A rocket stove is called so because of the rocket sound it makes while in operation. The sound is an indication of the turbulent mixing of the incoming air with the gases released from the wood on fire.
The principal and design of the a rocket stove is simple and that is what makes it a great substitute for traditional stoves.
The rocket stove consists of a combustion chamber and a riser. The height of riser is about three times the height of the opening of the combustion chamber. This is to allow for the gases released from the wood to combust completely till they travel to the top of the riser (hot air rises) and before they could escape, they are turned into heat. The rising hot air also creates a strong draft pulling the cold air into the combustion chamber keeping a good supply of oxygen and high turbulence for mixing of gases.
The result is a clean combustion chamber with high efficiency and very low smoke.
A rocket stove, however, cannot be smokeless if the basic principals of making a clean fire are not considered.