Laser Spark Plugs?

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American automobile company Ford and the University of Liverpool are about to breathe some new life into Nikola Tesla’s spark plug, which was invented in 1898.  The plan is to use lasers to replace the spark plug technology, which has been rockin’ like Dokken since way before my parents were born.  The laser mechanism will apparently improve ignition conditions when the vehicle is started in the cold, or in damp conditions.  From the article at the Telegraph:

“Lasers can be focused and split into multiple beams to give multiple ignition points, which means it can give a far better chance of ignition.

“This can really improve the performance of the engine when it is cold, as this is the time when around 80 per cent of the exhaust emissions are produced and the engine is at is least efficient.

“The laser also produces more stable combustion so you need to put less fuel into the cylinder.”

In current engines spark plugs are positioned at the top or bottom of a cylinder and they can often fail to ignite fuel effectively if the petrol is not in the right position in the cylinder.

In the new system the spark plug is replaced by a laser powered by the car battery which is sent along thin optical fibres into the engine’s cylinders where lenses focus the beam into an intense pinprick of light.

When fuel is injected into the engine, the laser is fired, producing enough heat to ignite the fuel and power the engine.

The researchers claim that the laser, which will need to fire more than 50 times per second to produce 3000 RPM, will require less power than traditional spark plugs.

Some of the laser can be reflected back from inside the cylinder to provide information for the car on the type of fuel being used and the level of ignition, allowing the car to adjust the quantities of air and fuel automatically to optimise the performance.

This raises the prospect of mixed fuel cars which can run on a number of different biofuels while ensuring they still run efficiently.

A spokesman for Ford said: “Ford, like all vehicle manufacturers, is obliged by European legislation to reduce emissions and our work in this area is led by Ford’s UK R&D centre in Essex.

I didn’t expect to read that today! That’s a pretty interesting innovation – you have to ask yourself what other ideas like this we’ll find the laser participating in to make better.

2 COMMENTS

  1. New spark plug -plasma spark plug reduce 70% fuel reduce CO2 zero-O-
    emissions CO2 !!!!!
    For years now, I have wondered where and when the next Edison with a
    bright idea will appear and invent a “lean, green, driving machine”.

    I have finally found such a man. He lives in Farmington Hills,
    Michigan, and his name is Robert Krupa
    We have all heard the saying, “If something sounds too good to be
    true, itsually is”. The amazing new spark plug designed by Mr Krupa,
    which he named “FireStorm”, is the exception to this rule.
    named “FireStorm”, is the exception to this rule.
    I know that when it comes to buying spark plugs, they are all
    basically the same except for the price. So, why make the same except for
    the price. So, why make

    a big deal about another new spark plug?
    Fire Storm Capabilities
    First, let look at what Krupa FireStorm spark plugs give an
    internal
    combustion engine:
    More horsepower;
    44-50% increase in mpg;
    Dramatic decrease in emissions.
    Second, let see what FireStorm plugs eliminate:
    Smog pump;
    Catalytic converter;
    Radio frequency interference (RFI) and the use of resistors in the
    centre
    electrode;
    Gap growth;
    Exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) systems;
    Misfire/hesitation/detonation/stutter and stumble.
    How, you may ask, is all this achieved? In a word, plasma. The
    revolutionary design of FireStorm spark plugs creates an electric
    plasma

    that fills the entire combustion chamber like a firestorm. It allows
    you

    to take an internal combustion engine from the standard 14.7:1
    air-to-fuel
    ratio to an incredibly lean 24:1,30:1,40:1. At this ratio, all the
    air/fuel mixture
    is burned much more efficiently without increasing heat, thus
    giving
    an

    engine more power and fuel economy while creating much less
    pollution.

    The bad news is that you can buy a set of FireStorm spark plugs
    anywhere right now.

    http://www.libertypost.org/cgi-bin/readart.cgi?ArtNum=87928
    Radio interview with the inventor
    http://odeo.com/episodes/22575785-Robert-Krupa-Jun-02-2008

    http://web.archive.org/web/20051216110959/www.robertstanley.biz/firestorm.htm

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abwXApkLhbc

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