1996-02-01

An Ionization Equilibrium Analysis of the Spark Plug as an Ionization Sensor 960337

The use of a spark plug as an ionization sensor in an engine, and its physical and chemical explanation has been investigated. By applying a small constant DC voltage across the electrodes of the spark plug and measuring the current through the electrode gap, the state of the gas can be probed. An analytical expression for the current as a function of temperature is derived, and an inverse relation, where the pressure is a function of the current, is also presented. It is also found that a relatively minor species, NO, seems to be the major agent responsible for the conductivity of the hot gas in the spark gap.

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