Why Do Spark Plugs Break Windows

The glass material used to make car windows is designed to shatter easily and completely. Many people don’t know that in case of an emergency, why do spark plugs break windows?

A spark plug can break a car window easily to save lives or dire situations.

All it takes is the application of a few pounds of force to a small surface area of the glass. As such, several reasons prove spark plugs as the most effective tools to perform this rescue exercise.

Why Do Spark Plugs Break Windows
Image: spark plug

However, before we learn about spark plugs, let’s look at several factors that contribute to an emergency hence the need to break your car’s window;

  • Your car door is hit by a collision leading to locks failure, as well as the windows failure to roll down.
  • Your car plunges into the water and starts sinking.
  • You mistakenly locked your car key inside and no spare key.
  • You left your key inside the car, and unfortunately, children lock themselves inside.
  • There may be a fire outbreak, and the car door locks fail.

In case of the above misfortunes, a spark plug, as small as it is, can save you time as well as save people’s lives.

Why Do Spark Plugs Break Windows? Key Reasons

To understand why spark plugs are effective tools to break car windows, this article will discuss two main factors;

  • The car windows are made of tempered glasses.
  • The spark plugs are made from tempered steel and Aluminium Oxide Ceramic hard enough and sharp when broken.

a) The Car’s Tempered Glass Windows

Tempered or toughened glass material used to make car windows is manufactured through thermal and chemical processes. For that reason, the glass is made strong and easy to shatter.

After the material undergoes intense heating, it’s cooled from liquid to solid form. It’s also designed with higher compression on the outer surface and higher tension on the inner surface.

When this glass faces a higher concentrated force that exceeds the compressive stress on the outer surface, it breaks. It shatters into small granular chunks that cause less injury to the passengers.

Read: Frost on car windshield

b) The Spark Plug’s Steel and Ceramic Materials

The spark plugs are made of tempered Steel and Aluminium Oxide Ceramic material.

According to the manufacturers, the steel in spark plugs can endure high temperatures in a car’s engine combustion chamber without expanding.

This minimizes the risks of the plug’s threads destruction in the aluminum cylinder head.

On the other hand, Aluminium Oxide Ceramic (white body wrapping the central terminal) is a hard material.

Ceramic is hard enough that it’s used to cut glasses in glass and mirror shops. In spark plugs, it’s used as an electrical current insulator.

If ceramic is hit hard, it splits into hard and sharp shards. Due to its hardness and sharp-edged pieces, less velocity is required to pierce into the tempered car window. It dislodges the glass causing it to shatter.

With the above information, it’s clear that spark plugs are made of hard materials irresistible by the glasses.

Read: Rubber marks on car

Breaking a Window Quietly With a Spark Plug

If an emergency occurs, you’re in a position to help save lives. In most cases, you wouldn’t want to attract much attention from people and cause tension.

An old spark plug (See price below) replaced during your previous car service can help you carry out this rescue exercise as follows;

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First Step: Break the ceramic part of the spark plug into small pieces by hitting it with a harder object.

Second Step: Find the sharpest piece of all.

Third Step: Score the target window in an X pattern and throw the piece pointing at it with a moderate force.  The glass will shatter into thousands of fine pieces.

The Ceramic piece focuses the impact energy into a small glass surface area without blunting. This impact reduces internal energy making the glass shatter.

Breaking a Window Quietly With a Spark Plug
Image: spark plug

Does All Ceramics Break Glass?

Ceramic material is made by directly heating the raw materials at a higher temperature. The process is given time to strengthen the atomic bonds.

Due to the nature of ionic and covalent bonding being stronger than metallic bonds, Ceramic acquires the property of higher hardness.

This makes the material not bend or dull; instead, it brittles when broken. For this reason, all Ceramic materials are hard and sharp to exert enough impact force that is irresistible to glasses.

Read: Foggy headlights inside or outside

Where Do You Hit The Window to Break it?

Car manufacturers assume in case of an accident, and the impact occurs, the center of a glass window is the most vulnerable. So, they reinforce the center of the glass when making it.

However, the window’s glass surface is weaker on the edges, where it’s more likely to break in case a little pressure is exerted.

When performing this exercise, it’s advisable to target the furthest possible window from passengers in the car.

Additionally, a tinted window is safer if there are kids inside the car as glass holds together after they shatter. After, you can pull them out without any harm.

Why Are Windshields More Resistant to Spark Plugs Ceramic?

It’s apparent; windshields don’t shatter.  They are made of a specially laminated glass material that is highly durable and impact-resistant for the driver and the front passenger’s safety.

The windshields are two heat-tempered glass sheets with a sandwiched plastic interlayer between them.

These three layers are strongly bonded under immersion heat and pressure to form a complete car windshield glass.

The plastic layer between the glass sheets absorbs most impact energy during impact, leading to only cracks.

And since it acts as a glue, the glass pieces remain stuck to it, causing no harm to the people inside the car.

Read: Oil on camshaft position sensor

The whole spark plug thrown at an optimum force will break the window. So will a stone, a piece of metal, or any other hard object. However, when performing this exercise, you should consider a few factors;

  • The safety of people inside the car.
  • The tension that blunt objects would cause to the people around due to an impact on the glass.

When applying knowledge of how spark plugs break windows, be keen to use the sharp Ceramic material method to perform the exercise safely and quietly.

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