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Car Knowledge: Spark Plugs Part #1 - What is Spark Plugs? How is Spark Plugs works?


What is Spark Plugs?
Think of spark plugs as the tiniest bolt of lighting. Small but mighty, the spark of electricity that the plug emits across a small gap creates the ignition for the combustion needed to start your car. By putting the engine’s pistons in motion, your car can power up, stay powered up and produce a smooth burn of the compressed air-fuel mixture. Mind you, spark plugs like it hot: they withstand extreme heat and pressure within your cylinders and are built to burn off deposits from fuel additives or other contaminants.

What does it mean?
Well, without a spark, your car won’t start—or go anywhere. And because spark plug health is directly linked to engine performance, it stands to reason weak or bad spark plugs lead to problems, be it issues with cold-starting or misfires during acceleration. Besides—without healthy ones—your ride can’t sustain maximum power, and your vehicle can see a drop in fuel economy. Now, nobody wants that.

How is Spark Plugs works?
The plug is connected to the high voltage generated by an ignition coil or magneto. As current flows from the coil, a voltage develops between the central and side electrodes. Initially no current can flow because the fuel and air in the gap is an insulator, but as the voltage rises further it begins to change the structure of the gases between the electrodes. Once the voltage exceeds the dielectric strength of the gases, the gases become ionized. The ionized gas becomes a conductor and allows current to flow across the gap. Spark plugs usually require voltage of 12,000–25,000 volts or more to "fire" properly, although it can go up to 45,000 volts. They supply higher current during the discharge process, resulting in a hotter and longer-duration spark.

As the current of electrons surges across the gap, it raises the temperature of the spark channel to 60,000 K. The intense heat in the spark channel causes the ionized gas to expand very quickly, like a small explosion. This is the "click" heard when observing a spark, similar to lightning and thunder.

The heat and pressure force the gases to react with each other, and at the end of the spark event there should be a small ball of fire in the spark gap as the gases burn on their own. The size of this fireball, or kernel, depends on the exact composition of the mixture between the electrodes and the level of combustion chamber turbulence at the time of the spark. A small kernel will make the engine run as though the ignition timing was retarded, and a large one as though the timing was advanced



Continue Reading:

Car Knowledge: Spark Plugs Part #1 - What is Spark Plugs? How is Spark Plugs works?
Car Knowledge: Spark Plugs Part #2 - Symptoms of Bad or Failing Spark Plugs
Car Knowledge: Spark Plugs Part #3 - How to "Read/Understand" a Spark Plug
Car Knowledge: Spark Plugs Part #4 - Spark Plugs Characteristic
Car Knowledge: Spark Plugs Part #5 - What type of Spark Plugs do you need? Hot or Cold?






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