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Publication numberUS3842819 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 22, 1974
Filing dateNov 16, 1972
Priority dateNov 16, 1971
Also published asCA959362A, CA959362A1, DE2256177A1
Publication numberUS 3842819 A, US 3842819A, US-A-3842819, US3842819 A, US3842819A
InventorsF Atkins, K Waterson
Original AssigneeAss Eng Ltd
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Ignition devices
US 3842819 A
Abstract  available in
Images(2)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

' United States Patent 1 91 Atkins et a1.

"'Ts'iTiBt. (:1. if. ."F02 170030213 23/00, HOlt 13728 [58] Field 01' Search 123/148 E, 148C, 169 R, I

123/169 MC, 143 R, 143 B, 148 R, 148 AC; 313/128, 139, 140, 141, 143, 231

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,081,728 12/1913 Edison 313/128 1,259,240 3/1918 Jeffery 313/128 1 Oct. 22, 1974 2,252,636 8/1941 Kohout 313/140 3,521,105 7/1970 Franks ..3l3/l28 Primary ExaminerLaurence M. Goodridge Assistant Examiner-Ronald B. Cox Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Brisebois & Kruger 5 7] ABSTRACT An ignition device for an internal combustion engine has a chamber provided with a hole through which the chamber communicates with a medium to be ignited and includes first and second electrodes defining between them a first gap transverse to the hole, and a third electrode defining a second gap between itself and one of the first and second electrodes. A potential is applied between the first and second electrodes which is insufficient by itself to cause electrical breakdown of the first gap, and a higher potential is applied across the second gap so as to cause breakdown of the first gap, and thereby to cause the potential applied to the first and second electrodes to discharge across the first gap.

11 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures PAIimwumeza-m SHEEI 20$ 2' IGNITION DEVICES This invention relates to ignition devices, particularly for internal combustion engines.

According to the present invention, an ignition device for an internal combustion engine includes a chamber having a wall, a hole in the wall through which the chamber is in communication with a medium to be ignited, and means to produce a plasma flame which projects through said hole to ignite said medium, said means including first and second electrodes defining between them a first gap transverse to said hole, said electrodes being adapted to receive a first potential across them which is insufficient by itself to cause electrical breakdown of said gap, athird electrode defining a second gap between itself and one of said first and second electrodes, said second gap being adapted to receive a second higher potential across said second gap, whereby to cause breakdown of said first gap, and thereby to cause a first potential applied to said first The first and second electrodes may be aligned, so that the first gap is between their ends, or they may be in staggered relationship so that the first gap is between their ends but at right angles to the longitudinal axes of the electrodes.

Theinvention will now be described by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which FIG. lis a diagrammatic cross-sectional view of one embodiment of an ignition device and the associated electrical circuit, 7

FIG. 2 is a section on the line AA of FIG. 1,

' FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 2 of analternative electrode arrangement,

FIG. 4a is a sectional view of a further embodiment of ignition device,

FIG. 4b is a front view of the device of FIG. 4a, and

configuration of chamber 17, orifice 12, and the gap between the electrodes 13, 14 is such that this causes and second electrodes to discharge across said first gap.

FIG. 5 is a circuit diagram for the ignition of a fourcylinder engine.

Referring to FIGS. l'and 2, the ignition device comprises a body 16 of ceramic or other insulating material having a chamber 17 adjacent one end. Two electrodes 13, 14 of .rectangular section and which are electrically insulated from one another are embedded in the ceramic or other suitable insulating material'16. The electrodes have their free ends spaced apart to form a gap within the chamber 17 formed in the insulating material. The chamber is closed except for a restricted orifice 12 in its front wall, near the gap between the electrodes. A rod-shaped electrode 15 is mounted to project into the chamber 17 coaxially with the orifice l2 and serves as a trigger electrode, defining a second gap between itself and electrode 14.

A capacitor 19 is connected across the electrodes 13, 14, and a DC. voltage V, which is not sufficient by itself electrically to break down the gap between the .electrodes 13, 14, isapplied across the capacitor 19 through a resistance 20. The voltage may, for example,

7 be l00500 volts. The value of resistance 20 may be an arc plasma to occur, the-gas within chamber 17 rapidly heating up and expanding, causing the plasma arc flame to project through the orifice 12. The discharge continues until either the voltage across the electrodes 13, 14 has dropped below that required to sustain it, or until the rapid expansion of the gases within'chamber 17 blows out the discharge. The purpose of the series gap 18, which is wider than the gap between electrodes 14, 15, is to break down when the extra high voltage is applied across it, and thereby to cause a very rapid rise in voltage across the gap between electrodes 14, 15.

