Proo. Aerospace Sci. Vol. 28, pp. 171, 1991 Printed in Great Britain. All fights reserved.
©
0376O421/9150.00 + 0.50 1991 Pergamon Press plc
PLUME FLOW AND PLUME IMPINGEMENT IN SPACE TECHNOLOGY
GEORG DETTLEFF
DLR lnstitut.f~r Experimentelle Str6mungsmechanik, Bunsenatrasse 10, D3400 G6ttingen. F.R.G.
(Received 18 January 1991)
AlmtraetRocket thrusters of various types are the common means of propulsion in space technology. In the space vacuum the exhaust gases form a large free jet, called a plume, which can impinge on neighbouring surfaces. The impingement effects, often unavoidable due to the unrestricted spreading of the gas, are disturbing forces and unwanted heat load. They can reduce the lifetimeof the spacecraft or lead to damages. The solution of the problem includes the determination of the nonuniform plume flow field (hypersonic continuum and free molecule flow together with the nonequilibrium transition), the treatment of the nozzle flow with the characteristic viscosity influence, the assessment of the impinging plume flow and finally the determination of forces and heat transfer. Various theoretical and experimental investigations in the past and the present state are presented.
CONTENTS
NOMENCLATURE 
1 

1. 
INTRODUCTION 
3 

2. 
THRUSTERS AND PLUME IMPINGEMENT SITUATIONS 
5 

3. 
PLUME FLOW 
9 

4. 
NOZZLE FLOW AND PLUME NEAR FIELD 
25 

5. 
PLUME IMPINGEMENT 
33 

5.1. Impinging plume flow characteristics 
33 

5.2. Plume impingement forces 
37 

5.3. Plume impingement heat transfer 
45 

6. 
INTERACTION OF TWO PLUMES 
52 

7. 
TEST FACILITIES AND EXPERIMENTAL TECHNIQUES 
56 

8. 
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS 
66 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT 
67 

REFERENCES 
67 

NOMENCLATURE 

A 
fm'] 
area 
cv 
[Ws/kg.K] 
specific heat at 
con 

A~ 
plume constant 
stant volume 

Ap.ezp, Ap.med 
plume constant deter 
c, 
shear stress coefficient 

mined 
by 
experi 
d 
elemental for ex 

ment and model calculation, respectively 
d 
rm] 
ample dA: elemental area diameter 

A~ 
ffi A,. P*/Po 
dp 
I'm] 
probe diameter 

A, 
I'm2] 
projected 
area 
of 
d~ 
[m] 
sphere diameter 

sphere 
dx, d2 
[m] 
diameter of molecules 

a 
[m/see] 
speed of sound 
dE 
[Ws] 
energy 

B 
[kg/m] 
factor 
of 
propor 
e 
[W/m 2] 
energy flux 

tionality defined in 
F 
LN] 
(1) force; (2) thrust 

Eq.(2) 
F* 
LN] 
thrust 
produced 
by 

e 
Cm/sec] 
thermal velocity 
sonic orifice 

ca 
discharge coefficient 
f 
function 

cp 
pressure coefficient 
H 
[J] 
enthaipy 

c'p 
[Ws/kg.K] 
specific 
heat 
at 
con 
h 
I'W/m2.K'l 
heat 
transfer coeffi 

stant pressure 
cient 

c, 
[ 
] 
constant 
used 
in 
Eq. 
l,p 
rm/sec] 
specific impulse 

(22) 
Kn 
Knudsen number 
1
JPAS 28:1A
G. DETTLEFF
gnp 
penetration 
Knudsen 

number 

k 
[J/K] 
Boltzmann constant 

k' 
[W/m. K] 
coefficient of thermal 

conductivity 

l 
[m] 
length 

IE 
[m] 
distance nozzle throat to exit 

M 
[kg/kmole] 
relative molecule mass 

Ma 
Mach number 

Mab 
Mach 
number on 

border streamline 

Maw 
Mach number at wall 

m 
[kg] 
mass of molecule 

fa 
[kg/sec] 
mass flow 

rhid 
[kg/sec] 
mass flow, Eq. (32) 

[kg/sec] 
total mass flow 

Nu 
Nusselt number 

Nuds 
Nusselt number based on diameter d, 

n 
[1/m 3] 
number density 

P 
breakdown parameter 

P: 
(Bird), Eq. (25) onset of breakdown 

Pr 
Prandtl number 

P 
[N/m 2] 
pressure 

Ph 
[N/m 2] 
background pressure 

PPAT 
[N/m 2] 
pressure indicated by 

Patterson probe 

(free 
molecular pres 

sure probe) 

P, 
[N/m 2] 
pressure on impinged 

surface 

Pt2 
[N/m 2] 
Pitot pressure 

P~ 
[N/m 2] 
vapour pressure 

[W] 
heat flow 

q 
[N/m 2] 
dynamic 
pressure 

1/2pu 2 

0 
[W/m 2] 
heat flux 

R 
[Ws/kg K] 
gas constant 

Re 
Reynolds number 

Rep 
probe Reynolds num ber 

r 
[m] 
radius 

rf 
[In] 
location of 
freezing 

surface 

rt 
[m] 
radius of curvature at nozzle throat 

r' 
recovery factor 

S 
speed ratio 

St 
Stanton number 

S 
Reynolds 
analogy 

factor 

T 
[K] 
temperature 

7", 
[K] 
recovery temperature 

t 
[see] 
time 

u, o 
[m/see] 
velocity 

Ultra, Ulim 
[m/see] 
maximum attainable 

gas 
velocity after 

expansion 

v[ 
[m a] 
volume of vacuum 

chamber 

[m3/sec] 
pumping speed 

[m/see] 
velocity 

X 
[m] 
coordinate 

XM 
[ml 
location of Mach disk 

Xs 
[m] 
location of shock inter section 

Xt 
[m] 
distance along plate 

Xo 
[m] 
location of 
virtual 

source point 

Y 
[m] 
coordinate 

Yw 
[m] 
coordinate of 
nozzle 
wall
z 
[m] 
coordinate 

z,h 
[m] 
shock 
standoff 
dis 
tance 

ZN 
[m] 
(1) distance 
plate 

nozzle, (2) distance interaction planenozzle 

Greek Symbols 

~t 
[°] 
angle of attack (angle 

between streamline 

and surface) 

ct' 
[rad] 
angle of attack 

fl 
constant defined in Eq. (If) 

7 
ratio of specific heats 

6 
[m] 
boundary layer thick ness 

e 
nozzle area ratio 

O 
[o] 
polar angle 

OE 
[o] 
nozzle angle at exit 

O1i= 
[o] 
angle of border streamline 

Oo 
[°] 
angle 
of streamline 

separating isentro 

pic core and boundary layer ex pansion region 

O~ 
[°] 
deflection angle 

veM(Mab) 

 vpu(Ma~) 

.9 
[°] 
cant angle of thruster axis 

r 
temporary parameter 

2 
[m] 
mean free path 

2p 
[In] 
mean free path at inter action plane 

# 
[Ns/m 2] 
viscosity 

v 
[I/s] 
collision frequency 

v~u 
PrandtlMeyer func tion 

n 
3.14 

p 
[kg/m 3] 
density 

a 
accommodation coeffi 

cient 

ae 
thermal accommoda 

tion coefficient 

ap 
accommodation coeffi 

cient 
for normal 

momentum transfer 

at 
accommodation coeffi cient for shear stress 

T 
[N/m 2] 
shear stress 

~0 
[°] 
angle 

f2 
[m 2] 
collision cross section 
Indices
If not otherwise defined above, indices have the following general meaning:
c 
continuum flow 
CL, cl 
on center line 
E 
at nozzle exit 
i 
incoming molecules 
FM 
free molecule flow 
mod N 
modified Newton theory 
n 
normal to streamline 
R 
reflected molecules 
ref 
reference state/quantity 
tr 
transition flow 
w 
wall conditions 
x 
parallel to streamline 
o 
stagnation conditions 
Plume flow and plume impingement in space technology
o, eft
2
*
c~
effective stagnation conditions
conditions behind a nor ma! shock
at nozzle throat free stream conditions
Abbreviations
DSMC
Direct
Simulation
Monte Carlo Method
MOC 
Method 
of 
Character 
istics 
1. INTRODUCTION
Rocket thrusters are the common means of propulsion in space technology, with different sizes and propellants. To launch a rocket big engines with several million N thrust may be necessary, while for an attitude control manoeuvre of a satellite small engines with about 1 N thrust are sufficient.
Firing of a thruster leads inevitably to the formation of a jet flow downstream Of the nozzle. This flow, called a plume, is relatively slender when a thruster is fired in the lower atmosphere, but spreads more and more with decrease of the surrounding pressure as in the
upper atmosphere
the surroundings can be considered a vacuum (pressure < 10 ~ mbar)
a maximum spreading of the plume results. In many situations in space technology the plume flow causes severe problems: In Fig. 1
a plume is formed during the firing of a satellite attitude control thruster. Due to the
position of the thruster, parts of the satellite body and of the solar arrays are impinged by
If
FIG. 1. Plume formation and impingement during attitude control thruster firing (Orbital Test Satellite).
4
G. DETTLEFF
the exhaust gases. The impingement effects are forces, heat load, and contamination: Due to
the large size of the solar arrays the forces can lead to considerable undesired torques. Since the torque vector, which is additional to the thrust torque, is generally unknown, un controlled movements occur which can only be compensated by additional propellant consuming manoeuvres. The heat load, alone or in addition to the solar radiation, can damage surfaces. Finally the quality of optically sensitive surfaces can be reduced by gas deposition or by droplets of unburned propellant. It is therefore clear that the impingement effects lead to a reduction of function and lifetime of the spacecraft. The direct way to solve the problem would be to put the spacecraft into a vacuum chamber, fire the thrusters and then correct their positions to avoid or to minimize the impingement effects. This, however, is very difficult since enormous pumping capabilities
would be necessary
(a I Nhydrazine thruster has a mass flow of about 0.5" 10 a kg/sec). Another way would be to solve the proper flow equations and the equations describing the interaction between flow and surfaces. This, however, turns out to be likewise difficult. In Fig. 2 the basic features of a plume expanding into vacuum are sketched schematically. The flow starts in the combustion chamber (stagnation chamber). In the nozzle a restricted expansion takes place with the establishment of a boundary layer enclosing the is'cntropic core in the near
axis region. The nozzle area ratio ~ = ~ is typically
Mach number is typically about 5. The flow downstream of the exit in the free expansion is therefore hypersonic. Since the streamlines are divergent, continuum flow is only main tained in the vicinity of the nozzle passing into a free molecular flow further downstream. According to the different flow types, different types of interaction between flow and spacecraft surfaces occur. In Fig. 3 continuum flow impingement with the establishment of a compression shock and the free molecule flow interaction are sketched. The general, complete investigation of such impingement problems therefore comprises the treatment of nozzle flow with boundary layer, hypersonic continuum and rarefied flow, expansion and compression phenomena and gassurface interaction. In addition chemical reactions and condensation can take place in the flow and complications arise from difficult geometrical situations. Some fundamental literature on these subjects is cited in the References.t14) By means of experiments and theoretical work, however, a considerable approach to the solution of the basic problems and of single projects was possible. It is the intention of this article to expose these efforts and to work out the ruling parameters and simple formulae to estimate plume impingement effects. An early survey on plume flow problems was given in 1964 by Vick et al., ~s} who discussed among other things the problems of plume impingement. A literature survey concentrating on simple plume flow and impingement forces descriptions was published in 1980 by Boettcher and Legge.~6)Recently Lengrand {7}gave a concise survey on plume impingement problems at the Rarefied Gas Dynamics Symposium.
to maintain vacuum quality (,~ 10 6 mbar) during thruster firing
in the
order of 50 so that the exit
FIo. 2. Flow types in a plume expanding into vacuum. Adapted from Ref. (121).
Plumeflowand plumeimpingementin spacetechnology
Continuumftowimpin~lement
r~~
~°nllnuwllolfw //!.,cypersonicf
undisturbed"L:tr~,nrnlln)~
/ disturbed
/~ ~ J
/~ary
layer
r/i/////////////////////////////////////
Surface
Freemotecuteflow imlaingement

