Catalytic Converter

A catalytic converter (colloquially, "cat" or "catcon") is a vehicle emissions control device which converts toxic byproducts of combustion in the exhaust of an internal combustion engine to less toxic substances by way of catalysed chemical reactions. The specific reactions vary with the type of catalyst installed. Most present-day vehicles that run on gasoline are fitted with a "three way" converter, so named because it converts the three main pollutants in automobile exhaust: an oxidizing reaction converts carbon monoxide (CO) and unburned hydrocarbons (HC) to CO2 and water vapour, and a reduction reaction converts oxides of nitrogen (NOx) to produce CO2, nitrogen (N2), and water (H2O).

The first widespread introduction of catalytic converters was in the United States market, where 1975 model year gasoline-powered automobiles were so equipped to comply with tightening U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations on automobile exhaust emissions. These were "two-way" converters which combined carbon monoxide (CO) and unburned hydrocarbons (HC) to produce carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O). Two-way catalytic converters of this type are now considered obsolete, having been supplanted except on lean burn engines by "three-way" converters which also reduce oxides of nitrogen (NOx).

Catalytic converters are still most commonly used in exhaust systems in automobiles, but are also used on generator sets, forklifts, mining equipment, trucks, buses, locomotives, motorcycles, airplanes and other engine-fitted devices. They are also used on some wood stoves to control emissions. This is usually in response to government regulation, either through direct environmental regulation or through health and safety regulations.

Catalytic oxidization is also used, but for the purpose of safe, flameless generation of heat rather than destruction of pollutants, in catalytic heaters.

Read more about Catalytic Converter:  History, Construction, Installation, Damage, Regulations, Negative Aspects, Theft, Diagnostics

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Benefits of Air–fuel Ratio Metering
... ratio of 14.71 (for gasoline engines) allows the catalytic converter to operate at maximum efficiency ... to maximize the efficiency and life of the catalytic converter ... ratio, manufacturers must focus on emissions and especially catalytic converter life (which must now be 100,000 miles (160,000 km) on new vehicles) as a higher priority due to U.S ...
Oxygen Sensor - Automotive Applications
... to employ this technology in the late 1970s, along with the three-way catalyst used in the catalytic converter ... engines use oxygen sensors and catalytic converters in order to reduce exhaust emissions ... or silicates, for example, can lead to damage of an automobile's catalytic converter and expensive repairs ...
Secondary Air Injection - Development
... of unburned and partially burned fuel in the exhaust stream shrank, and particularly when the catalytic converter was introduced, the function of secondary air injection shifted ... to support the efficient function of the catalytic converter ... extra-rich exhaust and raises the temperature of the exhaust so as to bring the catalytic converter to operating temperature quickly ...
Carl D. Keith - Catalytic Converter
... The converters available at the time were oxidation catalysts, which could handle hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide, but were ineffective in reducing nitrogen oxides ... Rhodium in a ceramic honeycomb with tiny passages coated with the catalytic material ... when it was needed, allowing all three pollutants to be removed in a single catalytic component ...
Catalytic Converter - Diagnostics
... function and condition of the emissions-control system, including the catalytic converter ... The first is as a warning system, typically on two-way catalytic converters such as are still sometimes used on LPG forklifts ... The function of the sensor is to warn of catalytic converter temperature above the safe limit of 750 °C (1,380 °F) ...