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E3 Spark Plugs - Combustion Cycle Analysis
By measuring the pressure inside the cylinder while the engine is running, very accurate details of the combustion process can be analyzed. As the piston moves upward (all valves closed) starting compression, usually around 28° before Top Dead Center (TDC), the ignition system sends voltage to the spark plug. There is a lag of a few milliseconds from the time the current is sent to the spark plug and when the spark actually starts combustion. This is called the ignition delay. Once combustion starts, the pressure rises rapidly and peaks after TDC. This puts maximum pressure on the piston when the connecting rod is at the best leverage angle to the crankshaft. During the power stroke the combusted gases expand rapidly and push hard on the piston. At a certain point the exhaust valve opens and vents off the pressure in the cylinder, meaning that no more work is done on pushing the piston.
If a spark plug can create higher average pressure for every combustion cycle, it makes more power. Power improvements are shown on an engine dyno, but that measurement occurs late in the combustion process. The most accurate and sophisticated way to measure power is to look at the cylinder pressure over a number of cycles (such as 500 cycles) and compare one modification to another. Since the flywheel integrates the cycles over time, and the individual pulses of each combustion event are lumped together, subtle improvements are hard to determine. For optimal tuning, major race teams from NASCAR to Formula 1 are now equipping their cars for in-cylinder pressure measurements. E3 engineers pioneered this practice in the mid 1990s.
E3 DiamondFire design plugs produce more consistent and higher combustion pressures as an average over successive combustion events. This leads to more power, and helps reduce emissions and improve fuel economy. Pressure traces of this sort show up in every engine we have tested since 1997.
E3 spark plugs improve pressures over a series of combustion cycles giving better power. Over a successive number of power cycles using E3 spark plugs the pressure peaks are higher and more uniform than the standard spark plug. E3 researchers have performed this type of analysis and have measured consistent improvement in automotive engines, small two strokes, high revving racing four strokes, etc. Making the flame front faster and the combustion pressure rise faster always results in more complete combustion and this directly improves engine performance.