Catalytic Converters – What are they?
Pollution is a serious problem that has been caused by various advancements in technology. Some of the most harmful pollutants are caused by modern conveniences that humans have come to rely upon to live everyday life. The most offensive pollutant to the earth is the exhaust created by combustion engines. This pollution is so toxic that it has begun eating the ozone layer, or the layer of our atmosphere that protects us from the harmful, violent rays of the sun. While some sunlight is great for our health, certain rays are detrimental to human life. The ozone layer protects us from receiving large amounts of these rays. Sadly, the vehicles we drive every day to make our lives easier, are causing us more exposure to these deadly rays.
Most people are familiar with commonly maintained car parts. However, not many people are familiar with their catalytic converter. The catalytic converter is part of your emissions system. Its job is to reduce the number of pollutants that are released by your vehicle.
More recently, catalytic converters have been placed in kerosene heaters and stoves, but they are mostly known for their use in vehicles. Since millions of cars travel the roads each day, air pollution is at an all time high. The catalytic converter on a car reduces the number of pollutants that a car releases into the atmosphere.
The catalytic converter serves three main purposes. The first is to reduce the number of nitrogen oxides, oxygen, and elemental nitrogen into the atmosphere. The second is to oxidize carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide, which is less toxic. The third is to oxidize hydrocarbons and turn them into carbon dioxide and water. In some areas, if a vehicle is found not to have a catalytic converter on it, the owner is fined or the car is impounded.
Catalytic Converters are Mandatory
Because of the amount of air pollution, governments have instated laws mandating that vehicles have catalytic converters installed, or that vehicles are manufactured with them installed. Even though they are simple devices in comparison to other components of a car, they are one of the most important parts, considering the damage that has already been done to the ozone layer. The catalytic converter prevents the engine from releasing smog into the air, which is known for having toxic effects to humans and to plant life.
Catalytic Converters Do Not Remove All Pollutants
Catalytic converters do not have the capable of removing all pollutants from the emissions system of the vehicle. However, it is capable of filtering the emissions and reducing what is released from the vehicle. It can also convert harmful exhaust fumes into less harmful fumes. A healthy catalytic converter reduces a number of harmful toxins by at least 98%.
How Catalytic Converters Work
Catalytic Converters work by oxidizing and reducing the toxic chemicals produced by the combustion in a gasoline engine. It removes chemicals like carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and hydrocarbons that are damaging to the environment and to the ozone layer. A catalytic converter is made up of between 4 to 9 grams of precious metals, including platinum, palladium, and rhodium. These precious metals are part of what makes it possible for the catalytic converters to carry out its function in reducing the pollutants released by car exhaust.