When combustion takes place in a chemical rocket (LOX/LH2), do the gases ionize due to high temperatures? If they do, how do they get around the problem?
Ionization is a waste of energy I believe, which could be used to increase thrust.
Yes, a proportion of the propellant products attain excited molecular states, ionize or dissociate and the fraction that doesn't recombine before leaving the nozzle, termed "frozen flow", results in a performance loss.
That's as far as I'll go as the topic of how to manage the problem is out of my field. You could try Rocket Propulsion Elements by Sutton for background and perhaps something like this if you want to get into it further.