~nsition
\
\
)Wo,ecu,e
,,ffu.e
surface
FIG. 3. Continuumand freemoleculeflowimpingement.
The determination of mass flux, momentum flux, and energy flux effectivelyimpinging on a given surface and the local distribution of these fluxes on the surface is necessary to solve a plume impingement problem. We will therefore mainly treat these aspects of fluid mechanics and we will consider the methods and results to determine especially the density and velocity, which are the dominating quantities determining the fluxes in the plume (Section 3). We will also look in some detail at the main features of nozzle flow (Section 4), since the nozzle exit flow represents the initial conditions for the free expansion. Then in Section 5 we deal with the plume impingement forces and heat transfer. Plume impingement contamination as the third important effect (besides forces and heat load) will not be treated here. This would not only include the consideration of the fluid mechanical aspects of the plume but also of the chemical reactions under various firing conditions. Moreover the impinged surface itself must be considered in detail, since contamination depends on the specific material, its cleanness or prolayers of exhaust products and on other factors. Experimental facilities will be presented in Section 6 together with some measurement techniques. Plume impingement problems arising during multithruster firing are of increasing importance. The treatment here will deal with the interference characteristics of two plumes (Section 7). A survey on thrusters, on their positions and other requirements, and on the resulting impingement situations will be given in the next section, Section 2. The considerations will be limited to steady plume flow in vacuum and will emphasize thruster sizes typical for the application in such surroundings, i.e. in general the lower thrust level range.
2. THRUSTERS AND PLUME IMPINGEMENT SITUATIONS
Before going into the details of plume flow and plume impingement it is worthwhile to look at the variety of thrusters and propellants and on the different impingement situations. The requirements for the thrusters depend in the first place on the specification of the mission. As an example we consider a satellite in the socalled geostationary or 24hours
6
G. DETI'LEFF
orbit.(al°) The mission is characterized by its purpose, payload, dimensions and lifetime. The requirements for the attitude and orbit control thrusters are moreover determined by the desired accuracy of position and by the possible disturbances: lateral gravity acceler ation leading to eastwest drift, which must be compensated for, and varying gravity influence of the moon and sun, leading to northsouth station keeping man0~uvrcs. Further perturbations are possible due to solar radiation pressure, gas leakage or micrometeorite impact. Knowing or having estimated all these factors and having defined the thruster positions, we can determine the different impulse increments, F" At, and finally the total burn time t and impulse St0F. dr. The thruster positions for a satellite in a geostationary orbit are sketched in Fig. 4. For a thruster to produce a rotation of a satellite the position is determined by the requirement to obtain a maximum torque. To perform man0~uvres in space, engines with different thrust, specific impulse, system weight, size of impulse bits, power requirements, reliability and cost are available. An important selection criterion is the weight of the propulsion system, since it is one of the factors determining the launch cost. (1~l For this reason the specific impulse, defined as the attainable thrust per unit mass flux of propdlant
Isp
=
F
vh
is an essential characterizing quantity of a thruster. In Table 1 are listed some common thruster types, propellants and exhaust products. In the case of bipropeUant thrusters the fuel and oxidant chemically react in the combustion chamber. The often used combination of hydrazine and dinitrogentetraoxid¢ (N20,) provides thrust not less than 1ON.(~l The combustion temperature is in the range of
TABLE 1. SOMETHRUSTERTYPES USED IN SPACETECHNOLOGY
Thruster
Propellant
Main exhaust
gas components
Liquid 
bipropcllant 
Monomethylhydrazine 
H20, N2, CO, H2, CO2 
MMH (fuel), N20 ¢ (oxidant) 

Liquid 
monoprol~llant 
N2H4 (hydrazine) 
H2, N2, NHa 
H202 
H20, O2 
Cold gas 

Rcsistojet 

FIG. 4. 
Repr~cntative 
N 2,
N 2,
CF,, H 2 CF,, H 2, NH a, He and CO2, H20
(biowast© products)
Same as propellant
NS
I
~'7
station~_ ~
kee#ng
~
~
~
Jj~
e~W'e~
yaw control,
spin/despin,
EWstation
Keepln.g, .
repos,t,onlng
~
(
~
,
attitude
I~
control",.,
~'e
.,/,
~,,.:, .u,,u<,.u,.~
control
Wn~l
n~odi~
u
~
~
"
,
Ill
~,
~
J
offset
rail/yaw
control
'o
c:~
t_
I
°
_1
]o Ti 7 
/
/ °
/
_,_
I
radials,
keeping,
precession
<o°,,o<
i
/
~
EWstailo n~r~
keepina
repositloning J,,
axio is :.I.~ ~ NS station
#~
,
IP~(
~,1X~,, /
s
.
.
I
LsPm{
i~i~_ oe~'n
cp0
/
•
J
c~
/
,~J
/
?
(AI representative 3axis
satellite
thrusters
~
l
i
thruster
locations
northsouth,
and
functions
(B) representative
satellite
spinning
thrusters
for
threeaxis
and
spinstabilized
EW: eastwest. Adapted from Ref. (11).
satellites.
NS:
Plume flow and plume impingement in space technology
cold/warm gas IGN2.KcCF/.,Ar,H2.etc)
~
hydrogen
~f~"~
_
N ~"
.c"6
I
cototytic hydrozine.N2HL,
I
(,~
el
~
~c, 

