Pulsed power is the relatively slow accumulation of energy followed by its rapid release, resulting in the delivery of a larger amount of instantaneous power over a shorter period of time. Energy stored within electrostatic fields (capacitors) is released over a very short interval (a process that is called energy compression), delivering a huge amount of peak power. For example, if one joule of energy is stored within a capacitor and then evenly released over one second, the peak power delivered would only be 1 watt. However, if all of the stored energy were released within one microsecond, the peak power would be one megawatt, a million times greater. Examples where pulsed power technology is commonly used include radar, particle accelerators, ultra-strong magnetic fields, fusion research, electromagnetic pulses, and high power pulsed lasers.
To form a spark, a vehicles ignition coil will slowly (relative to the process) inductively increase the voltage delivered to the spark plug until enough voltage is being delivered to allow electricity to bridge the air-fuel mixture between the center electrode and ground strap of the spark plug. This is known as achieving breakdown voltage. Pulstar Spark Plugs use the copper gas seal, ceramic insulator, and metal shell to form a capacitor that stores energy delivered by the vehicles ignition coil prior to achieving breakdown voltage. When a spark is formed by energy flowing between the two electrodes, the energy stored in the capacitor is also released. This release of energy creates a pulse equal to 5,000,000 watts and takes approximately three nanoseconds to complete. The pulse is so intense that it converts a portion of the gaseous air-fuel mixture into a highly excited plasma that conditions the fuel mixture to ignite immediately and burn efficiently.