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Technical Paper

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

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.
Technical Paper

In-Cylinder Pressure Measurements Using the Spark Plug as an Ionization Sensor

A model based on an ionization equilibrium analysis, that can relate the ion current to the state of the gas inside the combustion volume, has been presented earlier. This paper introduces several additional models, that together with the previous model have the purpose of improving the pressure predictions. One of the models is a chemistry model that enables us to realistically consider the current contribution from the most relevant species. A second model can predict the crank angle of the peak pressure and thereby substantially increase the accuracy of the pressure predictions. Several other additions and improvements have been introduced, including support for part load engine conditions.