Jump to content

Laser spark plugs

Recommended Posts

  • Replies 17
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Guest DatsuNoob

:rolleyes: I bought a set of overpriced E3 spark plugs a while back for the Mini cause I heard they were great. They ended up giving me more problems than they were worth, started throwing cyl 1 misfire codes, and some other crap. I decided from then on I'd only ever buy factory recommended plugs for anything I drive ever again

Link to comment

They might as well just make it compression ignition and that'll solve the need for a spark plug! :D Plus, can you imagine the cost associated with that? Of course, if they never wear out, it would provide a much better burn potential which would be the effect of having 3 spark plugs per cylinder. So good, yes, but also impractical for anything older. I'd say some new direct injection motors might be using those, but it's a whole new ball of wax. The motors we're going to be seeing in the next 20 years are going to be very interesting.


Technically speaking, our "high hp" motors are still grossly inefficient when you consider how much energy is actually recovered during movement. Not to mention the drivetrain sucks a bunch of it too.


Still, I'll take my old tech vs. new space age wonderment any day. Hell of a lot more reliable, and way less expensive.

Link to comment

I might buy a set....IF.......they are not excessively priced and actually increase efficiency of engines, lower emissions/pollution....etc.

It's all relative to cost/benefits


Who knows......Have to wait and see I guess.

Link to comment

heh, everyone always focuses on the spark plugs as a miracle cure for engine performance. To be honest, once you try to get more efficiency than a good set of NGK's designed for your motor, you will be shelling out a fortune for hype or a VERY slight gain.


Some of these spark plugs are more than hype, but they look better on paper than they actually perform in the real world. For the price of some of these sparkplugs you would be MUCH better off buying a set of very high quality spark plug wires and a new OEM or high quality aftermarket coil to increase the spark going up to the spark plug.


After 10 years in the automotive industry, I have found that many people will completely ignore their ignition system, or if they do anything to it, they will replace only the spark plugs, and will run worn out wires or coil/coils that are miss-firing well into the 200,000 mile range.


These plugs may be the next best thing, but I am HIGHLY skeptical, and will be until I see some reputable results from real world dyno and efficiency tests. When I see even a 1 horsepower gain, or a slight drop in emissions, I will believe it, until then, this is just another overpriced waste of time to me.

Link to comment


These plugs may be the next best thing, but I am HIGHLY skeptical, and will be until I see some reputable results from real world dyno and efficiency tests. When I see even a 1 horsepower gain, or a slight drop in emissions, I will believe it, until then, this is just another overpriced waste of time to me.



there a cool idea at the least.



but Ill still only use NGK's on my Dattos :D

Link to comment

Public release date: 20-Apr-2011

[ Print | E-mail | Share Share ] [ Close Window ]


Contact: Angela Stark



Optical Society of America

Laser sparks revolution in internal combustion engines

New laser system may lead to reduced auto emissions, enhanced fuel efficiency


WASHINGTON, April 20—For more than 150 years, spark plugs have powered internal combustion engines. Automakers are now one step closer to being able to replace this long-standing technology with laser igniters, which will enable cleaner, more efficient, and more economical vehicles.


In the past, lasers strong enough to ignite an engine's air-fuel mixtures were too large to fit under an automobile's hood. At this year's Conference on Lasers and Electro Optics (CLEO: 2011), to be held in Baltimore May 1 - 6, researchers from Japan will describe the first multibeam laser system small enough to screw into an engine's cylinder head.


Equally significant, the new laser system is made from ceramics, and could be produced inexpensively in large volumes, according to one of the presentation's authors, Takunori Taira of Japan's National Institutes of Natural Sciences.


According to Taira, conventional spark plugs pose a barrier to improving fuel economy and reducing emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), a key component of smog.


Spark plugs work by sending small, high-voltage electrical sparks across a gap between two metal electrodes. The spark ignites the air-fuel mixture in the engine's cylinder—producing a controlled explosion that forces the piston down to the bottom of the cylinder, generating the horsepower needed to move the vehicle.


Engines make NOx as a byproduct of combustion. If engines ran leaner – burnt more air and less fuel – they would produce significantly smaller NOx emissions.


Spark plugs can ignite leaner fuel mixtures, but only by increasing spark energy. Unfortunately, these high voltages erode spark plug electrodes so fast, the solution is not economical. By contrast, lasers, which ignite the air-fuel mixture with concentrated optical energy, have no electrodes and are not affected.


Lasers also improve efficiency. Conventional spark plugs sit on top of the cylinder and only ignite the air-fuel mixture close to them. The relatively cold metal of nearby electrodes and cylinder walls absorbs heat from the explosion, quenching the flame front just as it starts to expand.


Lasers, Taira explains, can focus their beams directly into the center of the mixture. Without quenching, the flame front expands more symmetrically and up to three times faster than those produced by spark plugs.


Equally important, he says, lasers inject their energy within nanoseconds, compared with milliseconds for spark plugs. "Timing – quick combustion – is very important. The more precise the timing, the more efficient the combustion and the better the fuel economy," he says.


Lasers promise less pollution and greater fuel efficiency, but making small, powerful lasers has, until now, proven hard. To ignite combustion, a laser must focus light to approximately 100 gigawatts per square centimeter with short pulses of more than 10 millijoules each.


"In the past, lasers that could meet those requirements were limited to basic research because they were big, inefficient, and unstable," Taira says. Nor could they be located away from the engine, because their powerful beams would destroy any optical fibers that delivered light to the cylinders.


Taira's research team overcame this problem by making composite lasers from ceramic powders. The team heats the powders to fuse them into optically transparent solids and embeds metal ions in them to tune their properties.


Ceramics are easier to tune optically than conventional crystals. They are also much stronger, more durable, and thermally conductive, so they can dissipate the heat from an engine without breaking down.


Taira's team built its laser from two yttrium-aluminum-gallium (YAG) segments, one doped with neodymium, the other with chromium. They bonded the two sections together to form a powerful laser only 9 millimeters in diameter and 11 millimeters long (a bit less than half an inch).


The composite generates two laser beams that can ignite fuel in two separate locations at the same time. This would produce a flame wall that grows faster and more uniformly than one lit by a single laser.


The laser is not strong enough to light the leanest fuel mixtures with a single pulse. By using several 800-picosecond-long pulses, however, they can inject enough energy to ignite the mixture completely.


A commercial automotive engine will require 60 Hz (or pulse trains per second), Taira says. He has already tested the new dual-beam laser at 100 Hz. The team is also at work on a three-beam laser that will enable even faster and more uniform combustion.


The laser-ignition system, although highly promising, is not yet being installed into actual automobiles made in a factory. Taira's team is, however, working with a large spark-plug company and with DENSO Corporation, a member of the Toyota Group.




This work is supported by the Japan Science and Technical Agency (JST).

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.