='E 

I 
I 
1960 
1970 
I
ISp:250t°310s~~
hipeht/hydrozine
Lowthrust N202/MMt~:~
llsp=2rJO0s
~
mercury ion propulsion
1980
and beyond
FIG. 5. Generations of spacecraft onorbit control propulsion system applications. Adapted from Ref. (11).
3000 K.t4) Monopropellants like hydrazine (N2H4) are decomposed by a catalyst and
provide thrust down to the milliNewton range. The combustion temperature is about
1000 K. The thruster efficiency (specific impulse) can be increased if the exhaust products,
before entering the nozzle, are heated electrothermally,tl 2) In cold gas thrusters no chemical reactions take place. The pressurized gas is let into the stagnation chamber and expands through the nozzle. If electrothermal energy is available, resistojets can be employed. Such thrusters are relatively easy to handle. On manned space stations biowaste gases (CO 2,
H20) may be used as a propellant.~13) For one single manoeuvre with defined thrust
burning time solid rockets can be used. An example is the orbit injection manoeuvre. The thrust is typically several hundred to several thousand Newton. Sackheim et al. ~) have subdivided the onorbit control propulsion systems into five generations (Fig. 5). Except for hydrogen peroxide (H202) all generations are in use now (ion propulsion is out of the scope of this article). Note that the data beyond 1980 in Fig. 5
are an estimate. An early review of microrocket technology is given by Sutherland and Maes,t~4) with additional information for example on thrust and total impulse. Thruster nozzles for space applications have an expansion ratio e > 50, since the ambient pressure is very low. Therefore undesired flow separation will not occur. The nozzle shape is in general conical or contoured and in some cases trumpet shaped (Fig. 6). Plume impingement effects play a role in thruster positioning and propellant selection besides the criteria mentioned before. In Fig. 7 the orientation of a thruster giving a maximum torque is sketched (~ = 0). Canting of the thruster axis reduces plume impinge ment effects on the solar array but also reduces the thrust torque. The proper orientation is therefore balanced between a minimum of plume impingement effects and a maximum of attainable torque. This is demonstrated in the example in the lower part of Fig. 7. For 9 = 0, maximum thrust torque, but also a maximum opposite disturbing torque and maximum heat load due to plume impingement are obtained. Variation of ~ leads to an effective torque as shown by the dashed line. Also indicated is the heat load on the solar panel which, in this example, exceeds a certain critical value for small angles 9. Thus plume impingement effects prevent the utilization of the maximum torque orientation (9 = 0) of the thruster. The consequence is an undesired increased fuel consumption. With respect to plume flow calculations the knowledge of the exhaust gas composition is necessary, since it determines essentially the gas dynamic behaviour. For cold gas and resistojet thrusters the composition is identical to the propellant gas. In the case of monopropellant and bipropellant thrusters, however, chemical reactions take place in the
and
8
G. DETTLEFF
a)
b)
_{~}
7~a~.7
9.8
10./,8"
~6~8.53
c)
~
7.85
,
FIG. 6. Typical nozzle shapes used in space technology. (a) Conical (ERNO 0.5 N thruster); (b) contoured (ERNO 2 N thruster); (c) trumpet (adapted from Ref. (60)).
,_
~
'
thruster
torque
thrustertorque
~
effective/ (sumof torqueand torque thruster plumeimp. torque)
,~
"'
"*
impingedsurface: _{s}_{o}_{l}_{a}_{r}_{,}_{p}_{n}_{n}_{e}_{t}
~'umeaxis
canted
heat toad
critical vatue
~heat certainposition toad at
FIG. 7. Diminution of plume impingement effects by canting of the thruster (schematic).
Plume flowand plumeimpingementin
spacetechnology
9
combustion chamber and also in the nozzle flow. This makes it necessary to determine the exhaust gas composition either by experimental investigation or by theoretical treatment of the chemical reactions. The knowledge of the exhaust gas composition is furthermore necessary to assess contamination effects.
In Table 1 we have also listed the main exhaust gas components. Their composition in
a liquid propellant thruster cannot be considered as fixed, since it depends on various parameters, for example the firing mode (pulse or continuous), thrust level, and mixture
ratio. The thrust level is either constant or decreases in the course of the mission ('blow down mode'). The decreasing combustion pressure is accompanied by decreasing density and also temperature, ¢15)which may lead to different compositions. Continuous and pulse mode firing influences the thermal interaction between the reacting gases and their solid surroundings in different ways and may therefore also influence the reaction process. Different temperatures in the center of the combustion chamber and near the chamber wall can lead to locally different gas compositions in the plume.~xtJ Another factor determining the details of the exhaust gas composition is the time available for the chemical reactions. Due to rarefaction and temperature decrease in the flow the chemical reactions may remain incomplete causing a chemically frozen flow.
A large variety of other manoeuvres in space operation exists, in addition to the attitude
and orbit control manoeuvres of a geostationary satellite sketched above as an example to demonstrate the relation between plume impingement on one hand and thruster position and propellant selection on the other hand. Some are depicted in Fig. 8. Orbit injection and stage separation may be performed with a solid rocket thruster. For each such manoeuvre an analysis must be made for the propulsion system. Instructive examples can be found in
Refs (17) and (18). The example discussed in Fig. 7 demonstrated that plume impingement can be dimin ished by canting of the thruster axis, i.e. the impingement situation is shifted into the outer, more rarefied region of the plume with less mass flux. During rendezvous and docking, however, impingement also takes place in the core region of the plume (Fig. 8), where the mass flux is high and the possible impingement effects can become especially severe. Deceleration of the chaser is best if the thruster fires along the trajectory. This may be accepted if the distance to the target is large. During further approach this can no longer be accepted so that the thruster axis should be canted to prevent too much heat load, contamination and momentum on the target. During the last phase it is necessary to use cold gas thrusters to prevent an unacceptable heat transfer.
A particular rendezvous situation was the moon landing during the Apollo mission. The
plume of the decelerating thruster was directed towards the moon surface, where dust could be raised endangering the safe landing. ¢x9'2o) The proper choice of propellant is also important during scientific missions with (unmanned) landing operations on other planets or on comets similar to the moon landing. If material samples are to be taken they must not be contaminated by the exhaust gas or altered by the heat load from the retrorocket plume. In this section we have shown that the plume impingement problem can affect each spacecraft and mission and that in some cases it cannot be avoided but only minimized. The possible appearance of this problem which can affect reliability and lifetime of a mission necessitates in almost all projects an analysis of thruster plume flow and resulting impingement. Considerable efforts have been made first to give a proper description of the nonuniform plume flow, on which we will report in the next section. We will do this close to the chronological order to demonstrate the requirements for increasing refinements.
3. PLUME FLOW
Early plume flow determinations for impingement calculations date back about thirty years in the context of the preparation for the moon landing operation. Prior to this specific
10
G. DETTLEFF
b)
t hruster
.Axial I"
d)
T
^{o} ~T
z
c,
D
a)
~i.
199.5
%
~.
1/.10
\\ U
II/
/ plume 1
<
"~6
rt~
/. 629.6
Overlapping region
/ of plume1 and plume 2
!
plume 2
FIG. 8. ad.
(~)
(~
0.6 Newton Hydrazin¢
thrusters (ERNO) (length dimension : ram)
T
o
Plume flow and plume impingement in space technology
~8m
~(Apple)
(Cat Module)
11
~etro
rockets
f)
TARGET I
haust otot of nozzles 12)
1.ROCKET EXHAUSTFLOW
2.SURFACESHEARDISTRIBUTION
3.DUST LAYER EROSION
4.DUST CLOUD,VISIBILITY
exhuust
plume
FIG.8. Examplesof
plumeimpingementsituations.(a) Transferorbit; (b) spinup;(c) attitudecontrol;(d) orbit
control (northsouth station keeping), (adapted from Ref. (100));(e) stage separation ARIANE; (f) stage separation (adapted from Ref. (89)); (g) rendezvous and docking; (h) moon landing (adapted from Ref. (19)); (i) backpack manoeuvring (adapted from Ref. (122)).
12
G. DETTLEFF
interest of space technology, the flow field was already the subject of investigation when interacting with the external flow during rocket flight and affecting the stability/5' 212a~ First attempts to determine the plume expansion behaviour in vacuum surroundings profited from this field of activity and its results. The complete flow field with the different flow types as sketched in Fig. 2 was not of interest at that time. The specific impingement problem during the moon landing operation resulted from the interaction of the more dense exhaust flow with the dust layer of the moon surface (where rarefied flow in the offaxis region played no role). The boundary layer in the thruster nozzle was relatively thin (adjustable thrust 5,000 N30,000 N), so that the nozzle and plume flow could be determined by the well known Method of Characteristics (MOC) for inviscid flow. At that time, however, this exact method seemed to be applied only in exceptional cases for two reasons: cost of time and/or money and severe computational difficulties when reaching the high hypersonic flow.(24' 22)
Examples of the method of characteristics calculations of plumes are shown in Fig. 9. The flow properties at the mesh points are known from the calculation. For a qualitative assessment it is to be noted that increasing mesh size in the flow direction indicates expansion and decreasing mesh size indicates compression. In Fig. 9a the characteristics net of a plume expanding into vacuum is shown. The computational difficulties mentioned above arise from the too large mesh sizes with resulting uncertainties, here demonstrated in the region with large flow angles to the jet axis. With the initial conditions selected the region near the border streamline could not be calculated. In Fig. 9b the streamline pattern corresponding to Fig. 9a is drawn, and in Fig. 9c the characteristics net of the same plume expanding in low pressure surroundings is shown with the typical lateral compression shock (an explanation will be given in Section 6). These calculations have been performed with a codet26~ adopted from Vick et al. (27~ Fortunately it is possible to describe the complicated plume flow into the vacuum to a sufficiently exact degree by analytical methods. In many cases of the early impingement problems only the continuum far field was of interest. It is characterized by high Math numbers and gas velocity and therefore almost straight streamlines, which seem to originate
in the nozzle exit (Fig. 10). The identification
of such a source point is possible, when the
dimensions of the flow field are much larger than the dimensions of the nozzle exit. The
outer shape of the axisymmetric plume, produced by the border streamlines, is that of a cone (also see Fig. 1). In such a flow the density p decreases according to
p ~
1
r~
(1)
where r is the distance along the straight streamline. For fixed r the flow has a maximum density on the plume axis. The lateral density distribution is therefore described by a function f(®), which has a maximum for ® = 0 and is zero or has a minimum value for ® = ®am (border streamline), and the plume flow density distribution p(r, 0) is approx imately determined by
p(r, 0) = Brl~f(®).
(2)
This basic form of the density function for a plume has been fitted with various expressions for B and f(®). The different expressions arise from the search for the essential flow parameters, which determine these quantities. These parameters stem either from theoret ical reasoning, from experimental observation, or from fitting proeexlures with results of the method of characteristics calculation. For an inviscid flow of a pure perfect gas they can be subdivided into three groups:
The stagnation conditions: pressure po, density Po, temperature To; The gas properties: ratio of specific heats 7, the relative mass M of a molecule;
The
nozzle geometry: expansion ratio 8 = ~,~, nozzle length IE or exit angle ®E.
Plume flow and
plume impingement in space technology
13
^{a}^{)}
flow
border
streamli,
c)
b)
flow
direction
jet 
axis 

flow 
direction 
_{j}_{e}_{t} 
_{a}_{x}_{i}_{s} 
direction
\
_{x}
x
FIG. 9. (a) Characteristics net of a plume expanding into vacuum, p~ = 0. Radial source flow in the nozzle
assumed,
®E = 10.48°; 7 = 1.24. (b) Streamline pattern derived from the characteristics net in Fig. 9a. (c)
Characteristics net of the plume from Fig. 9a, here expanding into low pressure surroundings, PE/P~ = 20.
_{1}_{4}
G. DETTLEFF
/7
virtuntsourcepaint
I;m 
OXi$ 
 

nozzle 
~~ 

streomtine 
~"b~ 

voctJum 
~,.l'~. 
FIG. 10. Plume far field modelling.
Under these conditions the density p(r, O) at a fixed position (r, O) is directly proportional to Po, and the border streamline angle ®,m is approximated by the sum of the nozzle angle ®n and the deflection angle ®~o= VpM(Mab)vpu(MaE). vpMis the PrandflMeyer function and Mab, Man are the Math numbers on the border streamline and at the nozzle exit, respectively. The determination of ®]in,is approximate since the PrandtlMeyer function is derived for twodimensional flow. Sibulkin and Gallaher(24) obtained the expression
(3)
where ~b~ois a cone solid angle related to ®~o by
B = (0.4rt/~koo)
¢,= = 2n(1 cos®=).
In this simple form B is only a function of 0~o, which in turn is given by Y and 5. Roberts and South(2s) deny that the angle ®oo is a significant parameter (since at the border streamline the density is zero) and introduce a hypersonic parameter
(4)
so that their density function becomes
x,, =
~(y  1)" Ma 2
_p
PE

^{/} ^{N}
(
2 ~rE J
~
2
(cos®)"'.
The parameter x4 is interpreted as
x4 _
~(~ 
1)Ma~
u~/2
( exhaust gas kinetic energy
2
and x4 is also, as 0=,
=
a function of T and 5.
2
~
= \exhaust gas internal energy JE
Albini(29) specifies an angular Math number distribution
cos,/2(= lr
=
®
FMa( OO )
Ma(O)
'~
\20li m)
which can be transformed into an angular density function f(®):
lim,_,= L

