SEP 27, 2016 04:39 AM PDT

The Chemistry of a Catalytic Converter


When a car's engine is running, it produces smoke as a result of the combustion that powers the car. If this exhaust was allowed to flow freely into the environment, pollution would be epic. In order to mitigate the toxicity of the fumes, cars are equipped with catalytic converters. In chemistry, a catalyst is needed to speed up a chemical reaction. It's necessary in a car, because the reaction has to be fast to allow the car to function normally.

Catalytic converters use precious metals, specifically platinum, to speed up the redox reaction (oxidation and reduction) that converts the toxic fumes to less harmful vapors. How it works is that platinum is very strong and doesn't get destroyed in the reaction, and can withstand the very high temperatures of a combustion engine. Because of its properties, a catalytic converter can last the life of a car.
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
JUL 18, 2018
Videos
JUL 18, 2018
Brain Differences in Men and Women
Men and women are different, of that there is no doubt. In neuroscience, there has been a lot of research into these differences, as they relate to treatin...
JUL 22, 2018
Videos
JUL 22, 2018
How far can a single breath can go?
Longest distance swam underwater in one breath by a female using fins. Can you imagine being the Guinness World record-holder of that title? Marina Kazanko...
JUL 23, 2018
Space & Astronomy
JUL 23, 2018
Earth is Pretty Small Compared to Everything Else in Space
To you and I, the Earth might seem like a large place. But in astronomical terms, our planet is actually quite small. Comparatively, the gas giant planets...
JUL 25, 2018
Videos
JUL 25, 2018
How Dangerous is a Lightning Strike to an Airplane?
Lightning frequently strikes airplanes as they fly through the clouds thousands of feet above the Earth’s surface, but is there any reason for airpla...
JUL 30, 2018
Videos
JUL 30, 2018
Is it Good to Open Your Windows During a Hurricane?
You might’ve heard the idea that opening your windows during a hurricane can reduce the stress on your home’s roof and walls as it’s bein...
AUG 08, 2018
Videos
AUG 08, 2018
A Harbinger of Hope for Alzheimer's Patients?
The search for effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease is ongoing, but overall, hasn’t been productive. Many companies, like pharmaceutica...
Loading Comments...