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Exhaust Manifolds

Exhaust manifolds are generally simple cast iron or stainless steel units which collect engine exhaust from multiple cylinders and deliver it to the exhaust pipe. For many engines, after market high performance exhaust headers — also known as extractors — are available. These consist of individual exhaust headpipes for each cyl...

Exhaust Manifolds

Exhaust manifolds are generally simple cast iron or stainless steel units which collect engine exhaust from multiple cylinders and deliver it to the exhaust pipe. For many engines, after market high performance exhaust headers — also known as extractors — are available. These consist of individual exhaust headpipes for each cylinder, which then usually converge into one tube called a collector. Headers that do not have collectors are called zoomie headers, and are used exclusively on race cars.

The most common types of aftermarket headers are made of either ceramic, or stainless steel. Ceramic headers are lighter in weight than stainless steel, however, under extreme temperatures they can crack - something stainless steel is not prone to.

Another form of modification used is to insulate a standard or aftermarket manifold. This decreases the amount of heat given off into the engine bay, therefore reducing the intake manifold temperature. There a few types of thermal insulation but three are particularly common:

Ceramic paint is sprayed or brushed onto the manifold and then cured in an oven. These are usually thin, so have little insulatory properties however reduce engine bay heating by lessening the heat output via radiation.
A ceramic mixture is bonded to the manifold via thermal spraying to give a tough ceramic coating with very good thermal insulation. This is often used on performance production cars and track-only racers.
Exhaust wrap is wrapped completely around the manifold. Although this is cheap and fairly simple, it can lead to premature degradation of the manifold.

The goal of performance exhaust headers is mainly to decrease flow resistance (back pressure), and to increase the volumetric efficiency of an engine, resulting in a gain in power output. The processes occurring can be explained by the gas laws, specifically the ideal gas law and the combined gas law.

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