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On some gas grills, there is a button you push which creates a spark to ignite the gas (propane, natural gas etc.)

My questions are probably pretty simple:

How does the button create the spark?

What voltage is this spark?

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    \$\begingroup\$ See also electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/11816 \$\endgroup\$ – endolith Mar 22 '11 at 19:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ There are a different type where you press the button, hold it down and get a series of sparks. How do these work and what are they called? \$\endgroup\$ – Robert Atkins Mar 23 '11 at 4:02
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Almost all are piezo-electric. Check this Wikipedia page for info:

Piezo ignition is a type of ignition that is used in portable camping stoves, gas grills and some lighters. It consists of a small, spring-loaded hammer which, when a button is pressed, hits a crystal of PZT or quartz crystal. Quartz is piezoelectric, which means that it creates a voltage when deformed. This sudden forceful deformation produces a high voltage and subsequent electrical discharge, which ignites the gas.

And as Christopher Biggs commented:

the dielectric strength of dry air is about 33kV/cm, so if the spark jumps 2mm it has to be at least 6600v

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    \$\begingroup\$ Great answer. As for the voltage, the dielectric strength of dry air is about 33kV/cm, so if the spark jumps 2mm it has to be at least 6600v. \$\endgroup\$ – Christopher Biggs Mar 22 '11 at 23:08

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