Catalytic Converter

Catalytic Converter Repair in Raleigh

The catalytic converter was created in 1950 by French inventor Eugene Houdry. By the year 1975, it became an ingenious part of the automobile that works to control gas emissions by removing much of the pollutants.

A catalytic converter works to filter gases that are produced in the auto’s engine before they are released into the atmosphere through the car’s exhaust. As a result of the catalytic converter, all cars today now use unleaded gasoline due to the fact that gas containing lead tends to clog and cause contamination of the catalytic converter, interfering with its proper function.

A cylinder shaped object generally located under the passenger seat beneath the automobile, the catalytic converter is a small, yet powerful device. It is also sometimes referred to as a “cat-con”.

How A Catalytic Converter Works

The catalytic converter contains several small ceramic cells, resembling a honeycomb. These cells are coated with special compounds that at high temperatures can react with hazardous gases. Within milliseconds, these many cells spread along the surface area to help trap these poisonous substances in a very short time frame. The poisons are then deposited on the ceramic cells, allowing the emission that is released from the car’s exhaust to be filtered and free of most of the toxins.

What Toxins Does The Catalytic Converter Filter?

The Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, has recognized three groups of gases to be considered as toxic waste. Toxic waste are substances which can cause pollution to the environment in the form of acid rain or smog, or that adversely affect human health.

The three gases include carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and unburned hydrocarbons. All of these are the result of incomplete fuel combustion within the automobile engine. These byproducts occur when nitrogen, hydrogen, and carbon molecules escape the burning process by combining with oxygen.

Three way catalytic converters, developed in 1979-1980 by the Engelhard company, work to filter these types of hazardous gases by actually using trace amounts of precious metals such as Palladium, Platinum, and Rhodium as catalysts. Catalysts work to allow chemical conversions into a more desired product to occur more quickly and at lower temperatures.

Platinum and Palladium can be used to catalyze the oxidation process. This process acts to transform dangerous carbon monoxide into a harmless vapor of water and carbon dioxide. Rhodium and Palladium function as a reduction catalyst, working to break down nitrogen compounds into simple oxygen and nitrogen.

Keep Your Catalytic Converter Functioning Properly

To keep your car’s catalytic converter running at peak performance and working efficiently, you should have occasional inspections and cleaning of the unit performed at a certified garage like Affordable Transmission & Auto Repair. Cleaning will remove any burned oil or coolant deposits that may have leaked onto the converter. Other factors such as temperature, air and fuel mixture, and performance of the engine also impact the efficiency of the catalytic converter.

The air/fuel mixture is also important because of the mixture is too weak, the converter cannot clean the emissions effectively, and if the mixture is too rich, it can become too hot, causing melting of the unit that actually prevents the emissions from exiting the unit.

Find out more about Catalytic Converters on this great YouTube video.