Analysis of RF Corona Discharge Plasma Ignition
Corona discharge from a RF quarter wave coaxial cavity resonator is considered as a plasma ignition source for spark ignited (SI) internal combustion (IC) engines. The gaseous discharge processes associated with this device are analyzed using principles of gas kinetics and gaseous electronics, with assumed values for the electric field strength. Corona discharge occurs when the electric field shaped and concentrated by a single electrode exceeds the breakdown potential of the surrounding gas. Ambient electrons, naturally present due to ionizing radiation, drift in the direction of the externally applied field, gaining energy while undergoing elastic collisions with neutral molecules. After gaining sufficient energy they dissociate, excite, or ionize the neutral particles through inelastic collision, creating additional electrons. This process leads to avalanche electrical breakdown of the gas within about 10-8 sec.