We investigate the circumstellar dust shell of the water fountain source IRAS 16342-3814. We performed two-dimensional radiative transfer modeling of the dust shell, taking into account previously observed spectral energy distributions (SEDs) and our new J-band imaging and H- and KS-band imaging polarimetry obtained using the VLT/NACO instrument. Previous observations expect an optically thick torus in the equatorial plane because of a striking bipolar appearance and a large viewing angle of 30-40°. However, models with such a torus as well as a bipolar lobe and an AGB shell cannot fit the SED and the images simultaneously. We find that an additional optically and geometrically thick disk located inside a massive torus solves this problem. The masses of the disk and the torus are estimated to be 0.01M☉ at the amax=100µm dust and 1M☉ at amax=10µm dust, respectively. We discuss a possible formation scenario for the disk and torus based on a similar mechanism to the equatorial back flow. IRAS 16342-3814 is expected to undergo mass loss at a high rate. The radiation from the central star is shielded by the dust that was ejected in the subsequent mass loss event. As a result, the radiation pressure on dust particles cannot govern the motion of the particles anymore. The mass loss flow can be concentrated in the equatorial plane by help of an interaction, which might be the gravitational attraction by the companion, if it exists in IRAS 16342-3814. A fraction of the ejecta is captured in a circum-companion or circum-binary disk and the remains are escaping from the central star(s) and form the massive torus.
stars: AGB and post-AGB - circumstellar matter - radiative transfer - stars: individual: IRAS 16342-3814