Spark plugs play an essential role in gas ignition engines by generating an electric spark across a small ignition gap, that fires a combustion chamber and powers the engine. There are three types of spark plug – iridium, platinum/rhodium, and copper – and all work in the same way, so talking about the difference between iridium and ‘normal’ spark plugs is somewhat misleading. The only real difference is the metal used to create the central electrode.

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However, in terms of practical performance, price, and usability for various applications, there is a huge difference between iridium spark plugs and every other spark plug category, with iridium spark plugs being the best component you can buy. Why is this so, and what are the main differences between iridium and normal spark plugs?

Iridium Spark Plug vs Normal Spark Plug

The big difference between iridium spark plugs and normal copper spark plugs is durability. While copper is equally good at conducting electricity as iridium – and is thus perfectly acceptable as a spark plug material – copper quickly begins to deteriorate with use. This is why cheap spark plugs need changing so regularly: as soon as the copper central electrode starts to deteriorate, engine performance will start falling off rapidly, and you run the risk of a sudden spark plug failure that could stop your engine entirely. Users that depend on copper spark plugs use higher quantities of components, and sometimes spend more on replacement parts than businesses that use higher quality iridium spark plugs.

Benefits Of Iridium Spark Plugs

With this in mind, what are the positive benefits of investing in iridium spark plugs?

  • Better electrical resistance – iridium spark plugs don’t burn out as quickly as copper spark plugs, giving them a longer working lifespan and greater efficiency.
  • Iridium is a harder metal than copper, so can take more punishment before it starts to deteriorate. This contributes to a longer service life and reduces the risk of premature failure.
  • Iridium spark plugs are capable of working at higher temperatures, as iridium has an impressive melting point of 2,426°C, as opposed to 1,085°C for copper.
  • Better ignition quality – iridium spark plugs concentrate the electric spark, making it quicker to generate combustion with less expenditure of energy. Each ignition from an iridium spark plug is more efficient than a normal spark plug, and places less wear and tear on the component.

What Next?

RM Walsh are the UK’s leading supplier of gas ignition equipment for stationary engines, with an extensive range of spark plugs for every application. If you have any questions or would like help choosing the right type of spark plug for your engine, please don’t hesitate to get in touch today.

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