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3/16/2017 CatalyticconverterWikipedia

Catalyticconverter
FromWikipedia,thefreeencyclopedia

Acatalyticconverterisanemissionscontroldevicethatconvertstoxic
gasesandpollutantsinexhaustgastolesstoxicpollutantsbycatalyzinga
redoxreaction(anoxidationandareductionreaction).Catalyticconverters
areusedwithinternalcombustionenginesfueledbyeitherpetrol(gasoline)
ordieselincludingleanburnenginesaswellaskeroseneheatersand
stoves.

ThefirstwidespreadintroductionofcatalyticconverterswasintheUnited
Statesautomobilemarket.TocomplywiththeU.S.Environmental
ProtectionAgency'sstricterregulationofexhaustemissions,mostgasoline
poweredvehiclesstartingwiththe1975modelyearmustbeequippedwith
catalyticconverters.[1][2][3][4]These"twoway"converterscombined
oxygenwithcarbonmonoxide(CO)andunburnedhydrocarbons(HC)to Athreewaycatalyticconverterona
producecarbondioxide(CO2)andwater(H2O).In1981,twowaycatalytic gasolinepowered1996DodgeRam

converterswererenderedobsoleteby"threeway"convertersthatalso
reduceoxidesofnitrogen(NOx)[1]however,twowayconvertersarestill
usedforleanburnengines.Thisisbecausethreewayconvertersrequire
eitherrichorstoichiometriccombustiontosuccessfullyreduceNOx.

Althoughcatalyticconvertersaremostcommonlyappliedtoexhaust
systemsinautomobiles,theyarealsousedonelectricalgenerators,
forklifts,miningequipment,trucks,buses,locomotivesandmotorcycles.
Theyarealsousedonsomewoodstovestocontrolemissions.[5]Thisis
usuallyinresponsetogovernmentregulation,eitherthroughdirect
environmentalregulationorthroughhealthandsafetyregulations. Simulationofflowinsideacatalytic
converter

Contents
1 History
2 Construction
3 Placementofcatalyticconverters
4 Types
4.1 Twoway
4.2 Threeway
4.2.1 Unwantedreactions
4.3 Dieselengines
4.4 Leanburnsparkignitionengines
5 Installation
6 Damage
7 Regulations
8 Negativeaspects
8.1 Warmupperiod
8.2 Environmentalimpact
9 Theft
10 Diagnostics
11 Seealso
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12 References
13 Furtherreading
14 Externallinks

History
ThecatalyticconverterwasinventedbyEugeneHoudry,aFrenchmechanicalengineerandexpertincatalyticoil
refining,[6]whomovedtotheUnitedStatesin1930.WhentheresultsofearlystudiesofsmoginLosAngeles
werepublished,Houdrybecameconcernedabouttheroleofsmokestackexhaustandautomobileexhaustinair
pollutionandfoundedacompanycalledOxyCatalyst.Houdryfirstdevelopedcatalyticconvertersforsmoke
stackscalled"cats"forshort,andlaterdevelopedcatalyticconvertersforwarehouseforkliftsthatusedlowgrade,
unleadedgasoline.[7]Inthemid1950s,hebeganresearchtodevelopcatalyticconvertersforgasolineenginesused
oncars.HewasawardedUnitedStatesPatent2,742,437forhiswork.[8]

Widespreadadoptionofcatalyticconvertersdidnotoccuruntilmorestringentemissioncontrolregulationsforced
theremovaloftheantiknockagenttetraethylleadfrommosttypesofgasoline.Leadisa"catalystpoison"and
wouldeffectivelydisableacatalyticconverterbyformingacoatingonthecatalyst'ssurface.[9]

CatalyticconverterswerefurtherdevelopedbyaseriesofengineersincludingJohnJ.Mooney,CarlD.Keith,
AntonioEleazarattheEngelhardCorporation,[10]creatingthefirstproductioncatalyticconverterin1973.[11]

WilliamC.Pfefferledevelopedacatalyticcombustorforgasturbinesintheearly1970s,allowingcombustion
withoutsignificantformationofnitrogenoxidesandcarbonmonoxide.[12][13]

Construction
Thecatalyticconverter'sconstructionisasfollows:

