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Millionsof cars on the road are a source of air pollution.
The amount of pollution that all the cars produce
together can create big problems.
Government create clean-air laws that restrict the
amount of pollution that cars can produce to solve it.
Automakers have made many improvement to car
engines and fuel systems to keep up with these laws.
In 1975 an interesting device called a catalytic
converter was created.
Catalytic converter is to convert harmful pollutants into
less harmful emissions before they ever leave the car's
exhaust system.
The exhaust from the combustion in a cars
engine is comprised of six main ingredients.
1. Nitrogen gas, carbon dioxide, and water vapor
are three of the main emissions. These gases do not
cause damage to the atmosphere.
2. Carbon Monoxide, other hydrocarbons, and
Nitrogen Oxides result in a majority of the
pollution caused by cars.
Carbon Monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas that can
kill you if too much is inhaled.
Hydrocarbons come out of an engine's exhaust from
unburned fuel. These hydrocarbons can be broken down
by the sun, creating ground level ozone, also known as
Nitrogen oxides can cause acid rain.
Catalytic converters are designed to reduce
these last three emissions.
What is Catalytic Converter
A device installed on vehicle that used to
reduce the toxicity of emissions from an
internal combustion engine.

a)Location of
catalytic converter

Most commonly used in motor vehicle exhaust

systems and other engine-equipped machines.
Provides an environment for a chemical
reaction wherein toxic combustion by-products
are converted to less-toxic substances.
The catalytic converter consists of several
The core is often a ceramic/stainless steel foil honeycomb.
- increases the amount of surface area
-support the catalyst. Also called a "catalyst support.

b) Ceramic c) Stainless steel

honeycomb honeycomb
A wash coat is used to make converters
more efficient because a mixture of silica
and alumina.
-will forms a rough and irregular surface.
-more surface area.
- therefore more places for active precious
metal sites.
- The catalyst is added to the wash coat
before applied it to the core.
Platinum is the most active catalyst and is
widely used. Other material such as
Palladium and rhodium also been used.
d) Catalytic Converter
Reduction of nitrogen oxides to nitrogen and oxygen:
2NOx xO2 + N2
Oxidation of carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide:
2CO + O2 2CO2
Oxidation of unburnt hydrocarbons (HC) to
carbon dioxide and water:
CxH2x+2 + 2xO2 xCO2 + 2xH2O

Only treat carbon monoxide and unburnt hydrocarbon.
Oxidation Catalysts
-Oxidation catalysts may be fitted to either petrol
or diesel cars.
-The catalyst oxidises is effective at pollutants
formed by incomplete combustion to carbon
dioxide and water, and also for hydrocarbons,
aldehydes and carbon monoxide. However, they
do not reduce NOx emissions.
Negative aspects

Restrictionto the flow of exhaust will cause

negatively affected vehicle performance, and
fuel economy.
Although catalytic converters are effective at
removing hydrocarbons but most of the release
gas through it is carbon dioxide (CO2).

- external location
-valuable metal (platinum, palladium, and
The catalytic converter is a great
thing to have on a car because of
its ability to help save the
environment from those harmful