Fuel Economy is a term often used when describing how many miles to the gallon a motor vehicle achieves. It’s a big issue now-a-days, and car manufacturers are trying their hardest to travel the farthest on the least amount of fuel and to lower emissions to help slow climate change. But since the introduction of hybrid vehicles on the market (those which utilize a gasoline and electric motor), the positive features of these vehicles are in some cases outweighed by the negative effects that come from complex methods of production.
So where does the mandrel tube bender come into play for improving fuel efficiency? Exhaust systems which run directly from the engine block to the rear of the vehicle are designed to remove exhausted gas from the combustion process out to the environment as quickly and free flowing as possible. These exhaust systems are typically manufactured via mandrel based tube benders and require long stretches of pipe with multiple bends at various radii and angles. Retaining the same cross-sectional shape through a bend is also important as not to disrupt flow or induce unnecessary pressure. The mandrel provides support to the inside of a pipe/tube through the portion to be bent and eliminates chances for creasing and collapse of the pipe. A free and easy flow allows for a more complete combustion process in the cylinder and generates more potential power for moving your car with less effort.
A specific component of exhaust systems known as exhaust manifolds or headers are an arrangement of pipes, one connected to each cylinder, which collect the engine exhaust after combustion and sends it out through the exhaust pipe. The lengths of each pipe in the header are determined based on the amount of time it takes one cylinder to open and the next in the firing order to close. This timing is important to reduce the amount of exhaust air left in the cylinder, and to prevent exhaust air from being pushed back into a cylinder. When exhaust air remains in the cylinder, it gets mixed with a new supply of fresh intake air and fuel. This mixture now contains more air than was designed for and can cause combustion to occur before the desired compression point because of increased pressure and temperature. Headers help to reduce this temperature and pressure, allowing the pistons to compress fresh air fuel mixtures as much as possible, resulting in more mechanical power generated and a longer expansion cycle. Some headers are made with whole pieces of pipe that are formed on a mandrel tube bender with computer-controlled CNC systems. Others may be custom built with shorter, bent segments welded together for a custom engine build. Recent refinement to today’s gasoline engine has resulted in air-fuel combustion ratios as high as 14:1, available in select compact cars thanks in part to specially designed headers. Combustion ratios above 10:1 are typically reserved for sport and super cars seeking pure performance numbers.
As well as being a lighter alternative structural component, mandrel bent tube systems will help to make our cars lighter, more responsive and more fuel efficient in the long run.