1.Thecatalystsupportorsubstrate.Forautomotivecatalytic
converters,thecoreisusuallyaceramicmonolithwithahoneycomb
structure.MetallicfoilmonolithsmadeofKanthal(FeCrAl)[14]are
usedinapplicationswhereparticularlyhighheatresistanceis
required.[14]Eithermaterialisdesignedtoprovidealargesurface Cutawayofametalcoreconverter
area.Thecordieriteceramicsubstrateusedinmostcatalytic
converterswasinventedbyRodneyBagley,IrwinLachmanand
RonaldLewisatCorningGlass,forwhichtheywereinductedinto
theNationalInventorsHallofFamein2002.[1]
2.Thewashcoat.Awashcoatisacarrierforthecatalyticmaterialsand
isusedtodispersethematerialsoveralargesurfacearea.Aluminum
oxide,titaniumdioxide,silicondioxide,oramixtureofsilicaand
aluminacanbeused.Thecatalyticmaterialsaresuspendedinthe
washcoatpriortoapplyingtothecore.Washcoatmaterialsare
selectedtoformarough,irregularsurface,whichgreatlyincreases Ceramiccoreconverter
thesurfaceareacomparedtothesmoothsurfaceofthebaresubstrate.
Thisinturnmaximizesthecatalyticallyactivesurfaceavailableto
reactwiththeengineexhaust.Thecoatmustretainitssurfaceareaandpreventsinteringofthecatalytic
metalparticlesevenathightemperatures(1000C).[15]
3.Ceriaorceriazirconia.Theseoxidesaremainlyaddedasoxygenstoragepromoters.[16]

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4.Thecatalystitselfismostoftenamixofpreciousmetals.Platinumisthemostactivecatalystandiswidely
used,butisnotsuitableforallapplicationsbecauseofunwantedadditionalreactionsandhighcost.
Palladiumandrhodiumaretwootherpreciousmetalsused.Rhodiumisusedasareductioncatalyst,
palladiumisusedasanoxidationcatalyst,andplatinumisusedbothforreductionandoxidation.Cerium,
iron,manganeseandnickelarealsoused,althougheachhaslimitations.Nickelisnotlegalforuseinthe
EuropeanUnionbecauseofitsreactionwithcarbonmonoxideintotoxicnickeltetracarbonyl.Coppercanbe
usedeverywhereexceptJapan.

Uponfailure,acatalyticconvertercanberecycledintoscrap.Thepreciousmetalsinsidetheconverter,including
platinum,palladiumandrhodium,areextracted.

Placementofcatalyticconverters
Catalyticconvertersrequiretemperatureof800degreesFahrenheit(426C)toefficientlyconvertharmfulexhaust
gasesintoinertones,suchascarbondioxideandwatervapor.So,firstcatalyticconverterswereplacedclosetothe
enginetoensurefastheating.However,suchplacingcausedseveralproblems,suchasvaporlock.

Asanalternative,catalyticconvertersweremovedtoathirdofthewaybackfromtheengine,andwerethen
placedunderneaththevehicle.

Inthe1990s,integratedcatalyticconverters[17]weredeveloped,which,asthenamesuggests,wereintegratedinto
exhaustmanifoldassemblies.Theirhighefficiency,safetyandspacesavingcapabilityquicklyearnedthema
popularity.Today,almosteverynewvehiclesoldintheUnitedStatesisequippedwithintegratedcatalytic
converters.

Types
Twoway

A2way(or"oxidation",sometimescalledan"oxicat")catalyticconverterhastwosimultaneoustasks:

1.Oxidationofcarbonmonoxidetocarbondioxide:2CO+O22CO2
2.Oxidationofhydrocarbons(unburnedandpartiallyburnedfuel)tocarbondioxideandwater:CxH2x+2+
[(3x+1)/2]O2xCO2+(x+1)H2O(acombustionreaction)

Thistypeofcatalyticconverteriswidelyusedondieselenginestoreducehydrocarbonandcarbonmonoxide
emissions.TheywerealsousedongasolineenginesinAmericanandCanadianmarketautomobilesuntil1981.
Becauseoftheirinabilitytocontroloxidesofnitrogen,theyweresupersededbythreewayconverters.

