The first part of the paper is a brief review of the techniques needed for measuring the voltage and current during the ignition process. These techniques have been used in test rigs and an engine to gain insights into the breakdown and subsequent discharge development.New correlations are presented for breakdown voltage as functions of spark plug gap, gas composition, temperature and pressure. The discharge voltage is affected by the flow, so an elevated pressure flow rig was used to look at the effect of flow and pressure on the discharge voltage history, with different stored energies in the ignition coil. This study led to a model for the discharge voltage history, from which it was possible to deduce the flow velocity through the spark plug gap.Finally, these techniques were applied to a single cylinder, 4-valve, pent-roof combustion chamber SI engine, for determining the cycle-by-cycle variations in velocity through the spark plug at the time of ignition. The paper ends with some comparisons with LDA data.