Causes of cracking of ignition cable

F. B. Silsbee
naca-tn-32
Feb 1921


The experiments described here show that the cracking at sharp bends, observed in the insulation of internal combustion engine high tension ignition wires after service, is due to a chemical attack upon the rubber by the ozone produced by the electric discharge that takes place at the surface of the cable. This cracking does not occur if the insulating material is not under tension, or if the cable is surrounded by some medium other than air. But it does occur even if the insulation is not subjected to electric stress, provided that the atmosphere near the cable contains ozone. The extent of this cracking varies greatly with the insulating material used. The cracking can be materially reduced by using braided cable and by avoiding sharp bends.

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