Threeway

Threewaycatalyticconverters(TWC)havetheadditionaladvantageofcontrollingtheemissionofnitricoxide
andnitrogendioxide(bothtogetherabbreviatedwithNOxandnottobeconfusedwithnitrousoxide),whichare
precursorstoacidrainandsmog.

Since1981,"threeway"(oxidationreduction)catalyticconvertershavebeenusedinvehicleemissioncontrol
systemsintheUnitedStatesandCanadamanyothercountrieshavealsoadoptedstringentvehicleemission
regulationsthatineffectrequirethreewayconvertersongasolinepoweredvehicles.Thereductionandoxidation
catalystsaretypicallycontainedinacommonhousinghowever,insomeinstances,theymaybehousedseparately.
Athreewaycatalyticconverterhasthreesimultaneoustasks:
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1.Reductionofnitrogenoxidestonitrogenandoxygen:2NOxxO2+N2
2.Oxidationofcarbonmonoxidetocarbondioxide:2CO+O22CO2
3.Oxidationofunburnthydrocarbons(HC)tocarbondioxideandwater:CxH2x+2+[(3x+1)/2]O2xCO2+
(x+1)H2O.

Thesethreereactionsoccurmostefficientlywhenthecatalyticconverterreceivesexhaustfromanenginerunning
slightlyabovethestoichiometricpoint.Forgasolinecombustion,thisratioisbetween14.6and14.8partsairto
onepartfuel,byweight.TheratioforAutogas(orliquefiedpetroleumgasLPG),naturalgasandethanolfuelsis
slightlydifferentforeach,requiringmodifiedfuelsystemsettingswhenusingthosefuels.Ingeneral,enginesfitted
with3waycatalyticconvertersareequippedwithacomputerizedclosedloopfeedbackfuelinjectionsystemusing
oneormoreoxygensensors,thoughearlyinthedeploymentofthreewayconverters,carburetorsequippedwith
feedbackmixturecontrolwereused.

Threewayconvertersareeffectivewhentheengineisoperatedwithinanarrowbandofairfuelratiosnearthe
stoichiometricpoint,suchthattheexhaustgascompositionoscillatesbetweenrich(excessfuel)andlean(excess
oxygen).Conversionefficiencyfallsveryrapidlywhentheengineisoperatedoutsideofthisband.Underlean
engineoperation,theexhaustcontainsexcessoxygen,andthereductionofNOxisnotfavored.Underrich
conditions,theexcessfuelconsumesalloftheavailableoxygenpriortothecatalyst,leavingonlyoxygenstoredin
thecatalystavailablefortheoxidationfunction.

Closedloopenginecontrolsystemsarenecessaryforeffectiveoperationofthreewaycatalyticconvertersbecause
ofthecontinuousbalancingrequiredforeffectiveNOxreductionandHCoxidation.Thecontrolsystemmust
preventtheNOxreductioncatalystfrombecomingfullyoxidized,yetreplenishtheoxygenstoragematerialsothat
itsfunctionasanoxidationcatalystismaintained.

Threewaycatalyticconverterscanstoreoxygenfromtheexhaustgasstream,usuallywhentheairfuelratiogoes
lean.[18]Whensufficientoxygenisnotavailablefromtheexhauststream,thestoredoxygenisreleasedand
consumed(seecerium(IV)oxide).AlackofsufficientoxygenoccurseitherwhenoxygenderivedfromNOx
reductionisunavailableorwhencertainmaneuverssuchashardaccelerationenrichthemixturebeyondtheability
oftheconvertertosupplyoxygen.

Unwantedreactions

Unwantedreactionscanoccurinthethreewaycatalyst,suchastheformationofodoriferoushydrogensulfideand
ammonia.Formationofeachcanbelimitedbymodificationstothewashcoatandpreciousmetalsused.Itis
difficulttoeliminatethesebyproductsentirely.Sulfurfreeorlowsulfurfuelseliminateorreducehydrogen
sulfide.

