Analysis of the IR Signature and Radiative Base Heating from a Supersonic Solid Rocket Exhaust Plume

  • Bonchan Gu
  • Man Young Kim
  • Seung Wook BaekEmail author
Original Paper


The plume flow and radiative base heating of a solid rocket have been important factors for rocket survivability in the modern battlefield, in which the standard of technology determines the dominant position. To enhance rocket survivability and reduce base heating, infrared (IR) signatures emitted from an exhaust plume should be determined. In this work, therefore, IR signatures and radiative base heating characteristics in the plumes exhausted from a solid rocket operating at Mach number of 1.6 and altitudes of 5 km and 10 km, respectively, are numerically examined to find the physics related to the plume flow and radiative characteristics. The plume flow and radiative characteristics are obtained using a pre-conditioning method and weighted sum of gray gases model (WSGGM) coupled with finite volume method for radiation, respectively, and the IR signature at each location is post-processed with the narrow band-based WSGGM after plume fields are developed. After validating models adopted in this work by comparing with other solutions, the plume flow field, IR signature, and radiative base heating characteristics are investigated by changing such various parameters as altitude and particle concentrations in the exhaust plume. As a result, it is found that the particular wavelength IR signature level has high spectral characteristics because of \( \text{CO}_{2} \) and \( \text{H}_{\text{2}} \text{O} \) behaviors in the plume, and the radiative heat flux coming into the base plane decreases with higher flight altitude and longer distance from the nozzle exit.


Infrared (IR) signatures Rocket plume base heating NB-based WSGGM Finite volume method 

List of Symbols

\( C \)

Specific heat, J/kg K

\( I \)

Radiation intensity, W/m2


Number of total gray gases


Thickness of the gas layer

\( N_{\theta } \), \( N_{\phi } \)

Discretized number of each radiation direction

\( q_{\text{slab}}^{\text{C}} \)

Convective heat flux, W/m2

\( q_{\text{slab}}^{\text{R}} \)

Radiative heat flux, W/m2

\( q_{\text{slab}}^{\text{T}} \)

Total heat flux, W/m2

r, z

Axes of cylindrical coordinate

\( T \)

Temperature, K

Greek Symbols

\( \kappa_{\text{a}} \)

Absorption coefficient, m−1

\( \mu ,\,\,\,\eta ,\,\,\,\xi \)

Direction cosine

\( \rho \)

Density of slab or scale, kg/m3

\( \sigma \)

Stefan–Boltzmann constant, \( 5.67 \times 10^{ - 8} {\text{ W/m}}^{2} \;{\text{K}}^{4} \)

\( \phi \)

Azimuthal angle measured from radial direction


Surface area of the control volume


Volume of the control volume




\( \eta \)

Each band




kth gray band





Radiation direction



This work is supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) Grant funded by the Korean Government (MSIP) (no. NRF-2018R1D1A1B07048355).


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Copyright information

© The Korean Society for Aeronautical & Space Sciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Aerospace EngineeringKorea Advanced Institute of Science and TechnologyDaejeonRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Department of Aerospace EngineeringChonbuk National UniversityJeonju-siRepublic of Korea

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