Platinum Metals Rev., 1989, 33, (3), 105
Ignition and Engine Performance Conference
Twenty-two motor companies and seven spark plug manufacturers were represented at the 26th Champion Ignition and Engine Performance Conference, held in Munich, West Germany on 25th and 26th April, 1989. The various areas of technology addressed included spark plug and ignition system developments, engine design and the effects of fuel, fuel lubricants and fuel additives on engine performance.
Discussions on the current and future requirements for electrode materials in spark plugs, and new operational design concepts were confined mainly to Champion, Robert Bosch and Nippondenso. Each of these spark plug manufacturers use platinum or noble metal alloys for electrode tips, or as fine wires for complete electrodes. The reasons for their use include the need to provide high performance and reliable ignition, and to ensure that the ignition system is capable of surviving for the lifetime of the engine. The engine manufacturers gave a clear indication that, because of a desire to completely seal the engine compartment, future designs would necessitate the use of totally reliable plug systems. Indeed, the plug systems on some existing engines are not readily accessible, and must therefore provide guaranteed performance and lifetime.
Informative discussions took place on engine cold start, the advantages and disadvantages of projected nose plugs and operating heat range. AC-type, dual plug and coil-on-plug ignition systems were also considered, and some thoughts on “knock” detectors were given.
This well organised conference enabled the 130 delegates to increase their awareness of the opportunities for innovation in materials technology which will accompany new concepts in engine design.