Forexample,whencontrolofhydrogensulfideemissionsisdesired,nickelormanganeseisaddedtothewashcoat.
Bothsubstancesacttoblocktheabsorptionofsulfurbythewashcoat.Hydrogensulfideisformedwhenthe
washcoathasabsorbedsulfurduringalowtemperaturepartoftheoperatingcycle,whichisthenreleasedduring
thehightemperaturepartofthecycleandthesulfurcombineswithHC.

Dieselengines

Forcompressionignition(i.e.,dieselengines),themostcommonlyusedcatalyticconverteristhedieseloxidation
catalyst(DOC).DOCscontainpalladium,platinumandaluminiumoxide,allofwhichserveascatalyststo
oxidizethehydrocarbonsandcarbonmonoxidewithoxygentoformcarbondioxideandwater.

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2CO+O22CO2

CxH2x+2+[(3x+1)/2]O2xCO2+(x+1)H2O

Theseconvertersoftenoperateat90percentefficiency,virtuallyeliminatingdieselodorandhelpingreducevisible
particulates(soot).ThesecatalystsarenotactiveforNOxreductionbecauseanyreductantpresentwouldreactfirst
withthehighconcentrationofO2indieselexhaustgas.

ReductioninNOxemissionsfromcompressionignitionengineshaspreviouslybeenaddressedbytheadditionof
exhaustgastoincomingaircharge,knownasexhaustgasrecirculation(EGR).In2010,mostlightdutydiesel
manufacturersintheU.S.addedcatalyticsystemstotheirvehiclestomeetnewfederalemissionsrequirements.
TherearetwotechniquesthathavebeendevelopedforthecatalyticreductionofNOxemissionsunderleanexhaust
conditions:selectivecatalyticreduction(SCR)andtheleanNOxtraporNOxadsorber.Insteadofpreciousmetal
containingNOxabsorbers,mostmanufacturersselectedbasemetalSCRsystemsthatuseareagentsuchas
ammoniatoreducetheNOxintonitrogen.Ammoniaissuppliedtothecatalystsystembytheinjectionofureainto
theexhaust,whichthenundergoesthermaldecompositionandhydrolysisintoammonia.Onetrademarkproductof
ureasolution,alsoreferredtoasDieselExhaustFluid(DEF),isAdBlue.

Dieselexhaustcontainsrelativelyhighlevelsofparticulatematter(soot),consistinglargelyofelementalcarbon.
Catalyticconverterscannotcleanupelementalcarbon,thoughtheydoremoveupto90percentofthesoluble
organicfraction,soparticulatesarecleanedupbyasoottrapordieselparticulatefilter(DPF).Historically,aDPF
consistsofacordieriteorsiliconcarbidesubstratewithageometrythatforcestheexhaustflowthroughthe
substratewalls,leavingbehindtrappedsootparticles.ContemporaryDPFscanbemanufacturedfromavarietyof
raremetalsthatprovidesuperiorperformance(atagreaterexpense).[19]AstheamountofsoottrappedontheDPF
increases,sodoesthebackpressureintheexhaustsystem.Periodicregenerations(hightemperatureexcursions)
arerequiredtoinitiatecombustionofthetrappedsootandtherebyreducingtheexhaustbackpressure.Theamount
ofsootloadedontheDPFpriortoregenerationmayalsobelimitedtopreventextremeexothermsfromdamaging
thetrapduringregeneration.IntheU.S.,allonroadlight,mediumandheavydutyvehiclespoweredbydieseland
builtafterJanuary1,2007,mustmeetdieselparticulateemissionlimits,meaningthattheyeffectivelyhavetobe
equippedwitha2waycatalyticconverterandadieselparticulatefilter.Notethatthisappliesonlytothediesel
engineusedinthevehicle.AslongastheenginewasmanufacturedbeforeJanuary1,2007,thevehicleisnot
requiredtohavetheDPFsystem.Thisledtoaninventoryrunupbyenginemanufacturersinlate2006sothey
couldcontinuesellingpreDPFvehicleswellinto2007.[20]Duringtheregenerationcycle,mostsystemsrequire
theenginetoconsumemorefuelinarelativelyshortamountoftimeinordertogeneratethehightemperatures
necessaryforthecycletocomplete.ThisadverselyaffectstheoverallfueleconomyofvehiclesequippedwithDPF
systems,especiallyinvehiclesthataredrivenmostlyincityconditionswherefrequentaccelerationrequiresa
largeramountoffueltobeburnedandthereforemoresoottocollectintheexhaustsystem.

