Catalytic Converter

What IS Catalytic Converter In Cars & How Does It Work?

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What is a Catalytic Converter?

The catalytic converter or 'Cat-Con' is a mechanical device. It reduces the harmful emissions created in the exhaust system of an engine. It is an important device as it works with the harmful gases, which the engine creates during combustion of fuel. The main purpose of a catalytic converter is to reduce exhaust emissions.

Engine Exhaust System
Engine Exhaust System

The Cat-Con reduces the harmful exhaust gases through chemical reactions. It reacts with the harmful pollutants in the exhaust gases and turns them into lesser harmful gases. The catalytic converter consists of a special catalyst. It is made of platinum and palladium which carries out the chemical reactions.

Construction of Catalytic Converter:

The catalytic converter housing consists of a honeycomb core from inside. It is coated with precious metals such as platinum and rhodium. These metals react with the engine’s exhaust gases. They reduce the toxic contents of the gases and turn them into carbon dioxide and water.

Construction of catalytic converter
Construction of catalytic converter

At first, it reacts with the carbon monoxide generated by the combustion of gasoline. It also reacts with the hydrocarbons formed by unburned fuel and other nitrogen oxide emissions. Thus, the cat-con converts these gases into less harmful by-products which are the carbon-di-oxide, water vapor, and nitrous emissions.

Types of Catalytic Converters:

There are three different Types of Cat-Cons. The first type is the oxidation catalyst. It reduces harmful pollutants such as the carbon monoxide (CO) and fuel hydrocarbons (HC) in the exhaust. Simultaneously, it often uses a secondary air injection. However, the oxidation catalyst only reduces a portion of the pollutants.


The second type is the dual-bed catalytic-converter which offers more perfection. It works in two stages. There are two elements which are situated one behind the other. The first stage helps in reducing the amount of nitrogen oxide emissions. The second stage reacts with the hydrocarbons created by unburned fuel and carbon mono oxide. The manufacturers also provide the secondary air injection in the two-stage type cat-con.

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