PcL
Hill and Draper (25) derive from an imation
f(O) =
=
cos,

1
~
"
(5)
exact method of characteristics solution an approx
exp[ 
~:6(1  COS®)2]
(6)
Plume flow and plume impingement in space technology
15
where ~c6is a quantity which depends on the vacuum thrust coefficient and on the Crocco
u
number 
Ulim
Boynton(3°) finds near the leading edge of the expansion
2
P~
Po
r2(O
 Olim) "1
(7)
which is reproduced by the approximate formula
p
po ~
r_2[
~
O
cos ~ ~
2
17 1
_J
"
(8)
Boynton's(3°) and Albini's(zg) forms differ by the factor 2 in the exponent of the cosine function. The plot of these two forms in Fig. 11 shows that considerable differences of the density distribution occur for larger O. In this offaxis region the resulting differences of the density can easily reach a factor of 10. The impingement effects are roughly proportional to the mass flux p u and their determination would therefore have the same uncertainty. The validity of the expression
O
f(O) = cos ~21 (~ Ol~mim)
(9)
has been checked experimentally. The realization ofisentropic flow is best achieved in a free
2
jet expansion from a sonic orifice. In this case the function f(O)= cos~I
(~ O~im)
describes exactly the experimental profiles at various distances r (Refs (31) and (32)): This confirms the concept of straight streamlines resulting in similar profiles f(O) independent of the distance r at least in this case with a sonic orifice (in none of the expressions for f(O) presented above does r appear as a parameter). The coincidence of experimental data and the approximate form off(Q) was even suitable to confirm the ratio of specific heats 7 from a set of experimental profile data. (31) For the isentropic core expansion flow with nitrogen as test gas from an original thruster nozzle the agreement for f(O) was also good. In the considerations presented so far the nozzle boundary layer and its expansion into vacuum (Fig. 2) plays no role. The appearance of plume impingement problems in the boundary layer expansion region (example: Fig. 7) was the occasion to extend the simple isentropic treatment. The introduction of viscosity changes first of all the quality of the nozzle flow. It must now fulfil the boundary condition Ma = 0 (with p ~ 0, p ~ 0, T = T,(x) at the nozzle wall). As a consequence of the reduced Mach number at the nozzle lip the deflection angle of the border streamline becomes much larger than in a plume with a pure isentropic nozzle flow, and the complete density distribution in the boundary layer
1
101
lOZ
^{1}^{0}^{}^{3}
.1
.2
.3
.~
.5
e/e tim
.6
.?
FIG. 11. Angular dependence of density in undisturbed flow far from the nozzle exit. Adapted from Ref. (30).
16
G. DETrLEFF
10
lOt
q/qcc
lOZ
e/eeL
103
10t
lOS
e/eCL
i
.2 .t, .6 B 101.211.161829
8 {radians )
FIG. 12. Limiting (selfsimilar) angular distribution of normalized density P/PcL,dynamic pressure q/qcL and kinetic energy flux e/eeLfor a plume. The dotted line shows distribution without boundary layer. Adapted from Rd. (33).
expansion region must deviate from the functions f(®) presented above. The gas velocity in the pure isentropic flow reaches its maximum value
Ulim
~" ~1
R TO
(10)
everywhere in the far field; now in the boundary layer expansion region it is expected to be lower. Boyntont33Jpresented numerical plume flow field calculations from viscid nozzle flow. He finds selfsimilar angular distributions of the density p, dynamic pressure q = ½pu2 and kinetic energy flux e = ½pu3 in the far field (Fig. 12). The comparison with the results of the calculation from inviscid nozzle flow reveals the enormous influence of the gas viscosity on the expansion. The method itself does not allow treatment of the subsonic boundary layer which can have a considerable thickness. The Mach number at the nozzle wall is therefore assumed to be Maw ,~ 1. The boundary layer profile is joined to the computed inviscid profile at the exit. Simonst3*~ has generalized Boynton's numerical results. In addition to the parameters already ruling the inviscid case as mentioned above, he introduced the nozzle boundary layer thickness 6 and described the plume properties analytically. The starting point for his generalization is the exponential decay of the density in the boundary layer expansion region (Fig. 12), quantitatively
(11)
(where @o denotes the edge streamline of the boundary layer expansion region (Fig. 2)), whereas in the isentropic core
f(@) = f(@o)exp[ /~(@ 
@o)];
® >
@o
f(@) = cosy1
2 @,m
;
®<®o
(9)
is used as proposed by Boynton.~3°) From mass flow considerations Simons derives approximate expressions for @o and/~ and relates the streamline angle ® to the coordinate y in the boundary at the nozzle exit:
7
L1
(Y l~l/2(26~?+lln(3_~
® =
®0 .~ k~' +
l/
\rE/
2Ap
\y/
(12)
?1
Plume flow and plume impingement in space technology
17
The quantity ~ in Eq. (11) is
h
//'
q 1
~,1
~1/2 (2 t~nm~//rE ~ '+1
(14)
As average limiting velocity tllim in the
boundary layer expansion region Simons suggests
1
~Uli m ~ I~lim <~ Ulim.
(15)
AFis the socalled plume constant similar to B in Eq. (2)
P A~r*~ 2
=
,[~]
f((~)
(16)
which is calculated by mass flow considerations
Ap
U*/(2 Ulim)
rejo,,=frO) sinO dO
(17)
In the equations the boundary layer thickness appears now as the ruling quantity. No statement is made on the boundary layer details, i.e. the determination of the boundary layer profile and thickness. Simons' model has found a broad application in plume flow calculations either in its original or in modified and extended form. To apply the model the determination of the boundary layer thickness is necessary. This was done by Lengrand ~3s~whose model is also based on Boynton's results and is similar to Simons' determination of the flow field
quantities. Lengrand considers boundary layers with 6 ,~ re, following the original concept
of boundary layer theory. Later Lengrand, Allrgre and Raffin~36) improved
model by introducing a calculation for thick boundary layers (up to 6 ~ 0.2rn) which is an essential feature of small thruster nozzle flow. This introduction also leads to modified equations for the constant Ap, the angle Oo and the relation between y and O. In their
experiments to test the validity of the model they used small supersonic nozzles with different area ratios e (leading to different Ma~) and nozzle half angles Oe. The density was measured directly. Along the axis the authors found excellent agreement between experi ment and theory, confirming the validity of their determination of the constant Ap. In the transverse profiles the isentropic core function frO) (Eq. (9)) was found to fit the experi mental results at large distances from the nozzle (x/rE = 4060). Experimental access to the boundary layer expansion region was possible in the experiments of Calla and BrookJ 37) Mass flux measurements and estimates of the velocity were performed in the region O = 30°90° of plumes emanating from a 1/10 scale model of
a LMRCS engine (Lunar Module Reaction Control System). Nitrogen and simulated
propulsion products were used as test gases. The evaluation of the velocity estimates revealed an exponential decrease with increasing angle O. The main measurements of the mass flux showed dearly that neglecting viscous effects in the nozzle flow leads to a dramatic underestimation in the outer regions of the plume (by a factor 0.1 and less, compare also Fig. 12). For O > Olim, where the method of characteristics calculation delivers no mass flux, values of IO3(pU)cL were still measured (r fixed). In the comparison of the experimental data with Boynton's calculations and results from Simons' model 'qualitative agreement' and 'reasonable agreement' were found, respectively. In both cases the calculations in the region O ~ 90° gave normalized dynamic pressures
(Boynton) and densities (Simons) by a factor 2 to 3 times smaller than the experiments. This
is a considerable discrepancy which in part may be a result of the omission of the subsonic
boundary layer in the calculation. Genovese~3s)found the Simons model equations to be also suitable for a rapid estimation
of plume interaction. For the limiting velocity in the boundary layer expansion region tillm
= 0.75U.m is proposed and the boundary layer thickness is determined using the equation
Lengrand's
JPAS 28:1~
18
G. DE'VrLEFF
for a flat plate.~39)
1
Now hydrazine monopropellant thrusters are considered and a further problem in the theoretical treatment of thruster plumes is faced, namely the determination of the exhaust gas properties viscosity # and ratio of specific heats V. Monopropellant hydrazine is decomposed according to the chemical reactiont4°~
3N2H 4 ~
4NH 3 .
4NH a +
2N 2 +
N 2 +
6H 2 
80.15 kcal
44 kcal.
Depending on the dissociation degree of NH3, the stagnation temperature, the gas composition and thereby the viscosity p(To) and the ratio of specific heats ~,(To)are fixed. Genoveset3a~ assumes V= 1.26 which corresponds to a dissociation degree of 50% and a mean relative molecule mass M  13.7. Since y is the essential gas property determining the expansion behaviour this quantity should be known as exactly as possible. Dettleff et alY~1~have determined V= 1.37 for the plume gas, a value, which has also been calculated by KewleyYTM The difference of about 8% between this result and Genovese's value, ~ = 1.26, leads to unacceptably different results. The resulting plume flows are completely different (compare the influence of ~ later in Fig. 15). The values ofy reported here are assumed to be constant throughout the flow, i.e. the gas is considered to be perfect. As a last example of adoption and extension of Simons' model we present the work of Boettcher and Legge.t4345~ They use the Eqs (917) of Simons and approximate the boundary layer thickness by
6E = 6.25~~er •
(19)
A quantitative measure of the viscosity effects in the nozzle flow is the Reynolds number
Reg
ReE =  PruElr
/xo
(20)
where Ie is the nozzle length, PE, u~ the density and velocity respectively, at the nozzle exit (calculated for pure isentropic flow) and/~o is the viscosity of the gas at the stagnation temperature To. Boundary layer thickness c~and Ree are related to each other according to boundary layer theory(39) by