Leanburnsparkignitionengines

Forleanburnsparkignitionengines,anoxidationcatalystisusedinthesamemannerasinadieselengine.
Emissionsfromleanburnsparkignitionenginesareverysimilartoemissionsfromadieselcompressionignition
engine.

Installation

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Manyvehicleshaveaclosecoupledcatalyticconverterlocatedneartheengine'sexhaustmanifold.Theconverter
heatsupquickly,duetoitsexposuretotheveryhotexhaustgases,enablingittoreduceundesirableemissions
duringtheenginewarmupperiod.Thisisachievedbyburningofftheexcesshydrocarbonswhichresultfromthe
extrarichmixturerequiredforacoldstart.

Whencatalyticconverterswerefirstintroduced,mostvehiclesusedcarburetorsthatprovidedarelativelyrichair
fuelratio.Oxygen(O2)levelsintheexhauststreamwerethereforegenerallyinsufficientforthecatalyticreaction
tooccurefficiently.Mostdesignsofthetimethereforeincludedsecondaryairinjection,whichinjectedairintothe
exhauststream.Thisincreasedtheavailableoxygen,allowingthecatalysttofunctionasintended.

Somethreewaycatalyticconvertersystemshaveairinjectionsystemswiththeairinjectedbetweenthefirst(NOx
reduction)andsecond(HCandCOoxidation)stagesoftheconverter.Asintwowayconverters,thisinjectedair
providesoxygenfortheoxidationreactions.Anupstreamairinjectionpoint,aheadofthecatalyticconverter,is
alsosometimespresenttoprovideadditionaloxygenonlyduringtheenginewarmupperiod.Thiscausesunburned
fueltoigniteintheexhausttract,therebypreventingitreachingthecatalyticconverteratall.Thistechnique
reducestheengineruntimeneededforthecatalyticconvertertoreachits"lightoff"oroperatingtemperature.

Mostnewervehicleshaveelectronicfuelinjectionsystems,anddonotrequireairinjectionsystemsintheir
exhausts.Instead,theyprovideapreciselycontrolledairfuelmixturethatquicklyandcontinuallycyclesbetween
leanandrichcombustion.Oxygensensorsareusedtomonitortheexhaustoxygencontentbeforeandafterthe
catalyticconverter,andthisinformationisusedbytheElectronicControlUnittoadjustthefuelinjectionsoasto
preventthefirst(NOxreduction)catalystfrombecomingoxygenloaded,whilesimultaneouslyensuringthe
second(HCandCOoxidation)catalystissufficientlyoxygensaturated.

Damage
Catalystpoisoningoccurswhenthecatalyticconverterisexposedtoexhaustcontainingsubstancesthatcoatthe
workingsurfaces,sothattheycannotcontactandreactwiththeexhaust.Themostnotablecontaminantislead,so
vehiclesequippedwithcatalyticconverterscanrunonlyonunleadedfuel.Othercommoncatalystpoisonsinclude
sulfur,manganese(originatingprimarilyfromthegasolineadditiveMMT)andsilicon,whichcanentertheexhaust
streamiftheenginehasaleakthatallowscoolantintothecombustionchamber.Phosphorusisanothercatalyst
contaminant.Althoughphosphorusisnolongerusedingasoline,it(andzinc,anotherlowlevelcatalyst
contaminant)wasuntilrecentlywidelyusedinengineoilantiwearadditivessuchaszincdithiophosphate(ZDDP).
Beginningin2004,alimitofphosphorusconcentrationinengineoilswasadoptedintheAPISMandILSACGF
4specifications.

Dependingonthecontaminant,catalystpoisoningcansometimesbereversedbyrunningtheengineunderavery
heavyloadforanextendedperiodoftime.Theincreasedexhausttemperaturecansometimesvaporiseorsublimate
thecontaminant,removingitfromthecatalyticsurface.However,removalofleaddepositsinthismanneris
usuallynotpossiblebecauseoflead'shighboilingpoint.

