Autos : How Car Exhaust Systems Work

By James Collins

Without the internal combustion engine, our cars would not operate the way we are used to. And without our car's exhaust system, the combustion engine would not operate properly at all. Once the combustion stroke is complete, the gases that are created must have an escape route or they will become trapped inside the engine and cut off the oxygen supply. It is the responsibility of the exhaust system to take away these emissions from the engine and do so in a quiet and efficient manner. Following is how a car's exhaust system works.

When air and fuel mix during the combustion stroke, a small explosion occurs. Though not very large, it is still loud. We just do not often realize how loud, because mufflers deaden the sound the firing creates. Only when we pull up next to a car with a hole in the muffler and have to turn up the radio or yell at the person sitting next to us do we appreciate how much sound a working muffler cancels out. Some do this by way of a restrictive tube that moves through sound insulation, and others utilize noise cancellation technology. The leftover sound then exits through the tail pipe out of the rear of the car, away from the driving compartment.

It is unburned fuel that creates the gases that a car's exhaust system takes away. These unburned hydrocarbons can pose a danger to the atmosphere, and a catalytic converter is employed to trap these emissions and re-burn them once a certain temperature is met. Leftover nitrogen and oxygen then travel out of the tail pipe. At a variety of points on the exhaust system, oxygen sensors are located in order to communicate with the car's computer. These sensors inform the computer how much oxygen they are reading and therefore how much fuel to allow into the engine to maintain a continuous and proper air to fuel ratio. This is important as engines age and become less clean.

A vital piece of the proper operation of an engine is back pressure. The exhaust manifold creates this back pressure, and therefore power, by only allowing so much waste gas to escape. The engine does not have to strive as hard as a result, and its performance is increased. The manifold captures the gases via a process called exhaust scavenging, and if an exhaust is installed that is too large, then excess air will escape and performance suffers.

Without the exhaust system, cars would not run properly or at all. If the emissions created from the explosion of fuel and air were not taken away, the engine would run horribly, if it ran at all. They create a quieter ride for the occupants of the car, and with the use of a catalytic converter, they lessen the gases released into the atmosphere. A car's exhaust system is as vital as any other for a car.

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1 Response to "Autos : How Car Exhaust Systems Work"

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