Improvement in Spark-Ignition Engine Fuel Consumption and Cyclic Variability with Pulsed Energy Spark Plug
Conventional spark plugs ignite a fuel-air mixture via an electric-to-plasma energy transfer; the effectiveness of which can be described by an electric-to-plasma energy efficiency. Although conventional spark plug electric-to-plasma efficiencies have historically been viewed as adequate, it might be wondered how an increase in such an efficiency might translate (if at all) to improvements in the flame initiation period and eventual engine performance of a spark-ignition engine. A modification can be made to the spark plug that places a peaking capacitor in the path of the electrical current; upon coil energizing, the stored energy in the peaking capacitor substantially increases the energy delivered by the spark. A previous study has observed an improvement in the electric-to-plasma energy efficiency to around 50%, whereas the same study observed conventional spark plug electric-to-plasma energy efficiency to remain around 1%.