Catalytic Converter Essay

542 words - 2 pages

Notice when a vehicle drives by nowadays, that it is so much quieter than thoseloud oldies that pour out the blue smoke. Ever wonder just what is underneath a vehiclethat makes the new ones so much cleaner. It is called a catalytic converter. The mainfunction of a catalytic converter is to decrease pollution emitted from a vehicles exhaust.The concept behind this is to add a catalyst and force a reaction between the automobile'sexhaust and oxygen in the converter. To see just how this happens let's look inside of acatalytic converter.A catalytic converter is made up mainly of a mufflerlike chamber which containsporous, heat-resistant materials coated with either platinum or palladium. Thesematerials are known as catalysts. A catalyst is an element which although causing areaction to occur, does not change at all during the reaction. This is the idea behind acatalytic converter. The carbon monoxide gas and hydrocarbons emitted from the enginewill travel along the exhaust system until they reach they catalytic converter. There itcomes into contact with the described catalyst. This forces a reaction between thecarbon monoxide and hydrocarbons with the oxygen inside the converter creatingproducts of carbon dioxide and water vapor. The reaction which occurs inside theconverter is as follows:The main compounds involved are carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons(compounds of hydrogen and carbon), as well as oxygen. When these three arecombined with the provided catalyst, a reaction occurs as above. During the reaction theoxygen splits apart the carbon monoxide and the hydrocarbons and allows them tocombine with its elements forming the aforementioned products.The catalytic converter first made an appearance in vehicles in 1975. Thegovernment of the United...

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