Spark plug

Device that generates sparks in internal combustion engines / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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A spark plug (sometimes, in British English, a sparking plug,[1] and, colloquially, a plug) is a device for delivering electric current from an ignition system to the combustion chamber of a spark-ignition engine to ignite the compressed fuel/air mixture by an electric spark, while containing combustion pressure within the engine. A spark plug has a metal threaded shell, electrically isolated from a central electrode by a ceramic insulator. The central electrode, which may contain a resistor, is connected by a heavily insulated wire to the output terminal of an ignition coil or magneto. The spark plug's metal shell is screwed into the engine's cylinder head and thus electrically grounded. The central electrode protrudes through the porcelain insulator into the combustion chamber, forming one or more spark gaps between the inner end of the central electrode and usually one or more protuberances or structures attached to the inner end of the threaded shell and designated the side, earth, or ground electrode(s).

Several sizes of spark plug (electrodes at the bottom)
Spark plug operation (the red/yellow star near the end of phase 2) in a four-stroke engine

Spark plugs may also be used for other purposes; in Saab Direct Ignition when they are not firing, spark plugs are used to measure ionization in the cylinders – this ionic current measurement is used to replace the ordinary cam phase sensor, knock sensor and misfire measurement function.[2] Spark plugs may also be used in other applications such as furnaces wherein a combustible fuel/air mixture must be ignited. In this case, they are sometimes referred to as flame igniters.[citation needed]