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in laser spark plugs, 24th April 2011
Working together, Japanese and Romanian scientists have
developed a laser that they say could replace the spark
plugs in an internal combustion engine.
The idea of lasers replacing spark plugs is nothing new.
However previously the technology required was to big
and unwieldy for use in a vehicle, and also the unit housing
the laser wasn't able to adequately cope with the heat
generated inside the combustion chamber.
The team's new system also offers not one, but three laser
beams. The beams are focused within the combustion chamber
at different depths. This has the benefit of increasing
the ignition area of the fuel/air mix for a more complete
burn, and also it cleverly avoids the issue of degradation
The new laser spark plug design overcomes the obstacle
of immense heat - which had hampered previous laser spark
plug projects - by using ceramic powders compressed into
the spark plug body to form the laser, instead of the
delicate crystals previously used.
The team are currently in talks with the automotive parts
manufacturer Denso, over how to bring what is at the moment
a laboratory project, to the commercial market.