(21)
1
6 ~
The usefulness of Eqs (9)(17) for engineering purposes has in part been shown by experiments. Evaluating Pitot pressure measurements Dettlefftal~ and Legge et al.t46~have determined indirectly the density along the plume axis and thereby the plume constant as proposed by Simons. Using two nozzles from original monopropellant hydrazine thrusters (ERNO 0.5 N and 2 N, Fig. 6) with different geometrical forms, nitrogen was selected as the test gas. In the experiments the Reynolds number Re~ was varied as the parameter. The Pitot pressure profiles from which the plume constants were derived are depicted in Fig. 13. In hypersonic flow, Pt2 '~ P, and therefore the density along the plume axis exhibits qualitatively the same profile as the Pitot pressure. The completely different shapes for the
two nozzles in the region x < 30 mm will be discussed in Section 4. Further, three test gases were selected to study the influence of the ratio of specific heats on the plume constant (CF 4, 7 = 1.17; N2, )~  1.4; Ar, ~ = 1.67). The parabola shaped curves Ap(~) (Fig. 14) demonstrate the importance of y when determining the plume expansion behaviour. This can also be found in a theoretical parameter study performed by
Boettcher
and Legge.t43~ A result of this work is shown in Fig. 15.
Plume flow and plume impingement in space technology
19
a)
I0"i
'
7s
102 
'~. 
"~ 
I~I¢7 
:1 
103 
~. 
Pt=
po ,or,
'
''
2 )0q356F%0
8 borll~2~01
'~~°~1
"%
%
10!
X
i
30
b) ,o_,l
~
i
~8
116~
10";
mm
10./.,8°
8"53
Pt2
Po
10:
10t
lOS
PQ
ReEN
2bar 5600[
x 8bar 12~0 I
I
"
,6 bor i,,8001
X
30
mm
I
300
q
300
FIG. 13. (a) Axial Pitot pressure profiles. Nozzle ERNO 0.5 N (Fig. 6a), test gas N2, To = 300 K, parameter po. Adapted from Ref. (123). (b) Axial Pitot pressure profiles. Nozzle ERNO 2 N (Fig. 6b), test gas Nz, To = 300 K, parameter po. Adapted from Ref. (123).
The extensions of Simons' model, introduced by Boettcher and Legge, concern in the first place the complete description of the thermal state of the gas in the boundary layer expansion region. For this purpose the concept of effective stagnation conditions is introduced. Although the flow in the nozzle boundary layer is strongly influenced by viscosity, it is assumed that the free expansion beyond the nozzle exit is isentropic. Nevertheless, as the experiments of Calia and Brook(aT)indicate, the gas does not reach the
limiting velocity u~im =/2~
y?i
~
RTo (Eq. (10)). Instead, a smaller velocity ulim((9)is reached:
U,m((9) ~ exp(  O)
O1"
Ulim(O ) = Ulim,CL exp(  Cu(®  (90)).
(22)
20
G. DETTLEFF
Ap
13
1o
5
ERNO 0.5 N
j"
I 
I 
I 
I 

1.0 
1.14 
1.4 
1.67 

y 
~ 
FIG. 14. Plume constant Ap as a function of 7. Three different test gases CF4 (7 = 1.17); N2, (7 = 1.4);Ar, (y = 1.67);
P
p"~
To = 800
10"
\
10":
10~
0°
K, Re r = 3600. Adapted from Ref. (41).
',
"<
y=167
;i;=
_{6}
,=1,7
,~ '~ 
"' 

~ 
• 

~, 
\ 
,. 
""., 

~, 
\ 
" 

~, 
"~ 

\~, 
"~ 
\ 
~""" 
"""'" 

,'oo 
8'0o 
1~oo 

0 
160 °
FIG. 15. Angular far field density distribution. Conical nozzle, e = 25, OE = 10°. Parameter: ratio of specific heats ~. Adapted from Ref. (43).
According
defined
to the form of Eq. (10) an effective stagnation
temperature
u
,(O)
= ~/2_~ 1 R To.e:: (O)
which can be found by combining
Eqs
(10), (23) and
Unra(O) "]2 =
Unm,cL ]
T°'eH
To
=
exp(
(22)
2cu(O
(Idli m
=
Ulim,
 Oo)).
CL)."
To, e:: (®)
is
to
be
(23)
(24)
In a similar way effective stagnation pressure and density are introduced, allowing the calculation of not only the density in the boundary layer expansion region but also the static pressure, temperature and Mach number. This can be of advantage in certain plume impingement situations, when the knowledge of density and velocity alone is not sufficient. As an example of the application of this model isoMach lines in a plume flow have been determined (Fig. 16).
Plume flow and plume impingement in space technology
21
.2(:
.15
"E .10
.05 

35 

.0 
0 
z,, 
L 
.10 
.20 
30 
.40 
.50 

nozzle 
x(rn) 

(not scaled) 

