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Breakthrough: The spark plug

2 years ago

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Joana Fidalgo | Engineer


26 March 2022

When it comes to traditional internal combustion engines, the recipe is surprisingly simple: a little spritz of fuel, a good gulp of air, some sort of ignition and you have all the key ingredients. When ignited, the combustion of the gases inside the cylinder causes them to expand, which pushes the piston down rotating the crankshaft, then the piston comes back up, pushes the exhaust gas out, comes back down as it draws new air in and the process repeats again and again.

As many of you will be aware, the recipe does change slightly depending on your engine’s poison of choice. If you provide it to your car via the black pump (we pass no judgement here), the ignition will occur all by itself entirely due to the heat generated by the mechanical compression of the gases within the cylinder. However, if your carriage of choice is powered by petrol, you wouldn’t be happily motoring around were it not for one small, but mighty invention. You’d be going nowhere.

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