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Old 02-06-2010, 06:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I've been doing some research lately on spark plugs and I have yet to find a definitive answer as to which plugs to use in what engines.
So far I have the following data:
||Metal|| ||Melting Point|| ||Electrical Conductivity|| ||Thermal Conductivity||
||Copper|| ||1083 C|| ||.596 x 10^6|| ||400 W/(m K)||
||Platinum|| ||1768 C|| ||.0966 x 10^6|| ||72 W/(m K)||
||Iridium|| ||2410 C|| ||.197 x 10^6|| ||150 W/(m K)||

I forgot the units for electrical conductivity, but regardless, the higher the number the more conductive the metal is. In terms of thermal conductivity the higher the number the faster it can dissipate heat away from the tip of the center electrode. And melting point speaks for itself. According to the numbers, it doesn't seem that it would matter a lot what kind of plugs a naturally aspirated engine requires, but some are picky. However, when it comes to supercharged and turbocharged engines, I wouldn't know what to use. Iridium seem like a clear choice because apparently they withstand higher melting points and require less voltage to jump the gap because the center electrode is very thin;however, its thermal conductivity is not high like copper and could result in pre-ignition. Platinum don't seem like a good choice because they're thermal conductivity is too low which could result in pre-ignition due to the center electrode not being able to dissipate heat fast enough. Copper on the other hand has a very low melting point which could result in damaged center electrodes, but its thermal conductivity is extremely high meaning it can dissipate heat better.

Anyways, does anyone else have resources or knowledge that could possibly benefit me in my study.
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Old 02-06-2010, 07:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Our engines were designed to use platium plugs only, due to the waste spark type ignition. Copper plugs can be used, but they wear out much faster due to the waste spark ignition, you'll have to replace those every 25-30k, Iridiums, double platinums, or fine wire platinums will last up to 100k, but I've never tried iridiums before, I'm not sure how they'd work in these cars.
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Old 02-06-2010, 08:12 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Platinum and Iridium work fine with the waste spark ignition. Coppers work fine, but only for a short period before the electrodes become too worn.

Ford engines are equipped with double platinum plugs (platinum on the electrode and ground strap) from the factory.
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Old 02-06-2010, 08:12 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Well I just recently changed my plugs, they were copper, so I replaced them with motorcraft platinums. But my question was just in general, not pertaining to any specific vehicle.
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Old 02-06-2010, 08:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
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QUOTE (wild_legs76 @ Feb 6 2010, 10:12 PM)
Quote:
Well I just recently changed my plugs, they were copper, so I replaced them with motorcraft platinums. But my question was just in general, not pertaining to any specific vehicle.[/b]
It all depends on the type of engine, and what type of ignition system it uses.
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Old 02-06-2010, 08:19 PM   #6 (permalink)
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forced induction engines typically use copper plugs because they have a hotter spark under the increased cylinder pressures. Copper's thermal conductivity helps to eliminate preignition too.
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Old 02-06-2010, 09:19 PM   #7 (permalink)
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QUOTE (spridget @ Feb 6 2010, 09:19 PM)
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forced induction engines typically use copper plugs because they have a hotter spark under the increased cylinder pressures. Copper's thermal conductivity helps to eliminate preignition too.[/b]
That's what I thought, but I've seen a lot of people use iridium because of the increased cylinder pressure it would be harder to for copper plugs to fire, and easier for the iridium.
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Old 02-06-2010, 10:06 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Most custom turbo setups I have seen worked best with copper plugs and a narrower gap (ie stock .054" narrowed to .035")
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Old 02-06-2010, 10:22 PM   #9 (permalink)
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QUOTE (spridget @ Feb 7 2010, 12:06 AM)
Quote:
Most custom turbo setups I have seen worked best with copper plugs and a narrower gap (ie stock .054" narrowed to .035")[/b]
I guess that goes with what I stated a comment ago. Maybe instead of using iridium to insure the plug fires every time, one could decrease the gap in a copper plug to do what the iridium would do. I was talking to my co worker about this and he is what I call an Einstein of cars. He graduated from Wyotech in engine performance and went back to take additional classes and he spends his free time doing alot of car-related things. Well anyways, he said he will run a set of ngk laser iridium's in his 7mgte motor with the turbo pushing 14psi.
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Old 02-07-2010, 12:58 AM   #10 (permalink)
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QUOTE (wild_legs76 @ Feb 6 2010, 07:53 PM)
Quote:
I've been doing some research lately on spark plugs and I have yet to find a definitive answer as to which plugs to use in what engines.
So far I have the following data:
||Metal|| ||Melting Point|| ||Electrical Conductivity|| ||Thermal Conductivity||
||Copper|| ||1083 C|| ||.596 x 10^6|| ||400 W/(m K)||
||Platinum|| ||1768 C|| ||.0966 x 10^6|| ||72 W/(m K)||
||Iridium|| ||2410 C|| ||.197 x 10^6|| ||150 W/(m K)||

I forgot the units for electrical conductivity, but regardless, the higher the number the more conductive the metal is. In terms of thermal conductivity the higher the number the faster it can dissipate heat away from the tip of the center electrode. And melting point speaks for itself. According to the numbers, it doesn't seem that it would matter a lot what kind of plugs a naturally aspirated engine requires, but some are picky. However, when it comes to supercharged and turbocharged engines, I wouldn't know what to use. Iridium seem like a clear choice because apparently they withstand higher melting points and require less voltage to jump the gap because the center electrode is very thin;however, its thermal conductivity is not high like copper and could result in pre-ignition. Platinum don't seem like a good choice because they're thermal conductivity is too low which could result in pre-ignition due to the center electrode not being able to dissipate heat fast enough. Copper on the other hand has a very low melting point which could result in damaged center electrodes, but its thermal conductivity is extremely high meaning it can dissipate heat better.

Anyways, does anyone else have resources or knowledge that could possibly benefit me in my study.\
conductance is measured in MHOS, the inverse of resistance OHMS[/b]
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