FIG. 16. Contours of Mach 
number 
and 
freezing surface P = 2, calculated with 
the 
model 
of Ref. (44). 
ERNO 0.5 N hydrazine thruster.
The second extension of Simons' model introduced by Boettcher and Legge concerns rarefaction effects. The plume flow can only be considered as isentropic as long as the perfect gas is assumed to be in thermal equilibrium despite the rapid changes which it
undergoes. This is achieved by a sufficient number of intermolecular collisions. The flow in
1
a plume has diverging streamlines with p ~ ~. Since the collision frequency v ~ p, v also
1
(assuming constant, collision crosssection). At a certain
distance r, a density decay Ap along a streamline will therefore no longer be accompanied by a decay AT of the temperature corresponding to the adiabatic equation of state, since the number of intermolecular collisions is not sufficient. The onset of this rarefaction effect in the expanding plume flow is commonly described by Bird'sc47) breakdown parameter
decreases according to v ~~
1 d(lnp)
P
=
v
~
(25)
which for onedimensional steady flow (as in simple plume flow models) takes the form
Sincep~
,
r3,V
P
=u
pv
dp
dr
"
~andu~const,
P~r.
(26)
This relation shows that increasing rarefaction is indicated by increasing P. As onset of non equilibrium effects Bird(47'4s) found in his example calculations with the Direct Simulation Monte Carlo method (DSMC)
(27)
A result of the calculations is shown in Fig. 17. The deviation from isentropic flow occurs
gradually. The curve for Tx seems to approach a horizontal line (constant value for Tx) while Tn continues to decrease even faster than in continuum (in this case). As a result of the approach to a constant value the temperature T~ is said to become frozen.
An earlier proposal has been a sudden freezing instead of a gradual process. It means that the transition from continuum to free molecule flow occurs discontinuously at a certain location on the streamlines. This concept of a freezing surface is nowadays used in plume modelling to avoid the difficult description of the details of the transition. The location is placed within the transition region with P > 0.05. Boettcher and Legge(*'° have defined P = 2 as the freezing surface in their model. The contour with this value is also shown in Fig. 16.
PI "~ 0.05.
22
G. DETTLEFF
0.2
0,1
0.05
% T 0.02
0,01
0.005
0.002
I
2
I
0
.
°
I
S
°0o
•
.
Tn/T°
,
•
I
10
r/r"
~~~inuum
I
20
•
%\
.~7
SO
FIG. 17. Breakdown of translational equilibrium in the spherical expansion of a hard sphere gas. Kno = 2Jr*  0.002. T~ and 7",: parallel and normal components of the kinetic temperature, resp. Adapted from Ref. (47).
So far we have emphasized the temperature T as a quantity which is affected by rarefaction effects and deviates from equilibrium behaviour. It is obvious that quantities
which depend on T as for example the Mach number Ma
are affected too
u
c
u
,/y
leading to Max
~,
~
U
U
which becomes frozen and Ma, ~ ~/T, which according to Fig. 17
will continue to increase. Another quantity affected by rarefaction is the ratio of specific heats ? of the gas. In liquid propellant thrusters the combustion temperature is above 1000 K and this means that the vibrational degrees of freedom of the molecules are also excited. In the expansion flow the temperature decreases and the internal energy is transferred to kinetic energy of the flow by intermolecular collisions with a corresponding increase of ?. If the number of collisions is not sufficient to allow y to adjust to the temperature T, thermal equilibrium is not maintained. This lag in energy exchange is called vibrational relaxation. The rate of energy exchange depends strongly on the gas species: for example, the characteristic collision number to regain equilibrium between translational and rotational energy modes is about 60 times larger for hydrogen than for nitrogen (Tang and Fenn(49)). There are two consequences for the gas flow: Firstly it is possible that the maximum velocity Ulimis not reached, since the kinetic energy potential remains stored in the internal energy modes (and is not transferred into bulk motion of the gas). Secondly the gas behaves as if the ratio of specific heats y is effectively larger than if the gas would exhibit no relaxation. The consideration of rarefaction effects and its description by the concept of the freezing surface offers the possibility for a refined treatment of mass flux distribution. In the model descriptions presented before all flow came along apparently straight streamlines from the source at the nozzle. This is still true for the main mass flow in the free molecule flow region, but now additional contributions can come from the whole freezing surface (see Fig. 18). The subdivision of the flow into a continuum and a free molecule region includes also the assumption that no intermolecular collisions at all occur in the latter. Last collisions take place at the freezing surface and then the molecules are released downstream according to the Maxwellian velocity distribution at rs (Fig. 18).Therefore the principle of cone of sight is
Plumeflowand plumeimpingementin spacetechnology
23
Oo
cone of sight
streamlines
2~~
\
freezing
surface
t
FIG.18. Freezingsurfaceand conesof sightat two differentlocationsO1, 02; 02 in the backflowregion.
applied. It means that at a certain location O in the flow molecules arrive from all points of the freezing surface, which can be seen from this point O. A further consequence of plume rarefaction is mass separation, which can be of particular importance with respect to contamination effects. Disregarding for the time being the simplifying freezing surface concept with a collisionless free molecule regime, the increasingly rarefied expansion flow is characterized by increasing mean free paths, 2. The main flow direction is still radial, but deflections occur due to intermolecular collisions. Larger deflections are possible for light molecules, while heavier ones tend to maintain their flow direction. Since there is a density gradient perpendicular to the streamlines with a density maximum on the axis heavy molecules will tend to remain in the near axis region, while lighter species with its larger mean free path will be shifted into the outer region. This species separation effect has been investigated recently by Allen et al. (5°) in a free jet expansion with various gas mixtures. Rarefaction of the plume does not only occur downstream of the isentropic core far away from the nozzle where the streamlines are practically straight. In the offaxis region these thermal nonequilibrium phenomena can already appear in the plume near field relatively close to the nozzle, where the application of continuum methods (MOC for example) would still predict curved streamlines. Naumann (s 1) has investigated experimentally the streamline pattern in this region and has in fact found a 'freezing' ( = ceasing) of flow deflection. Its onset could be shown to coincide with Bird's parameter P ~ 0.06 (compare Eqs (25)(27)). The exact method of characteristics can be used in continuum flow with thermal equilibrium, but its validity fails when rarefaction effects appear. The same holds for the model equations, which are based on continuum principles. Efforts to take into account rarefaction effects would complicate the desired simplicity. A certain compromise is the freezing surface concept. The only numerical method by which the flow downstream of the continuum region can be calculated is the DSMC method. Boyd(Sz)has performed a detailed comparison of MOC, DSMC, and Simons' model with experimental data from Pitot pressure measurements in the plume of the ERNO 0.5 N thruster. As expected, the MOC results were throughout closer to the experimental data than the results of the model calculation. The comparison of MOC and DSMCresults in the transition flow regime then dearly revealed the error inherent in the application of MOC in this regime, where the assumption of thermal equilibrium is not valid. While the flow velocity differences are negligible, density and temperature differ considerably at the free molecule flow locus in the region investigated in this study (near axis region, ® < 24°). MOC underestimates the density about 1520% in this case. Following 1960, the isentropic continuum flow was initially of interest. Then considera tion was extended to the nozzle boundary layer and its continuum expansion and finally to rarefaction effects. In recent years the back flow region of the plume has attracted considerable attention. In this highly rarefied flow regime with flow angles ® > 90° plume impingement can hardly be avoided, since canting of the plume axis as explained in Fig. 7 is not appropriate. Moreover forces or heat load are not the most serious impingement effects in this region with highly rarefied flow but rather gas deposition. Scientific satellites like the
24
G. DETTLEFF
Infrared Spectroscopy Observatorium (ISO) are equipped with cryogenically cooled instru ments exposed to space. Gas deposition in the order of some molecule layers can readily impair the quality of the experimental equipment. The source of the back flow is the boundary layer flow at the nozzle exit. Contributions can also be expected from the freezing surface in the plume (see Fig. 18). An important step in understanding the onset of the boundary layer expansion at the nozzle lip has been contributed by Bird. (4s'53) Using the numerical DSMC method it was shown that the contour Ma = 1 in the nozzle flow ends at the nozzle lip, if the plume is underexpanded. Thus the flow conditions in the exit plane are completely supersonic. According to boundary layer theory Maw = 0 would be expected along the whole nozzle wall; Maw > 0 in the vicinity of the exit is an indication of rarefied flow features (slip flow~3)).Since the back flow is rarefied and since its source at the nozzle exit with its very rapid transition from continuum to free molecule flow can only be treated correctly by the DSMC method, this numerical technique has been used almost exclusively in recent years. Hueser et al.~54)have treated the case of an upper stage solid rocket motor at a height of about 280 km to investigate the flow angle contours and effects of species separation in the back flow. The exhaust gas components are light like H2, medium like N z, and heavy like COz. Light molecules are found in larger abundance at large angles, while heavier molecules are represented less than in the nozzle flow. This effect has also been reported by
Bird.(4s)
Another investigation with the DSMC method has been performed by Campbell.~55)In this study a tube instead of a nozzle is considered. The geometry (square lip edge and knife edge lip) and the gas density and temperature are used as parameters and their influence on the mass flux in the back flow region is investigated systematically. The two different lip shapes result in considerably different mass fluxes by a factor of about 2. Increased stagnation temperature also leads to a substantial increase of mass flux, while increased density in the boundary layer results in decreased mass flux into the back flow region for thin lips. For thick lips the mass flux is almost unaffected by density variations in the boundary layer according to this study. Bayleyts6) has investigated the back flow experimentally and reports on measurements of the flow angle. The nozzle lip peculiarities with a local flow angle in the exit plane larger
than ®E (Bird~4s' 53)) thus find the first
the background gas density influences the expansion flow behaviour in this region very strongly. Recently Boyd~s2) has performed a further numerical study (DSMC) to assess the influence of several basic assumptions. The influence of boundary layer profile variation on the degree of back flow is investigated systematically for the ERNO 0.5 N thruster. As a strong parameter the gas temperature at the nozzle wall is traced: the higher the temper ature, the greater the mass flow around the lip. Again a large degree of species separation for this thruster is found (main exhaust constituents: Hz, N2, NH3). With reference to Bailey'sIs6) experimental study of flow angles, Boyd finds that it is insensitive to his basic
assumptions. Finally we wish to mention condensation, an effect associated with the expansion (but not rarefaction) in the plume. The continuous decrease of the temperature in the expanding flow can lead the gas to the phase change border, appropriately represented in a vapourpressure diagram (Fig. 19). Condensation is possible since the isentropes of the main exhaust gas constituents have a smaller slope than their vapourpressure curves. Note that while relaxation is related to the rate of change in the flow, condensation is associated with the thermal state of the gas achieved in the flow. The extent of mass fraction transferred to the liquid or solid phase depends of course on the degree of rarefaction, since droplet growth is a function of the collision rate. The formation of the liquid phase in the flow is associated with an energy transfer to the gas phase (latent heat is released), which in turn increases the gas temperature and influences the flow Mach number. Thus the formation of dusters or liquid droplets (or solid
