When your car is running, your exhaust system takes the hot waste gas from the engine and expels it out the series of tubes bolted to the underside of your vehicle.
From your exhaust manifold, you typically move down to a catalytic converter and through some more plumbing before hitting the muffler and then the exhaust tips. That’s a lot of hot gas that’s being moved, but have you ever wondered just how hot it might get? Engineering Explained is still pointing that borrowed FLIR camera at things so the host Jason can tell you exactly how hot an exhaust can get.
It all comes to life after the engine whirs into action. The test vehicle here is Jason’s Honda S2000 and the stationary machine allows a good vantage point of an exhaust in action. That’s because it’s a dual-exhaust setup so you can see how the y-pipe portion diverts the exhaust gas.
After initial startup, the entry pipe into the catalytic converter gets hot. A few seconds later the exit pipe starts to glow as well. After that it’s a stream of heat filtering all the way out to the mufflers and exhaust exits, but it definitely begins to cool after exiting the catalytic converter. It’s interesting to see that a nearly equal amount of heat is generated in each of the dual exhaust outlets.
What’s also interesting is when you see that the O2 sensor is one of the hottest points in the system. It’s just downstream from the catalytic converter and it’s being blasted with the exhaust gas. This part of the system is glowing white hot.
It would be equally interesting to see if you could replicate this test with the car in motion but that would require an expensive mobile camera arm. It would also require hanging a very expensive FLIR camera off of that arm.