Catalytic Converters of Harmful to Harmless

Pollution is one of the major problems we face in today’s world. The environment has been disturbed and the once clean water we drink and fresh air we breathe are now contaminated by harmful substances. As much as we would want to, we cannot deny that industrialization and the evolution of technology are some of the main causes of pollution. Life becomes more convenient at the expense of the environment. That is why new ways are being formulated to help reduce pollution.

Air pollution is mainly caused by harmful emissions of vehicles. As the number of vehicles increase, so does air pollution. Since the increase of automotives cannot be prevented due to the increase of demand from the population, other alternatives of reducing air pollution have been made. Throughout the years, automakers have searched and found ways to reduce the harmful emissions of vehicles. One of the devices they have come up with is the catalytic converter.

The catalytic converter is a device that cleans the gas which passes through the exhaust system of a vehicle. It works by converting harmful pollutants into less harmful substances before emission. For example, it converts carbon monoxide, which is known to be harmful, into carbon dioxide which is harmless.

Catalytic converters are typically made of metal or ceramic honeycombed monolith substrate that contains metal catalysts. An intumescent mat wraps the substrate. When heated, this mat expands, insulating the substrate which is perfectly fitted into the exhaust system. Chemical reactions occur when the gases passes over the catalyst. These reactions convert pollutants into water and harmless gas. The catalyst is usually a mixture of different noble metals like platinum, rhodium, and palladium. Scientifically, what really happens during the reactions is this: hydrocarbons react with oxygen and produces carbon dioxide; nitrogen oxides react with carbon monoxide to produce carbon dioxide and nitrogen; and react with hydrogen to produce water vapor and nitrogen.

Studies made on the efficiency of the device have shown that indeed, catalytic converters are capable of reducing the emission of harmful gases that cause air pollution. As automotive technology is improving, new adjustments and improvements to this device are also made to enhance its ability to reduce harmful emissions. New vehicles are still being produced daily, but they are now equipped with latest technology of emission control. Thanks to the inventors of catalytic converters, we can now enjoy the luxury of buying new cars without having to worry about the negative effects it might have to the environment.