What is a catalytic converter?

The catalytic converter is a component of a vehicle’s exhaust system that helps to reduce emissions from the engine. It does this by converting harmful pollutants into less harmful ones before they exit the exhaust pipe.

Catalytic converters were first used in the United States in 1975. Since then, they have been required on all new cars and trucks sold in the United States.

Continue reading here to know how much are catalytic converters worth.

Where is the catalytic converter on a vehicle?

The catalytic converter is located between the engine and the muffler, and it is often an targets for thieves looking to sell the metals used in the converter.

catalytic converter honeycomb

How a catalytic converter works

The catalytic converter contains a catalyst, usually a ceramic or metallic honeycomb, which helps to speed up the conversion process. The exhaust gases flow through the honeycomb, and the catalyst helps to convert the pollutants into less harmful compounds.

What pollutants are produced by a car engine?

Pollutants that come out of a car’s exhaust system include nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds.

Even when running at slower speeds, exhaust gas released from the engine is still very toxic. This can be harmful to people working nearby or even in the car itself. More exhaust is produced when the engine is running at higher speeds, so it’s important to make sure that the catalytic converter is working properly.

Converting harmful car emissions

A catalytic converter is a device in a car’s exhaust system that transforms harmful exhaust gases into less toxic gases. The converter uses a chemical process to convert exhaust gases into harmless water vapor and carbon dioxide.

Exhaust gases are produced when the engine burns fuel. These exhaust gases contain harmful chemicals, including carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and hydrocarbons. If these exhaust gases are not treated, they can pollute the air and cause health problems.

The exhaust gases enter the converter through a small hole. The exhaust gases then come into contact with the catalyst. The heat from the exhaust gases activates the catalyst, which causes a chemical reaction to occur.

As a result of this chemical reaction, the harmful exhaust gases are converted into less harmful substances. These less harmful substances are then released into the atmosphere.

First step: reduction catalyst

The initial step employs platinum and rhodium to assist reduce NOx emissions. When an NO or NO2 molecule comes into touch with the catalyst, the catalyst rips away the nitrogen atom from the molecule, retaining it as N2, freeing the oxygen in the form of O2.

Second step: oxidation catalyst

In the second stage, it oxidizes (burns) the unburnt hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide by using a platinum and palladium catalyst. This catalyst aids in the conversion of CO and hydrocarbons to oxygen through a chemical reaction with the remaining oxygen in the exhaust gas.

Third and final step: control system

The final stage monitors the exhaust flow and uses this information to regulate the fuel injection system. An oxygen sensor is positioned upstream of the catalytic converter, which means it is closer to the engine than the converter.

The oxygen sensor on your car measures the amount of oxygen in the exhaust. The engine computer can change the ratio of air to fuel to provide more or less oxygen in the exhaust.

This control scheme monitors the stoichiometric point and the amount of oxygen in the exhaust to ensure that the engine is operating near to it and that there is enough of it.

Advantages of catalytic converters

Catalytic converters are an important part of a car’s exhaust system. They help to reduce emissions and improve air quality.

Catalytic converters are also effective at reducing noise pollution from cars. This is because they help to muffle the noise from the exhaust gases.

Disadvantages of catalytic converters

One disadvantage of catalytic converters is that they can be expensive to replace.

Another disadvantage is that they can sometimes cause engine performance problems. This is because the converter can restrict the flow of exhaust gases.

Despite these disadvantages, catalytic converters are an important part of car exhaust systems. They help to reduce emissions and improve air quality.

Continue reading here to know more about why are catalytic converters being stolen.

What is a catalytic converter made of?

A catalytic converter uses palladium, rhodium, and platinum as precious metal in catalysis, which have a great value that makes them worth recovering and recycling when the automobile is junked. Unfortunately, these precious metals make catalytic converters a tempting target for robbers.

What are the different types of catalytic converters?

Catalytic converters come in a variety of designs. A simple “two-way” oxidation catalytic converter transforms carbon monoxide (CO) to carbon dioxide (CO2) and hydrocarbons, which are essentially fuel particles that have not been burned completely.

A “three-way” catalytic converter is a type of catalytic converter that is used to convert carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and hydrocarbons into less harmful exhaust gases. It is the type used on most cars today. It does this by using a different catalyst to convert each type of pollutant.

Other catalytic converters, typically referred to as after-catalytic converters (ACCs), are now more widely used in newer automobiles. These work in addition to the earlier type of converters and reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), two pollutants that together are commonly known as NOx, a major ingredient in acid rain.

An oxidation catalytic converter will have a ceramic substrate with a coating of noble metals including platinum, palladium, rhodium, and possibly gold. The noble metal coating is essential to the oxidation process.

A reduction catalytic converter uses a similar design as the oxidation type but with a different catalyst that helps reduce emissions of hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide. A diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC) is used in exhaust systems for diesel engines and helps reduce particulate matter, including black smoke.

History and progress of catalytic converters 

Catalytic converters were first developed in the United States in the 1970s. They were introduced as a way to reduce emissions from cars and improve air quality.

Since then, catalytic converters have become more efficient and less expensive to produce. They are now a standard feature on all cars in the United States.

Catalytic converters have also been introduced in other countries around the world. Many countries now require catalytic converters on all cars sold in that country.

As emissions standards have become stricter, they have become more sophisticated. Newer types of catalytic converters are now able to reduce a wider range of pollutants.

Despite the progress that has been made, there is still room for improvement. Researchers are working on new and better ways to reduce emissions from cars.

Other ways to reduce car emissions

There are a variety of ways to reduce car emissions. One way is to improve the efficiency of the car’s engine. This can be done by making the engine more powerful while using less fuel.

Another way is to reduce the weight of the car. This can be done by using lighter materials in the construction of the car.

A third way is to improve the aerodynamics of the car. This can be done by designing the car so that it cuts through the air more efficiently.

Fourth, we can use more efficient drivetrains. This means using a transmission that is better able to transfer power from the engine to the wheels.

Finally, we can use alternative fuels. This includes fuels that produce fewer emissions when they are burned. Examples of alternative fuels include electricity, natural gas, and propane.

All of these methods can help to reduce car emissions. However, catalytic converters are still the most effective way to reduce emissions from cars.

Do electric cars have catalytic converters?

One promising area of research is the development of electric cars. Electric cars do not need a catalytic converter, since they do not produce emissions.

The future of catalytic converters

As we continue to learn more about the environment and the effects of pollution, we can expect to see further progress in the development of catalytic converters and other emission-reducing technologies.

How to sell my catalytic converter?

You can sell your catalytic converter to a local scrap yard or to a wholesaler directly. If you sell to the latter, you will need to take it apart from the exhaust system and ship it to them. It’s more work, but you might get a better price, since you eliminate the middleman. If you want to know how much you can get from your scrap cat, call us for an instant quote:


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