Watch How Hot Your Engine And Exhaust Get While Running

Illustration for article titled Watch How Hot Your Engine And Exhaust Get While Runningem/em

I’ve always had an irrational fear of mufflers and exhausts, which I guess I can attribute to frequently losing the hair and skin off my leg from the hot pipe of my dirt bike growing up. This fear carried over to cars though, and now I get to see my fears rationalized with the use of a thermal imaging camera.


The latest video from Engineering Explained points a FLIR thermal imaging camera the the engine bay and exhaust system of the Honda S2000 right after startup and through to giving it a good revving:

The video follows the glowing wave of heat from the exhaust manifold at startup, down through the piping and out back to the mufflers. Somewhat alleviating my fears is seeing that the muffler tips themselves are actually not too hot at all, though the gases being emitted are hotter than the pipes register at on camera.


Now I’d like to see how hot I get on camera while driving through traffic.

Reviews Editor, Jalopnik

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I have a huge problem with the video, at 1:03...

No, they do not “create heat”, they require immense amounts of heat for the reactions to occur at all between the platinum family metals and the molecules in question.

That “heat” is actually created by severely restricting the exhaust flow through the cat.

I understand the impropriety, the media feels it has to tip-toe around the physical implications of what catalytic converters actually do, how little they actually work much of the time (because of not being heated enough), and the performance consequences of having such a severely restrictive device on a vehicle.

But let’s at least try to explain things truthfully.

The heat is there because the cat restricts the exhaust into a bottleneck at that point, to heat up the platinum group metals in the cat so they’ll actually perform some catalytic conversions of molecules, just as the name implies. Platinum group metals (platinum, rhodium, palladium) have an extremely high melting point, and the optimum operating temperature of cats (to be effective) is generally 430°C (806°F).

That restriction creates heat, which is used by the cat, but it also creates inefficiency for the engine. Just tell it like it is.