How Catalytic Converters Work

As our nation’s growth was kicking into high gear and the automobile was both revered and found to be a cause of a problem, particularly in cities, the interest in finding a way to deal with the pollution came to the forefront. The catalyst that spurred Eugene Houdry, a French mechanical engineer, to invent catalytic converters was a smog study in Los Angeles in the 1950s. He founded Oxy-Catalyst to research and develop catalytic converters for warehouse forklifts and automobiles and received a U.S. patent for his work. Unfortunately, catalytic converters were not widely adopted at that time, as that didn’t come until emission control regulations came into being several years later.

auto catalytic converters inspection and repair

Catalytic converters work to reduce emissions through the use of a catalyst core that is generally a ceramic monolith that has a honeycomb structure. There are some made with a metallic core, but this is not the most common type. The other interior component of catalytic converters is the washcoat, which is the carrier for dispersal. A variety of materials can be used, including a mixture of silica and alumina, aluminum oxide, silicon dioxide, and titanium dioxide. The core and washcoat are housed in the catalyst body, which is generally made from platinum, but there are some models made with other materials such as rhodium, palladium, and other precious metals.

How Catalytic Converters Work

Catalytic converters perform three simultaneous tasks – the reduction of nitrogen oxides to oxygen and nitrogen, oxidizing carbon monoxide to become carbon dioxide, and oxidizing unburned hydrocarbons to water and carbon dioxide. When damage has occurred, this process does not successfully happen and unfavorable results occur, making it critical to replace catalytic converters when emissions testing and other symptoms indicate failure.

Here at Scotties Muffler Shop, we have the necessary experience to diagnose problems with catalytic converters and resolve the problem. Not only will you benefit by improved fuel economy and acceleration performance, you’ll have peace of mind that you are not contributing to smog and environmental contamination. Contact us today to have your vehicle’s exhaust inspected and get an honest evaluation.