Monday, January 11, 2010

Soot Plume

This is look-back cam on a Delta II showing soot plume from RS-27A kerosene fueled rocket engine. That plume looks like pretty weak sauce. But it appears that rocket engines emit a few hundred times more soot (per unit mass of kerosene burned) than aircraft engines emit. Is it a big deal?


  1. I can imagine a future where rocket soot impacts the atmosphere in a big way.

  2. 12, 2010 at 8:33 PM

    Until someone runs an appropriate model we have to admit the potential for that. The effects of soot(or "black carbon") emissions from engines of all kinds are poorly known, from the earth's surface on up to orbit.

  3. Won't soot eventually fall out of the stratosphere? Or maybe even be converted into CO2 by reactions with ozone?

  4. http://aerostrat.blogspot.comJanuary 14, 2010 at 8:55 PM

    "yes" and "maybe". Scientists have developed some kinds of numerical models of how some soot particles behave in the stratosphere. Also, the characteristics of soot from rockets - particle size for example - have not yet been measured. So we can only make educated guesses at this time.