Laser Igniters Under Development –

Last Sunday during the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics, held in Baltimore, a very interesting paper was revealed by a team of researchers from Japan and Romania, offering a promising future for more efficient engines that eat up less gas. How? By using lasers to ignite the fuel-air mixture, instead of the regular spark plugs.

Up until now, the lasers that were capable of providing sufficient power for igniting a fuel-air mixture, were large and impractical to use for a car engine, and also quite fragile. The good news is that this Japanese-Romanian team of researchers has conceived a new, tougher and smaller laser that is made out of ceramics, instead of the regular crystalline materials, making it significantly more durable and resistant to the very high temperatures of a car engine.

These ceramic laser cylinders accumulate the energy that is sent through the fiber optic cable from lower-power lasers. They release this energy into the cylinder in pulses just 800 trillionths of a second long. If these can be developed to be sufficiently tough in order to withstand car use, the lasers will not have to be replaced, in comparison to spark plugs which must be changed once the metal tips erode.

The most important advantage of this laser technology is that these plugs can be focused to emit pulses at different depths within the cavity of the cylinders, which allows a better control of the entire combustion process.

If an engine-control software could be capable of simultaneously or sequentially igniting the fuel-air mixture at various spots throughout the engine’s combustion chamber, a more complete combustion process could become available and the energy which is contained in each of the hydrocarbon molecules could be more fully exploited, thus lowering fuel consumption and offering increased gas mileage, which is the ultimate goal of this technology.

The team of researchers is now in talks with Denso, which is a very popular auto-parts manufacturer that does a lot of business as far as conventional spark plugs are concerned. Hopefully, they will be able to commercialize this revolutionary design.

Source: GreenCarReports via Jalopnik | Photo: Gizmag

Post tags: Tags: Green, laser igniters, spark plugs