Anyconditionthatcausesabnormallyhighlevelsofunburnedhydrocarbonsraworpartiallyburntfueltoreach
theconverterwilltendtosignificantlyelevateitstemperature,bringingtheriskofameltdownofthesubstrateand
resultantcatalyticdeactivationandsevereexhaustrestriction.Usuallytheignitionsysteme.g.coilpacksand/or
primaryignitioncomponents(e.g.distributorcap,wires,ignitioncoilandsparkplugs)and/ordamagedfuelsystem
components(fuelinjectors,fuelpressureregulator,andassociatedsensors)coulddamageacatalyticconverter
thisalsoincludesusingathickeroilviscositynotrecommendedbythemanufacturer(especiallywithZDDP
content),oiland/orcoolantleaks.VehiclesequippedwithOBDIIdiagnosticsystemsaredesignedtoalertthe
drivertoamisfireconditionbymeansofilluminatingthe"checkengine"lightonthedashboard,orflashingitif
thecurrentmisfireconditionsaresevereenoughtopotentiallydamagethecatalyticconverter.

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Regulations
Emissionsregulationsvaryconsiderablyfromjurisdictiontojurisdiction.Mostautomobilesparkignitionengines
inNorthAmericahavebeenfittedwithcatalyticconverterssince1975,[1][2][3][4]andthetechnologyusedinnon
automotiveapplicationsisgenerallybasedonautomotivetechnology.

Regulationsfordieselenginesaresimilarlyvaried,withsomejurisdictionsfocusingonNOx(nitricoxideand
nitrogendioxide)emissionsandothersfocusingonparticulate(soot)emissions.Thisregulatorydiversityis
challengingformanufacturersofengines,asitmaynotbeeconomicaltodesignanenginetomeettwosetsof
regulations.

Regulationsoffuelqualityvaryacrossjurisdictions.InNorthAmerica,Europe,JapanandHongKong,gasoline
anddieselfuelarehighlyregulated,andcompressednaturalgasandLPG(Autogas)arebeingreviewedfor
regulation.InmostofAsiaandAfrica,theregulationsareoftenlax:insomeplacessulfurcontentofthefuelcan
reach20,000partspermillion(2%).AnysulfurinthefuelcanbeoxidizedtoSO2(sulfurdioxide)orevenSO3
(sulfurtrioxide)inthecombustionchamber.Ifsulfurpassesoveracatalyst,itmaybefurtheroxidizedinthe
catalyst,i.e.,SO2maybefurtheroxidizedtoSO3.Sulfuroxidesareprecursorstosulfuricacid,amajorcomponent
ofacidrain.Whileitispossibletoaddsubstancessuchasvanadiumtothecatalystwashcoattocombatsulfur
oxideformation,suchadditionwillreducetheeffectivenessofthecatalyst.Themosteffectivesolutionistofurther
refinefuelattherefinerytoproduceultralowsulfurdiesel.RegulationsinJapan,EuropeandNorthAmerica
tightlyrestricttheamountofsulfurpermittedinmotorfuels.However,thedirectfinancialexpenseofproducing
suchcleanfuelmaymakeitimpracticalforuseindevelopingcountries.Asaresult,citiesinthesecountrieswith
highlevelsofvehiculartrafficsufferfromacidrain,whichdamagesstoneandwoodworkofbuildings,poisons
humansandotheranimals,anddamageslocalecosystems,ataveryhighfinancialcost.

