Cars with combustion engines are the most popular vehicles sold worldwide. Even with the growing number of hybrid and electric vehicles, combustion engines are showing no sign of being removed completely for a very long time. The engines are a magnificent testament to over of century of engineering. There are literally explosions happening inside a car’s engine every second, yet only a soft, toned-down sound can be heard from the exhaust.
The reason these explosive sounds are suppressed is the muffler. A muffler is a simple cylindrical component that is attached to the exhaust pipe to filter out the loud noises. The muffler is not a moving part and does not require electricity to work. So, how does it break down the loud noises into mild bearable sound? The answer is—simple physics.
How Does a Muffler Work?
Combustion engines need to get rid of burnt fumes in order to take in fresh air and fuel. There is a whole mechanism that has been created just to get rid of these burnt fumes so that they can escape the car in the quietest way possible. The fumes exit the engine through exhaust manifolds, which is a set of pipes attached to each cylinder to collect the fumes. The manifolds are combined into one single exhaust pipe (or two in some cars with bigger engines). The fumes run to the back of the car and enter the muffler before the final exit.
The muffler is built with a set of tubes inside it. These tubes are designed in such a way that they reflect the sound waves back and forth. The noise of the engine is significantly reduced through this reflection process. This reflection of sound waves significantly reduces the overall sound of the engine. The fumes are then passed through the tiny holes that are present inside the muffler to suppress the remaining sound effects. After that, the muffler emits the fumes through the exhaust, creating a toned-down version of the engine sound.
Do You Really Need the Muffler?
Yes, you definitely do need it otherwise you are going to have really unhappy neighbors. The noises that an engine emits are really loud and quite unpleasant as well. They cause noise pollution and are also illegal in many states. So unless you want trouble with the law, you need to install a good muffler to control the noise.
It may be true that a muffler can hinder the performance of a vehicle due to delayed emissions of the exhaust fumes. However, the amount in which performance is decreased is nothing the average person would experience, rather more for a race car on a drag strip. So fear not, your car will not perform any differently. In fact, even NASCAR requires ALL of its race cars to have mufflers, so you’re in good company!