Everything is cooler with lasers. So, why not add them to an internal combustion engine? The latest development is to replace conventional automotive spark plugs with lasers to create the spark in the combustion chamber of a gasoline engine. Work on this is still at the early experimental stages, but engineers from Ford Motor Co. are working with researchers from the University of Liverpool and GSI Group in England to develop a practical method for laser ignition.
The greater spark produced by the laser allows a leaner mixture to be used by the engine - which means lower fuel consumption, as well as more complete combustion of the fuel and reduced pollutant emissions of unburned or partially burned hydrocarbons. Gas direct engines (GDI) could work with laser ignition to allow smaller engines to provide improved performance.
"GDI, a method for injecting fuel into the combustion chamber of each engine cylinder, enabled superior fuel efficiency--but GDI won't realize its full potential until there's an alternative to spark plugs, the 90-year old technology we still rely on to ignite the fuel, the researchers say."Other benefits from using laser ignition in an internal combustion engine could include lower idle speeds and better cold engine performance than with conventional spark plugs.
Besides, who wouldn't want to have a car powered by a laser?
written by Fred, August 04, 2009
written by Dan, August 12, 2009
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