Negativeaspects
Catalyticconvertersrestrictthefreeflowofexhaust,whichnegativelyaffectsvehicleperformanceandfuel
economy,especiallyinoldercars.[21]Becauseearlycars'carburetorswereincapableofprecisefuelairmixture
control,thecars'catalyticconverterscouldoverheatandigniteflammablematerialsunderthecar.[22]A2006test
ona1999HondaCivicshowedthatremovingthestockcatalyticconverternetteda3%increaseinhorsepowera
newmetalliccoreconverteronlycostthecar1%horsepower,comparedtonoconverter.[23]Tosomeperformance
enthusiasts,thismodestincreaseinpowerforverylittlecostencouragestheremovalor"gutting"ofthecatalytic
converter.[21][24]Insuchcases,theconvertermaybereplacedbyaweldedinsectionofordinarypipeoraflanged
"testpipe",ostensiblymeanttocheckiftheconverterisclogged,bycomparinghowtheenginerunswithand
withouttheconverter.Thisfacilitatestemporaryreinstallationoftheconverterinordertopassanemissiontest.[23]
Inmanyjurisdictions,itisillegaltoremoveordisableacatalyticconverterforanyreasonotherthanitsdirectand
immediatereplacement.IntheUnitedStates,forexample,itisaviolationofSection203(a)(3)(A)ofthe1990
CleanAirActforavehiclerepairshoptoremoveaconverterfromavehicle,orcauseaconvertertoberemoved
fromavehicle,exceptinordertoreplaceitwithanotherconverter,[25]andSection203(a)(3)(B)makesitillegalfor
anypersontosellortoinstallanypartthatwouldbypass,defeatorrenderinoperativeanyemissioncontrol
system,deviceordesignelement.Vehicleswithoutfunctioningcatalyticconvertersgenerallyfailemission
inspections.Theautomotiveaftermarketsupplieshighflowconvertersforvehicleswithupgradedengines,or
whoseownerspreferanexhaustsystemwithlargerthanstockcapacity.[26]

Warmupperiod

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Vehiclesfittedwithcatalyticconvertersemitmostoftheirtotalpollutionduringthefirstfiveminutesofengine
operationforexample,beforethecatalyticconverterhaswarmedupsufficientlytobefullyeffective.[27]

In1995,Alpinaintroducedanelectricallyheatedcatalyst.Called"EKAT,"itwasusedinAlpina'sB125,7EKAT
basedontheBMW750i.[28]Heatingcoilsinsidethecatalyticconverterassembliesareelectrifiedjustafterthe
engineisstarted,bringingthecatalystuptooperatingtemperatureveryquicklytoqualifythevehicleforlow
emissionvehicle(LEV)designation.[29]BMWlaterintroducedthesameheatedcatalyst,developedjointlyby
Emitec,AlpinaandBMW,[28]inits750iin1999.[29]

Somevehiclescontainaprecat,asmallcatalyticconverterupstreamofthemaincatalyticconverterwhichheats
upfasteronvehiclestartup,reducingtheemissionsassociatedwithcoldstarts.Aprecatismostcommonlyused
byanautomanufacturerwhentryingtoattaintheUltraLowEmissionsVehicle(ULEV)rating,suchasonthe
ToyotaMR2Roadster.[30]

Environmentalimpact

Catalyticconvertershaveproventobereliableandeffectiveinreducingnoxioustailpipeemissions.However,they
alsohavesomeshortcomingsinuse,andalsoadverseenvironmentalimpactsinproduction:

Anengineequippedwithathreewaycatalystmustrunatthestoichiometricpoint,whichmeansmorefuelis
consumedthaninaleanburnengine.Thismeansapproximately10%moreCO2emissionsfromthevehicle.
Catalyticconverterproductionrequirespalladiumorplatinumpartoftheworldsupplyoftheseprecious
metalsisproducednearNorilsk,Russia,wheretheindustry(amongothers)hascausedNorilsktobeadded
toTimemagazine'slistofmostpollutedplaces.[31]

Theft
Becauseoftheexternallocationandtheuseofvaluablepreciousmetalsincludingplatinum,palladium,rhodium
andgold,convertersareatargetforthieves.Theproblemisespeciallycommonamonglatemodeltrucksand
SUVs,becauseoftheirhighgroundclearanceandeasilyremovedboltoncatalyticconverters.Weldedon
convertersarealsoatriskoftheft,astheycanbeeasilycutoff.[32][33][34]Thetechniquesbythievestoquickly
removeaconverter,suchastheuseofaportablereciprocatingsaw,canoftendamageothercomponentsofthecar.
Damagetocomponents,suchaswiringorafuelline,canhavedangerousconsequences.Risesinmetalcostsinthe
U.S.duringrecentyearshaveledtoalargeincreaseinconvertertheft.[35]Acatalyticconvertercancostmorethan
$1,000toreplace.[36]

Diagnostics
Variousjurisdictionsnowrequireonboarddiagnosticstomonitorthefunctionandconditionoftheemissions
controlsystem,includingthecatalyticconverter.Onboarddiagnosticsystemstakeseveralforms.

