Catalytic converters are a crucial component in reducing harmful emissions from cars. Its uses a combination of chemical reactions to convert toxic gases into less harmful emissions, which is better for the environment
How They Work
Catalytic converters work by using a honeycomb-like structure made of a ceramic material that is coated with various metals, such as platinum, palladium, and rhodium. These metals act as catalysts, speeding up the chemical reactions that occur inside the converter.
When exhaust gases from the engine pass through the catalytic converter, they come into contact with the catalysts, which cause a series of chemical reactions to take place. The harmful gases, such as carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and nitrogen oxides, are converted into less harmful gases, such as carbon dioxide, water vapour, and nitrogen gas.
There are two main types of catalytic converters, two-way and three-way converters. Two-way converters have two tasks, which is to convert carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide by oxidation, and convert hydrocarbons to carbon dioxide and water by oxidation. Three-way converters have another task in addition to the two existing ones, which is to reduce nitrogen oxide down to just nitrogen.
Why They’re Important
Catalytic converters are a crucial part of modern cars because they significantly reduce the amount of harmful emissions that are released into the environment. Without these devices, cars and other vehicles would emit significantly more pollutants, contributing to worse air pollution and negatively impacting the health of people.
Catalytic converters are almost mandatory in all countries, with countries having tighter and tighter restrictions on how much emissions a car can have, or else the car won’t be legal to drive on roads.
Effect on Cars
To ensure that the exhaust gases of your car are less harmful to the environment and people, catalytic converters are present on most modern cars. There too are some downsides to this, such as cars having less power since they are forcing the engine to do more work.
To produce catalytic converters, various precious metals are needed. To mine these precious metals, there is also mass pollution at these sites, which is quite contradicting to the use of catalytic converters.
Also because of the value of the precious metals used in catalytic converters, they have also become a source of theft, with thieves stealing and selling catalytic converters for money. Replacing a catalytic converter also isn’t cheap, so this raises another problem for car owners as they have another worry.