The Role Spark Plugs Play in Your Engine

Every vehicle has and requires an ignition system. The battery contains stored energy that starts your car or truck's motor. Electrical current travels from the battery to the induction coil, which raises the voltage to ignite the plugs. Spark Plugs are necessary to produce a smooth burn. Each spark plug is connected to an ignition system. When high voltage is generated by the coil, electrical impulses travel from the ignition coil through insulated plug wires. Spark plugs require voltage in excess of 20,000 volts from a lower voltage battery. Once the voltage exceeds the dielectric strength of the gases, a spark jumps the gap at the plug's firing end.

The electrical voltage needed varies with different spark plugs. Each cylinder has a spark plug and a piston. The highly compressed air-fuel mixture is ignited by the spark. The voltage required for combustion depends upon cylinder compression and shape of the electrode. The number of times a spark occurs per minute is very high. For example, a two-stroke engine fires every revolution. A two-stroke running at 4,000 rpm requires 4,000 sparks per minute. The total number of sparks needed is the spark per minutes multiplied by the number of engine cylinders. A spark plug must fire at the right piston position in each cylinder.

Because of the heat and high voltage, your ignition system and plugs have a lot to do every minute your engine is running. In addition, an engine's plugs are required to remove heat from the combustion chamber when combustion occurs. Because the plug transfers heat to the engine's cooling system, a plug's numbers or letters are defined as the plug's ability to dissipate excess thermal energy from the plug itself. The heat exchange must be cool enough to deter premature ignition of gases, but high enough to prevent fouling. A fuel-fouled plug may also mean an unwanted conductive path to ground. Additional causes of plug fouling can be blamed on poor performing fuel injector as well as bad O-rings.

E3 spark plugs have a unique ground electrode that incorporates the new science of plug design based upon our dedicated years of research and development. Our open ground electrode directs the flame kernel to the piston on a more direct path than traditional plugs. In addition, our plug's larger ball of flame offers more mechanisms for conductive, convective and radiant heat transfer. Visit the Technology section of our website to learn more.


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