why does spark plug porcelain break glass

National Geographic has a fun little tip about how to break a car window. Now, why would you want to break a car window? They say because you might need to get inside in an extreme emergency, aka here s a quick way to break into a car. There are a couple problems with this video. First, to demonstrate that breaking a car window isn t as easy as you might expect, the host gives another guy a rubber mallet. Because, you know, THAT MAKES SENSE. Rubber + car window = shattered glass? It doesn t help that the guy is swinging that mallet like an uncoordinated 7-year-old making his first attempt at Tee ball. Problem No. 2 lies within his cute little magic trick. He pulls out a spark plug, breaks the porcelain part, and throws that at the window, which instantly destroys the glass. He s all like, voila! Look how easy it is! Yeah, because everybody has a spare spark plug lying around. Sure thing, buddy. Now, disregarding all of that silliness, the point of the video is that a very small piece of porcelain can actually break the glass very easily.


As the host explains, that is because side car windows are made out of tempered glass, which is resistant to bigger, blunt-force hits. But the tip of a small piece of porcelain has a very hard point on it, which allows it to find a braking point. And as you guys probably know by now, most car windows these days are made to shatter when one part is broken. So, now you know, and you won t have to look like the Tosh. 0 guy below:
[ via We're now going to break our spark plug to obtain a shard from the ceramic insulator. For safety sake treat ceramic like glass, it splinters and shatters when broken. These slivers can fly everywhere and can embed themselves into your skin if you are not careful. Wear goggles and gloves!! this is not an option, you are putting your juicy eyeballs in peril. Put the spark plug inside an old sock to prevent splinters flying when impacted, then take it outside and smack it a couple of times with a hammer, it took me about 3 solid swings to break the ceramic apart.


Carefully turn the sock inside out and empty out the broken pieces, select a shard that is small enough to fit on your project. Ceramic shards have sharp sides which can cut fingers, carefully file down the sharp edges of your shard. Sanding down the sharp edges of ceramics using regular wood sandpaper isn't going to work that well, try using emery cloth instead. Once the edges are smoothed out mix up some more epoxy and put a dab on the ceramic shard, then place the shard onto the end of your belt cutter. edit: Through some post-published field tests it's been determined that a smooth rounded surface does not work as well as an exposed edge. Your edge does not need to be as sharp as a razor, so you can sand off the hard edge so it doesn't cut you. I have also discovered that the shard size can be very small, half the size of your fingernail would work.


Check out the video in step 10. edit: there's been some discussion in the comments section regarding the composition of spark plug insulators. My research has uncovered that insulators can be (and are) manufactured from both ceramic and porcelain. The insulator tip at the bottom of the plug is almost always made from ceramic. Checking the it says that it is a type of ceramic, though with a Moh scale rating lower than just ceramic due to the added minerals. This makes porcelain a poor choice for this project, make sure you check before you start smashing. In any case the idea of this is that we are looking for a ceramic shard to shatter the glass. If you are unsure of the composition of your spark plug insulator you can either use the insulator tip (located at the end of the spark plug) or simply find another source of ceramic. There's a few household ceramics that come to mind, however carrying around a shard from your toilet is kinda gross.

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