experimental support. In addition it is found that
Plume flow and plume impingement in space technology
,0°I
10 ~
o:tripte point
/
T300K
/,
/
1000K
\
25
Pv 10 e 
/ 

10"I2 
' 

100 
10~ 
10 2 
K 
103 

T 
FIG. 19. Vapour pressure of thruster exhaust gas components and isentropes for ? =
1.4 (perfect gas).
particles) basically changes the type of flow. Instead of a single gas phase a twophase flow (gas/droplets or gas/particles) needs to be considered. In Fig. 19 an isentrope is drawn through po = 10 bar, T O = 1000 K for 7 = 1.4, which is
a typical stagnation condition for hydrazine monopropellant thrusters with its main constituents H 2 and N 2. The intersections with the vapourpressure curves are at T ~ 30 K for N 2 and T ~ 5 K for H 2. For N 2 a temperature ratio T/To = 30 K/1000 K 0.03 corresponds to a Mach number Ma ~ 12, which for the ERNO 0.5 N thruster plume is achieved at r = 0.034 m on the axis. This estimation means that beyond this distance to the
nozzle exit, condensation of N 2 is possible as far as the thermal state is concerned (if the gas
is already too rarefied, droplets will hardly be formed).
Liquid droplets in plume flow are not only a result of a condensation process in the expanding gas but are sometimes unburned propellant. Their existence and distribution in the plume must be treated in a different way than the droplets considered above. Here we have reached the limit of the scope of this paper, because this problem includes not only the consideration of twophase flow (fluid mechanics), but also the combustion process (chemical reactions). Nevertheless we note that extensive work has been performed in this area, in part connected with a computer code called CONTAM. The computation includes the treatment of combustion chamber processes with a prediction of the engine performance and the timedependent formation of gaseous and liquid combustion products. It includes the consideration of twophase flow and contaminant deposition on surfaces,t57~Extensive laboratory work has been performed to obtain experimental validation of the predicted results (Refs (57) and (58) with additional references). The complete flow field to be considered in plume impingement problems consists not only of the free expanding plume, but comprises also the nozzle flow. This already became clear when introducing the boundary layer expansion region and particularly the back flow. Some more details of this part of the flow will be considered in the next section.
4. NOZZLE FLOW AND PLUME NEAR FIELD
Considering the linear dimensions of a plume relevant to impingement, the nozzle flow typically occupies only less than 1%. As an example consider the plume in Fig. 1, where the length of the thruster nozzle is about 1 cm. Only along this comparatively small length is the expansion of the gas guided and influenced by viscosity.
26
G. DETTLEFF
y/d*
m
8ooo
4~oo
I0O0
#
l~l##
Io##
O

0
o
I 
I 
I 
I. 
I 

Free 
jet I 
from 
I 
sonic orifice, 
d =0.6ram 
Nz,Po=2 bar, To= 300 K
0=
.,~
60"
7
~
¢0°
,/
,~
J
20o
/streamlines
Iooo
~
~
x/d ~
4ooo
P(ume:from
(=62
iozzle
eE=15 f °
'
d~=06mm I ]
IN2.po=2bar,To=300K
I
x/d
N
1o
/
~
8OOO
.•20" I
str'eamtines
FIG. 20. Contours of constant density in free jet (above) and plume (below). Identical stagnation conditions, identical diameters of sonic orifice and nozzle throat, ~, = 1.4.
The considerable effect of the guided expansion in the nozzle prior to the free expansion into vaccum can easily be demonstrated by comparing such a plume with a free jet from a sonic orifice (Fig. 20). Lines of constant density have been determined for both flow fields. The contours for the plume lie close to the axis, while those for the free jet resemble circles, indicating a more lateral spreading. This is also demonstrated by the comparison of the mass flow distributions in Fig. 21. The plume near axis region with ® _< 30 ° contains more than 90% of the total mass flow rotor,but the corresponding region in the free jet contains just 35%.
O"
10"
,~(o)
FIG. 21. Mass flow distribution 
TfJtot
30"
60"
0
90"
as a function of O for free jet and plume jn Fig. 20.
Plume flow and plume impingement in space technology
27
The effect of viscosity was clearly demonstrated in Fig. 12 by comparing plumes emanating from nozzles with inviscid and with viscid flow. Regarding the relevance of nozzle flow with respect to the plume flow demonstrated in Figs 20 and 12 it is worthwhile looking at the details of the source of the plume which, with increasing requirements for a refined flow and impingement description, will receive increasing importance. The main task of the nozzle is to produce thrust, F. A minimum thrust F* is obtained by
FF*
the flow through a simple orifice (sonic conditions), and the ratio ~ is defined as thrust
gain. It is the intention of the nozzle designer to make the thrust gain as large as possible, which can be achieved by fulfilling three requirements: (a) the flow at the nozzle exit is uniform, (b) the velocity at the exit is close to U~im,and (c) the boundary layer is thin. In principle a nozzle with a uniform high velocity flow at the exit is achievable. However, the length IE of such a nozzle would be considerable, and since the nozzle weight is proportional to l~, and ~ ~ x/~E, in practice a good gain must be achieved with a limited length lE. Under this restriction the selection of the area ratio ~ and of the nozzle shape becomes important. The conical nozzle has the simplest shape (Fig. 6). A few percent additional thrust gain can be achieved with a contoured nozzle (Conway and Celmins(59)) and for a highly viscous flow with a trumpet shaped nozzle (Kallis et al.(6°)). The different shapes result in different flows, demonstrated for the conical and the contoured nozzle in Fig. 22. In both cases compression waves are observed, though at a first glance the nozzle shape would lead one to expect only gas expansion (Fig. 22a and 22b). The contoured nozzle shape reduces the flow divergence angle near the nozzle wall (Fig. 22d) accompanied by a recompression of the gas (Fig. 22f). The profile obtained with the method of characteristics shows qualitative agreement with the experimental Pitot pressure profile for the contoured nozzle (Fig. 22f) except in the vicinity of the wall (boundary layer). In the case of the conical nozzle there is not even qualitative agreement. The reason is that viscosity plays a dominant role in this nozzle flow as is demonstrated by the experimental profiles in Fig. 22c where the Reynolds number is varied. The range of Re E corresponds to the real thruster. In Fig. 23 it is demonstrated how the initial spreading of the plume is affected by such a variation. Two streamlines passing
^{a}^{)}
.nozzle 
axis 

shock 
/ 
' 
'~" "~" 
'~ 
~~'~ ~~ 
' ~ 
FIG. 22. (Contd.)
28
G.
DETTLEFF
through the points y/rE = 0.42 and 0.63 of the nozzle exit have been obtained for two different values of Ree. The initial spreading is much more pronounced for the larger value
of Re E.
The strong viscosity influence is an inherent feature of nozzle flow in small thrusters as used in space technology. Different expressions exist for the Reynolds number:
peur, lE
ReE = 
#o
(nozzle exit conditions are taken into account);
Re* =
p*u*d*
#o
(expresses Re in terms of throat conditions);
c)
16
14
12
10'
8"
6"
4.
FIG. 22 (Contd.)
2
3
rE
rE
'
(18)
(28)
Plume flow and plume impingement in space technology
29
0
oo5 t
o.ot. 

0.03 
," 
'? 
Yy 
~+ ÷~ 
. 
Yv, 

) 
 
: 
v 

PI2 
. 

Po 0.02 
: 
J 
o 
I 
E 

 : 
• 
0.5 
bo~ 
890 
 

I :J' 
I' 
I 1.0bor11780 ^{x} 
0.01
0 
I 
I 

2.37 
2 
1 
0 
1 

y 

f) 
0.75 
I 

0.50 

IIV.T" 

Pt 2 

^{P}^{o} 0.25 j 

J 

I 
I 
I 
I 
I 
I 

4 
 2 
0 
2 

y 
mm
I
2
2,37
/
/I
)
I
=
/, rnm
FIG. 22. Nozzle flow study with conical and contoured nozzle (s¢~ Fig. 6a and 6b); test gas N2. (a) and (b) Characteristics net; (c) and (d) Flow angle in nozzle exit plane (coordinate y) derived from characteristics net; (e) and (f) Pitot prt~surc profilos in nozzle exit plane. Experimental results from Ref. (123). MOC calculations from Ref. (124). NavierStokes calculations by Bcrnd Miiller and Klaus Hannemann, DLR, Institute for Theoretical Fluid Mechanics, G6ttingen.
Reo = 
Po Ulm r~
#o
(29)
(expresses Re in terms of stagnation condition). The boundary layer is laminar for F < 40 N
and turbulent
for F > 400 N (Boynton(3a)).
Values for the viscosity coefficient # must be taken from the literature (for example (61' 62)).
The temporature variation is expressed by
#(T) =
#(T,,:)
(30)
30
G. DETTLEFF
Po=O.Sbar 
10 

(ReE= 890 ) 
YE 

rE 

0,63" 

0.42 

I 

0 

I 

0.42 

5 

Po= 8.0 bar 
"~ 

(ReE=14240) 
"~ 
0.63 
y(mm)
i 
i 
i 
/ 
10 

0 
1 
5 
10 
15 
X (mr'n)
FIG. 23. Streamline detection in a plume near field. Nozzle ERNO 0.5 N (Fig. 6a), test gas N2, yE/rEdenotes the nozzle exit coordinate of the streamlines. Adapted from Ref. (125).
where the suffix refdenotes known reference values of T and #, and co = 0.75. (44) Boettcher and Legge(44) use the formula
(31)
5 ~
# = ~zrRT~
m
where m is the molecular weight and f~ is the collision crosssection. For mixtures of such gases a somewhat more complicated equation is available (the nonconstant composition of the exhaust gases, depending on the firing mode, requires such formulae). The application of refined models makes it necessary to determine the boundary layer thickness 6. This can be done either by calculations based on the NavierStokes equations or by evaluating measurements like those shown in Fig. 22c and 22f. Down to Reynolds numbers Rer of about 1000 the subdivision of the nozzle flow into the isentropic core and
1
boundary layer is justified and 5r ,~. R/_k_~p(Tw = To), but below Rer = 1000 deviations
occur from this simple picture. The boundary layer profile is very difficult to measure. With a very thin probe at least the Pitot pressure can be measured in small original thruster nozzles (Fig. 22c and 22f).
The determination of wall (static) pressure, density or velocity makes it necessary to increase the scale of the nozzle. Wall pressure combined with PitOt pressure measurements in the
the
Mach number profile. A linear relation Ma(y) is found (To = Tw),but as is pointed out, such linearity is not the general behaviour, and in fact in the investigation of Whitfield(63) the
profile is far
Whitfield has thoroughly investigated the influence of the temperature T~ on the boundary layer profile. It acts very sensitively on the displacement thickness and likewise on the static temperature, enthalpy and velocity. The wall temperature Tw is not explicitly mentioned in the models presented in Section 3. The interaction between nozzle flow and wall also means an energy transfer, which among other things, determines Tw. The heat flux ~ is a maximum at the throat and decreases to considerably lower values ( < 10% with respect to this maximum) a few throat diameters further downstream (as an example, see Ref. (64)). If the thruster is not fired the wall is cold since the nozzle is exposed to space (though often protected with a radiation shield). In the continuous firing mode the nozzle will be heated up until a steady temperature distribution is reached. In the pulse mode firing the wall temperature will remain at a generally lower temperature level depending on the pulse characteristics. The variation of Tw during the different firing modes combined with the strong dependence of the boundary layer profile and thickness on Tw leads one to expect a
from linear for a reduced wall temperature Tw/To= 0.33 (To = 300 K).
boundary layer at the nozzle exit have been performed by Naumann (51) to determine
Plume flow and plume imPingement in space technology
31
broad variation of flow field properties in the offaxis region including back flow.
A study of viscous supersonic nozzle flow with variation of the wall temperature has
recently been performed by Chang et al.,t6s) using the thin layer NavierStokes equations.
A very detailed experimental study of nozzle flow has been performed by Rothe.t66~Using
electron beam techniques he determined density and rotational temperature in the nozzle. The Reynolds number range was Reo = 1001500. He found that the axial temperature distribution is monotonically decreasing as expected for Re° > 500. However for Re° < 300 the temperature has a minimum downstream of the throat, i.e. there is an increase in temperature towards the exit indicating a thermalization of supersonic flow energy. For Reo ~ 100 a viscous shockfree transition to subsonic flow towards the exit takes place. This means that a supersonic bubble exists in the nozzle flow. The transition is shock free, since the density could be shown to decrease all along the nozzle axis. Another feature of the viscous flow with Reo < 300 is the almost similar normalized radial density profiles P(Y/Yw) for different axis positions x, while they are dissimilar for Re° > 500. Viscosity plays not only a role in the supersonic part of the nozzle but also in the throat. The mass flow through the nozzle is expressed by
with
r*2~
rhid = Po~ x/ RTo
r(y) =
3'
~+1
,
(32)
(33)