Where the ignition device is employed e.g. for starting a gas turbine, a trembler coil may be employed instead of the coil 22 and distributor.

Referring to FIG. 3, the electrodes 13A, 14A, are in staggered relationship, instead of being aligned as in FIG. 2, so that the gap is between their free ends but at right angles to their longitudinal axes. The gap is near orifice 12, as in the previous embodiment, and the trigger electrode 15 is also shown as coaxial with the chamber 17.

FIGS. 4a and 4b show a construction of an ignition device which may be inserted in the threaded spark plug aperture of an internal combustion engine. The device comprises a generally cylindrical body 26 of insulating material, e.g. ceramic, provided with an axial trigger electrode 25 terminating at one end in the chamber 27 and coaxial with the outlet orifice 22. An

outer metal member 24 surrounds a part of the ceramic body 26 and is externally threaded at 21 to engage the threads of the spark plug aperture. The member 24 also incorporates the electrode 24A extending towards the orifice 22 and which is the earthed electrode when the device is fitted to an engine. The opposite electrode 23A is formed at one end of a conducting rod 23 embedded in the ceramic body 26 and terminating at its other end in a terminal or tab 238 to which an external connection can be made from the non-earthed side of the voltage source V (FIG. 1). The connection to the trigger electrode 25 is made via terminal 29 and the series gap is shown at 28. The metal member 24 is provided with an inturned shoulder 248 to grip the ceramic body 26. Packing 30 may be provided between the shoulder 24B and the body 26. The device of FIG. 4 may be manufactured according to techniques well known in the art of manufacturing spark plugs.

FIG. 5 shows a circuit diagram for providing timed ignition in a four cylinder reciprocating internal combustion engine employing four ignition devices as shown in FIG. 4. The electrodes 24A are each connected to earth and the electrodes 23A are each continuously connected through inductor 42 to the highpotential side of the capacitor 19 across which the D. C. voltage V is connected via resistor 20. The trigger electrode 25 of each device is connectedthrough a distributor 40, such as is conventionally used in ignition systems, to a coil 41 for the provision of the very high voltage supply.

We claim:

1. An ignition device for an internal combustion engine having means for providing first and second potential differences, said ignition device comprising:

a chamber having a wall perforated by a hole through which said chamber is in communication with a medium to be ignited, and

means to produce a plasma flame which projects through said hole to ignite said medium, said means including first and second electrodes defining therebetween a first gap transverse to said hole and having a breakdown potential too great to break down when only said first potential difference is applied across said electrodes, and third electrode defining between itself and one of said first and second electrodes a second gap having a breakdown potential such that it breaks down when said second potential difference is applied across it, thus causing ionization in said first gap when said first potential is simultaneously applied across said first gap, with a consequent electrical discharge across said first gap which causes said plasma flame to occur.

2. An ignition device as claimed in claim 1 in which the second potential difference is greater than the first.

3. An ignition device as claimed in claim 1, including a further gap in series with said third electrode.

4. An ignition device as claimed in claim 3, wherein said series gap is wider than said second gap.

5. An ignition device as claimed in claim 1 wherein the first and second electrodes are aligned, so that the first gap is between their ends.

6. An ignition device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the first and second electrodes are in staggered relationship so that the first gap is between their ends but at right angles to the longitudinal axes of the electrodes.

7. An ignition device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the third electrode is coaxial with the hole.

8. An ignition device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the chamber is formed in a body of insulating material and the first and second electrodes form at least part of a wall of the chamber.

9. An ignition device as claimed in claim 8, wherein the first and second electrodes are exposed at a surface of the device adjacent the hole.

10. An ignition device as claimed in claim 8, wherein the device includes an outer threaded portion for mating with the threads of a spark plug aperture in an internal combustion engine.

11. An ignition device as claimed in claim 10, wherein the threaded portion is formed on a metal member which surrounds the body of insulating material, said metal member also having a part defining one of said first and second electrodes.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3921605 *Nov 18, 1974Nov 25, 1975Gen Motors CorpPlasma jet ignition engine and method
US3988646 *Nov 20, 1974Oct 26, 1976Associated Engineering LimitedIgnition devices
US4020388 *Sep 23, 1974Apr 26, 1977Massachusetts Institute Of TechnologyDischarge device
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Classifications
U.S. Classification123/169.0MG, 313/139, 313/231.1, 123/143.00A, 123/169.00R, 123/636, 313/128
International ClassificationF02P9/00, H01T13/20, H01T13/32, F02P3/01, H01T13/54, F02C7/266
Cooperative ClassificationF02P9/007
European ClassificationF02P9/00A3