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The Basic Science Of Catalytic Converters

Sep 8th 2015 at 3:19 AM

In this age and date, being environmentally sensitive has become somewhat of a cult that defines the social standing of a person. Not taking this article to psychologically anthropologic proportions any deeper than this, let the discussion remain limited to the use and science of catalytic converters. Of course, these devices have everything to do with environmental revolution taking place in so many different ways, today. Some half a century ago it was decided that something needed to be done about the pollution rising in the air. It would have been expected from the authorities to address the issue at the source – the vehicles, factories and fossil fuels – instead, another expenditure and mandate got stamped onto the faces of the consumers. This mandate was the legendary catalytic converter.

The science that goes into installing a catalytic converter into a vehicle and having the harmful exhaust lose all its arsenal and armour revolves around chemical reactions. In order to be effective, these chemical reactions need high temperatures. If your catalytic converter is delivering at low efficiency, it is probably because either the winter season or that you don’t drive your car far enough for it to heat up that much.

The chemistry of catalytic converter involves two processes – oxidation and reduction. There are two separate layers provided in the construction of this device, one for each aforementioned process. The platinum group metals are then used as the top coat to these layers so that the reactions can get started when suitable temperature is reached. In the first stage of reactions, there is a reducing action. It is aimed at nitrogen oxides, and reduces them to nitrogen and oxides which are less harmful. The second stage, it is the turn of carbon monoxide. This particular gas is especially harmful as it causes choking. Carbon monoxide is oxidized to carbon dioxide, which is less harmful (the resultant carbon gas is responsible for greenhouse effect, which is yet another global environment issue that can potentially drown our planet.) The third stage targets unburnt hydrocarbons. Everyone knows why hydrocarbons are bad – in layman’s terms, they drill holes in our Ozone layer. If there is a vehicle that can run on fuels other than the ones derived from fossilized remains, go for it.

The presence of reactive compounds in a catalytic converter makes it prone to running out and dying off. Although it is a very good pollution control method, recycling a catalytic converter becomes necessary after some time. The salvage value may not be much, but whatever chemical compounds remain inside the device, unused, are extracted and recycled in new pieces. Metal scrap from catalytic converter is utilized in other applications that employ recycled materials. Catalytic converter buyers are actually efficient to the point where six to seven percent of the elements are safely extracted and reused. It may not sound like much, but from a dead device, this quantity is a good deal. Count many hundreds of other dead devices and you have plenty material to use for the brand new ones.

Recycling catalytic converter is the best way to be rid of your malfunctioning device – you will not have to deal with the guilt feeling of burdening the earth, and you’ll also earn from it. To know more, visit

About The Author

Tom Blake is an expert in recycling catalytic converters who also likes to write many interesting articles and blogs, helping people in understanding the process and the many advantages that stem from it. In the US, he recommends as the most trusted specialist for this job.

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