if a uniform inviscid flow with velocity u* at the throat can be assumed. At low Reynolds numbers a significant boundary layer thickness 6 compared to r* exists at the throat. Then r*  6 = r*sl must be taken instead of r* when describing the mass flow which, reduced by viscosity, is expressed by the discharge coefficient
co = mid"
(34)
This is important for quantities which are related to or normalized by po, since the relation mid ~ Po (Eq. (32)) no longer holds.
A systematic determination of the discharge coefficient has been performed by Tang and
Fenn, ¢49)validating a theoretical expression given by the first of the authors. For Re < 700
for example, cD< 0.9 for nitrogen, where
1
Re
=
#.
\
rt /
.
A thruster type operating at such very low Reynolds numbers is the biowaste resistojet,
which is a potential candidate for attitude control on manned space stations using biowaste products like H20, CO2, CH4. A comprehensive study of such thrusters with F < 0.1 N has been performed by Kallis et al.~6°)The specific impulse I,p, in Section 2 introduced as one of the essential thruster data, is about 10% less than in inviscid flow. In the experiments a trumpet shaped nozzle (see Fig. 6) was used, since for highly viscous flow the thrust gain due to increased area ratio overcompensates the thrust loss due to increased divergence of the flow. The values of Re* were below 4000. The existence of shocks in the nozzle flow has been found in MOC calculations (Migdal and Landis,t67)Darwell and Badhamt6S)), and has then been shown experimentally (Migdal and Kosgon,(69) Back and Cuffel~7°)). Examples of such shocks are shown in Fig. 22a and 22b. They are a result of the overexpansion behind the throat followed by a recompression at the conical or contoured part of the nozzle wall (note that this phenomenon is not observed in twodimensional flow). Shocks are not considered in the simple models, but as is demonstrated in Fig. 22 and Fig. 13 these shocks are not only dominant in the flow pattern of the nozzle but also of the
32
G. DETTLEFF
plume. Pitot pressure profiles, measured perpendicular to the plume axis in the near field, are shown in Fig. 24. A shock pattern in the xy plane is depicted in Fig. 25. The intersection of the axisymmetric shock system with the plume axis (location xs) corresponds to the pressure peak in Fig. 13b. In Fig. 26 it is demonstrated how viscosity (parameter ReE) influences the shock pattern for ReE < 4800 (in Fig. 13b it is Re~ > 3200 and the shock position on the plume axis is hardly influenced by viscosity). Instructive Schlieren photographs of the shocks which continue beyond the nozzle exit into the plume near field are shown by Stilt.(2°) The thrusters considered here are fired in hard vacuum surroundings. Effects caused by external gas or flow around the nozzle like separation are not present. However, the vacuum leads to an effect not observed in thrusters fired in the atmosphere and known under the term nozzle lip problem. Bird(53)showed by means of calculations with the DSMC method that the contours with Ma = 1 end at the nozzle lip, so that the boundary layer at the nozzle exit is completely supersonic. This feature of the nozzle flow is a result of the boundary condition Pk = 0. The resulting pressure gradient at the nozzle lip leads to an acceleration of the gas associated with a streamline angle (with respect to the nozzle axis) larger than the nozzle exit angle. Though the expansion in the nozzle is guided (prior to the free expansion into vacuum) it can be rapid enough to cause relaxation effects which influence the ratio of specific heats of
~
10.L,8"
0.075 .~S~S.53
÷
0.05 ~,
* 0 (nozzle exit)
n3
+ x6
Pt2
Po
0.025
+
®
**
×
%
%
:
+
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
Y
1
mm
FIG. 24. Transverse Pitot pressure profiles Pt2/Po  f(Y). Nozzle ERNO 2 N (Fig. 6b), test gas N2, To = 290 K, po = 1 bar. Adapted from Ref. (123).
mm
10
~0
~o~
o~
•/0
"
FIG. 25. Shock structure in the plume of the ERNO 2 N thruster. Adapted from Ref. (126).
Plume flow and plume impingement in space technology
33
10.2
Pt j_Z
PO
I0 "3
I 
I 
j 
I 
I 
I 

~ 
10z.8," 

x 
J 

nozzle exit \. 
+++ 
[ / 
%1 

",. 
.? 
~1~ 

) 
"%j 
.J" 
%I 

Po[bor] ReE 
~, 
~ 

x 
0.08 
n5 

° 
0.2 
560 

+ 
1.0 
2800 

° 
3.0 
8~00 

I 
I 
I 
I 
1 
I 

2 
3 
5 
10 
20 
mm 
50 

X 
~ 
F]o. 26. Axial Pitot pressure profiles Pt2/Po = f(x) in the plume near field. Nozzle ERNO 2 N (Fig. 6b), test gas N2, To = 290 K, parameter po. Adapted from Ref. (123).
the gas expanding downstream into vacuum. Also condensation as a result of expansion is possible in the nozzle flow (these two effects and their influence on the flow have been discussed in Section 3). Summarizing, we can therefore state that the thrust gainproducing nozzle flow on close inspection exhibits a variety of phenomena which can be relevant for the plume flow description in the context of plume impingement. We will see in the following chapter that in continuum and transition flow impingement effects can only be determined with a relatively high degree of uncertainty even if the undisturbed plume flow is known exactly. On the other hand, in the free molecule flow the methods to determine the impingement effects are refined and exact but major uncertainties can arise from the lack of exact flow
field determination. In such cases efforts to improve the flow prediction necessarily include
a refined treatment of nozzle flow.
5. PLUME IMPINGEMENT
5.1. IMPINGING PLUME FLOW CHARACTERISTICS
In aerodynamics the flow is usually uniform and the body is totally immersed in this flow. In contrast, with plume impingement the flow is not uniform and very often the total surface
is not impinged.
In Section 3 we have seen that there are steep gradients especially of the density along and perpendicular to the streamlines. The flow types range from continuum to highly rarefied flow resulting in different types of interaction with solid surfaces (Fig. 3). In continuum flow impingement a shock is established in front of the impinged surface (surface shock) and a boundary layer is formed, i.e. compression and viscosity come into play. In free molecule flow impingement, the incoming molecules reach the surface un disturbed. Their interaction with the wall consists of an exchange of momentum and energy and reflection or sticking, commonly denoted as gassurface interaction. The distinction between the impingement flow types is characterised by the Knudsen number
(36)
=
Kn
/,ef
JPAS 28:1C
34
G. DETTLEFF
where 2 is the mean free path of the molecules and l,ef is a reference length. This can be a typical length of the impinged body or the distance to the nozzle. For Kn ~ 1 the flow impingement is free molecular, for Kn ~ 1 it is continuum. For Kn ~ 1 we have transition flow impingement. It is, however, not the same as the rarefaction phenomena, termed flow transition and described in Section 3. For Kn ~ 1 ( > 10) there is practically no interaction between the incoming and reflected molecules. If Kn is decreased below 10, collisions occur and thus the incoming flow experiences small disturbances (Fig. 27). With further decreased Knudsen number the disturbance becomes stronger, the features of compression of the gas in front of the body appear and finally, for Kn ~ 1, a surface shock and boundary layer exist. Some illustrative examples of flowsurface interaction with varying Knudsen number are given in Ref. (71). In aerodynamics similarity rules are often applied. The forces for example are expressed in dimensionless form as drag or lift coefficients dependent on dimensionless flow para meters, mainly Mach number and Reynolds number. This similarity procedure is hardly applicable to plume impingement problems. The reason is the nonuniformity of the flow, which by its nature, cannot be characterized by one Mach number a~d one Reynolds number. These can only be specified locally. Another problem is the determination of the flow at the surface, which is necessary to understand the details of the interaction with the body in the continuum and transition regimes. In this case the flow has a history with shock compression and influence of viscosity and is difficult to describe theoretically. The shock structure and the quality of the disturbed flow depend on the shape of the surface, which can vary widely. From the plume impingement situations sketch (Fig. 8),
free mo[ecuteflow
impingement,
Kn>>l
J
reflected incomingt
transition
impingement,
flow
Kn=l
co
°uom
,tow
Jrnpingement,
Kn <<
FXG.27.
motecuLes
,iiiiiiiiil
\,
\.
\ ^{\} \
streamtines
J!iiii
Impingement flow types.
Plume flow and plume impingement in space technology
35
o)
shock
77//777////7
v
I'.,
supersonmc
'
•
plate
7777777////////7
v
IN
subsonic
~l
supersonic
flow behind
the
surface
shock
y~
_{1}
z
:
x
surface
shock
"~
bockftow
./N
~.
\
subsonic
v
supersonic
flow behind the surface
shock
F]o. 28. Basic geometrical arrangements for plume impingement investigations. (a) Plate perpendicular to the plume axis; (b) plate parallel to the plume axis.
however, and from experience we can deduce two particular cases as basic geometrical arrangemeAts, namely the plate perpendicular and the plate parallel (adjacent) to the plume axis (Fig. 28). Both cases have been investigated extensively and will be used to explain the main features of the disturbed flow. Two types of shocks are observed simultaneously: a strong one with subsonic flow downstream and a weak (oblique) shock with supersonic flow downstream. The strong shock is observed near the point where a contour of constant Mach number (see Fig. 16) is tangent to the impinged surface. (72) If the plume axis is perpendicular to the surface, a stagnation point exists at the intersection of the axis with the surface coinciding with a pressure maximum. For the impingement on an adjacent surface the pressure distribution is also characterized by a pronounced peak associated with strong gradients (Fig. 29). The
nozzle
plume
centerline
• 
/ 
Z 
~/ 
• 
/ 
Z 

/ 
/ 
// 
7 

/ 
/ 
J 
//. 

,~ 
/f 
~7/ 

,J6 
10 ~\flat
plate
P$
projection
of plume
centerine
on plQte
FIG. 29. Pressure distribution schematic. Adapted from Ref. (72).
36
G. DETTLEFF
stagnation point lies at the peak or slightly upstream. The sonic line in Fig. 30 indicates that the subsonic flow along the plate is accelerated to supersonic Mach numbers, i.e. the shock on the far right hand side in Fig. 30 is oblique. In the oblique shock region (the main part of the shock in Fig. 31) the distance between the shock and surface increases along the plate. Also seen is that the boundary layer in the flow direction thickens considerably with 6 ~ X~(K> 1). The interaction of the gas with the
~
hock
I
///////////////////
Lines of constant pressure,ps/po ,103
/
~,.~
• streamlines
8
shock
_{s}_{o}_{n}_{i}_{c}
_{(}_{i}_{n}_{e}
rE 
////////// 

0 
. 

I 
CL
I
.001~
!0[
Po
o
I
axis
of
o
i
) 
I IIII 
)'II 
=/f/l)lll/l 

 
calculated 

o 
experiment 

o 

8 
' 
1'2 
' 
I'~ 
' 
2'0 
x/rE
symmetry
Fla. 30. Flow field of a conical nozzle exhausting cold air normal to a flat plate in a near vacuum (zdr E = 38, Ma~ = 2.94, e~ = 15°). Adapted from Ref. (74).
a)
streamline
,o[E~F'T_~ 
plume axis sho;k /  boundary layer edge i
l
~L:,
o
l
~
///ll//////////////)//////////////////////////J//
,
T
,
i
0 
plate 50 
100 
150 
mm 
200 

ZN= 26.6mm 
X 
~ 

b) 
boundary layer edges (almost identical for 
50 

plume a~'~ 
~  o" :¢)\ 
F.~m 

I 
O= 0°5=5 
surface 
shock 
for 
\ 
1 
z 

~'°1111'~4~:~ 
o_~. 
~, 
,o" 
\ 
i 
eL ',,/,~H;~Z,H,~;HHHH~;HH)HHY
0
plate
50
100
150
200
mm
250
X
FIG. 31. Surface shock and boundary layer edge in impinging plume flow. Conical nozzle e = 25, OE =
10°, test
gas N2,
To =
290 K,
po =
16 bar. (a) zN/rE =
10, 9
=
0;, (b) zN/r E =
5, variation of 9. Adapted from Ref. (127).
Plume flow and plume impingement in space technology
37
surface in this region is characterized by viscosity, while in the strong shock region with subsonic flow near the stagnation point it is characterized by compression. When the impinging flow is free molecular, the particles reach the surface undisturbed. The gas has a certain bulk velocity u and the thermal motion for an observer moving with u is Maxwellian. The Maxwellian distribution function is (drifting MaxweUian velocity distribution)
/l
f= (2nkT/m)3/2exp[ 
m(v 
u)2/2kT]
(37)
where v = u 4 c; e is the thermal velocity. When the molecules hit the surface there is an exchange of energy and momentum with the body and then the molecules leave the surface with a half MaxweUian distribution function corresponding to the wall temperature Tw. In this case the molecules are said to have completely accommodated to the wall temperature and a maximum possible energy dE:  dE w is transferred to the body (dE, dEw: energy of incoming and reflected molecules, respectively). If the accommodation is not complete the degree is expressed by the thermal accommodation coefficient
ae =
dEi  dER
dEw
dEi 
(38)
= 1 denotes complete accommodation
dE R = dE w, and ae = 0 means no energy exchange (dE~ = dER). In a similar way accom modation coefficients for shear stress and normal momentum transfer are defined by
where dE Ris the energy of the reflected molecules, ae
as 
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