversitySan Luis ObispoUSA

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