Temperaturesensorsareusedfortwopurposes.Thefirstisasawarningsystem,typicallyontwowaycatalytic
converterssuchasarestillsometimesusedonLPGforklifts.Thefunctionofthesensoristowarnofcatalytic
convertertemperatureabovethesafelimitof750C(1,380F).Morerecentcatalyticconverterdesignsarenotas
susceptibletotemperaturedamageandcanwithstandsustainedtemperaturesof900C(1,650F).Temperature
sensorsarealsousedtomonitorcatalystfunctioning:usuallytwosensorswillbefitted,withonebeforethe
catalystandoneaftertomonitorthetemperatureriseoverthecatalyticconvertercore.

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Theoxygensensoristhebasisoftheclosedloopcontrolsystemonasparkignitedrichburnenginehowever,itis
alsousedfordiagnostics.InvehicleswithOBDII,asecondoxygensensorisfittedafterthecatalyticconverterto
monitortheO2levels.TheO2levelsaremonitoredtoseetheefficiencyoftheburnprocess.Theonboard
computermakescomparisonsbetweenthereadingsofthetwosensors.Thereadingsaretakenbyvoltage
measurements.IfbothsensorsshowthesameoutputortherearO2is"switching",thecomputerrecognizesthatthe
catalyticconvertereitherisnotfunctioningorhasbeenremoved,andwilloperateamalfunctionindicatorlamp
andaffectengineperformance.Simple"oxygensensorsimulators"havebeendevelopedtocircumventthis
problembysimulatingthechangeacrossthecatalyticconverterwithplansandpreassembleddevicesavailableon
theInternet.Althoughthesearenotlegalforonroaduse,theyhavebeenusedwithmixedresults.[37]Similar
devicesapplyanoffsettothesensorsignals,allowingtheenginetorunamorefueleconomicalleanburnthatmay,
however,damagetheengineorthecatalyticconverter.[38]

NOxsensorsareextremelyexpensiveandareingeneralusedonlywhenacompressionignitionengineisfitted
withaselectivecatalyticreduction(SCR)converter,oraNOxabsorbercatalystinafeedbacksystem.Whenfitted
toanSCRsystem,theremaybeoneortwosensors.Whenonesensorisfitteditwillbeprecatalystwhentwoare
fitted,thesecondonewillbepostcatalyst.Theyareusedforthesamereasonsandinthesamemannerasan
oxygensensortheonlydifferenceisthesubstancebeingmonitored.

Seealso
Catalyticheater
Cerium(III)oxide
NOxadsorber
Roadwayairdispersionmodeling

References
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Furtherreading
Keith,C.D.,etal.U.S.Patent3,441,381(https://www.google.com/patents/US3441381):"Apparatusfor
purifyingexhaustgasesofaninternalcombustionengine".29April1969
Lachman,I.M.etal.U.S.Patent3,885,977(https://www.google.com/patents/US3885977):"Anisotropic
CordieriteMonolith"(Ceramicsubstrate).5November1973
CharlesH.Bailey.U.S.Patent4,094,645(https://www.google.com/patents/US4094645):"Combination
mufflerandcatalyticconverterhavinglowbackpressure".13June1978
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catalytic_converter 10/11
3/16/2017 CatalyticconverterWikipedia

CharlesH.Bailey.U.S.Patent4,250,146(https://www.google.com/patents/US4250146):'"Caseless
monolithiccatalyticconverter".10February1981
SrinivasanGopalakrishnan.GB2397782(https://worldwide.espacenet.com/textdoc?DB=EPODOC&IDX=G
B2397782):"ProcessAndSynthesizerForMolecularEngineeringofMaterials".13March2002

Externallinks
Catalyticconverter(http://www.howstuffworks.com/catalyticconverter.htm.htm)atHowStuffWorks
Automotiveapplicationsofhightemperatureinsulationwool(http://www.ecfia.eu/benefits_automotive.htm)
CatalyticConverterPhotos(http://catalyticconverter.photos/)

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