catalytic converter is an exhaust emission control device that converts toxic gases and pollutants in exhaust gas from an internal combustion engine into less-toxic pollutants by catalyzing a redox reaction. Catalytic converters are usually used with internal combustion engines fueled by gasoline or diesel, including lean-burn engines, and sometimes on kerosene heaters and stoves.

The first widespread introduction of catalytic converters was in the United States automobile market. To comply with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s stricter regulation of exhaust emissions, most gasoline-powered vehicles starting with the 1975 model year are equipped with catalytic converters

  • The catalyst support or substrate. For automotive catalytic converters, the core is usually a ceramic monolith that has a honeycomb structure (commonly square, not hexagonal). (Prior to the mid 1980s, the catalyst material was deposited on a packed bed of alumina pellets in early GM applications.) Metallic foil monoliths made of Kanthal (FeCrAl)[16] are used in applications where particularly high heat resistance is required.[16] The substrate is structured to produce a large surface area. The cordierite ceramic substrate used in most catalytic converters was invented by Rodney Bagley, Irwin Lachman, and Ronald Lewis at Corning Glass, for which they were inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2002.[4]
  • The washcoat. A washcoat is a carrier for the catalytic materials and is used to disperse the materials over a large surface area. Aluminum oxide, titanium dioxide, silicon dioxide, or a mixture of silica and alumina can be used. The catalytic materials are suspended in the washcoat prior to applying to the core. Washcoat materials are selected to form a rough, irregular surface, which increases the surface area compared to the smooth surface of the bare substrate.[17]
  • The catalyst itself is most often a mix of precious metals, mostly from the platinum group. Platinum is the most active catalyst and is widely used, but is not suitable for all applications because of unwanted additional reactions and high cost. Palladium and rhodium are two other precious metals used. Rhodium is used as a reduction catalyst, palladium is used as an oxidation catalyst, and platinum is used both for reduction and oxidation. Cerium, iron, manganese, and nickel are also used, although each has limitations. Nickel is not legal for use in the European Union because of its reaction with carbon monoxide into toxic nickel tetracarbonyl.[citation needed] Copper can be used everywhere except Japan.[clarification needed]

Upon failure, a catalytic converter can be recycled into scrap. The precious metals inside the converter, including platinum, palladium, and rhodium, are extracted

For compression-ignition (i.e., diesel) engines, the most commonly used catalytic converter is the diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC). DOCs contain palladium and/or platinum supported on alumina. This catalyst converts particulate matter (PM), hydrocarbons, and carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide and water. These converters often operate at 90 percent efficiency, virtually eliminating diesel odor and helping reduce visible particulates. These catalysts are ineffective for NOx, so NOx emissions from diesel engines are controlled by exhaust gas recirculation (EGR).

In 2010, most light-duty diesel manufacturers in the U.S. added catalytic systems to their vehicles to meet federal emissions requirements. Two techniques have been developed for the catalytic reduction of NOx emissions under lean exhaust conditions, selective catalytic reduction (SCR) and the NOx adsorber.

Metal honeycomb substrates used in catalytic converters are made from extremely thin metal foil, typically with a thickness of just 0.05mm. By comparison the walls of a ceramic substrate may be four times thicker. For this reason, metal substrates offer less resistance to gas flow and therefore can accommodate a given flow rate with a lower pressure drop than an equivalent ceramic substrate.

Diesel Dpf Diesel particulate filtering was first considered in the 1970s due to concerns regarding the impacts of inhaled particulates.[11] Particulate filters have been in use on non-road machines since 1980, and in automobiles since 1985.[12][13] Historically medium and heavy duty diesel engine emissions were not regulated until 1987 when the first California Heavy Truck rule was introduced capping particulate emissions at 0.60 g/BHP Hour.[14] Since then, progressively tighter standards have been introduced for light- and heavy-duty roadgoing diesel-powered vehicles and for off-road diesel engines. Similar regulations have also been adopted by the European Union and some indiv