Could transient plasma save the internal combustion engine?

But more on that later.

What is transient plasma ignition?

Plasma ignition systems, such as those being developed by Transient Plasma Systems, work by releasing a nanosecond electrical pulse to create a high-power, low-energy pulse of plasma. The pulse is not hot but has enough energy to immediately ignite the gasoline-air mixture in an internal combustion engine.

A transient plasma system, as opposed to other types of plasma ignition systems, is fundamentally different because each high voltage pulse is only applied for 10-20 nanoseconds.

Source: Will Folsom/Flickr

With each incredibly fast high-voltage pulse, the extremely light electrons quickly acquire the energy needed for industrial applications. As explained earlier, this configuration means that the more massive ions do not have time to absorb energy and are effectively stationary during the pulse.

This type of nanosecond pulse plasma is used to help trigger many chemical reactions in a variety of industrial and manufacturing applications, such as cleaning surfaces before they are painted, activating rubber for better grip or l applying thin film coatings to glass. Or, in this case, improving the combustion process in a gasoline engine.

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