Q:

How much platinum is in a catalytic converter?

A:

Platinum content in catalytic converters can differ significantly depending on the year the catalytic converter was fabricated and the type of vehicle. Small cars usually average 1 to 2 grams per car, while larger trucks can have as much as 12 to 15 grams.

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Catalytic converters are a nonhomogeneous product; there are broad spectrum variances in metallurgic makeup and consistency. Composition is dependent on engine displacement and type of fuel used. Varying market prices for platinum and supply and demand fluctuations have impacted the amount of platinum used in catalytic converters over the years, as it is really a ratio or mixture of platinum, palladium and rhodium. This platinum metal mixture is commonly referred to as PGMs, or platinum group metals.

Catalytic converters are part of the vehicle emissions control system and are used in internal combustion engines, whether fueled by gasoline or diesel. Platinum functions as a catalyst to accelerate chemical reactions used to convert harmful vehicle emissions into less harmful substances. The catalytic converter was first invented by French mechanical engineer Eugene Houdry in the 1950s, who was prompted into his research by early studies of smog in Los Angeles. However, the first official catalytic converter in production for automobiles was not developed until 1973.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What does a catalytic converter do?

    A:

    Catalytic converters are emissions devices in vehicles that convert the harmful components in the engine's exhaust gas into harmless ones. This significantly reduces the amount of pollutants that a vehicle releases into the atmosphere. Catalytic converters are muffler-shaped and lie within the exhaust, and they contain catalysts, such as palladium and platinum, arranged in a honeycomb shape that react with the harmful components in the exhaust stream.

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  • Q:

    How does a catalytic converter work?

    A:

    Catalytic converters use a reduction and an oxidation catalyst organized in a honeycomb structure to react with the harmful emissions present in exhaust gas. The reduction catalyst converts nitrogen dioxide into nitrogen and oxygen, while the oxidation catalyst converts the unburned hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide.

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  • Q:

    What is catalytic converter recycling?

    A:

    Catalytic converter recycling is the process of removing valuable metals from a broken device, such as platinum, rhodium, and titanium, so they can be reused in other products. Because of the value of the minerals used in converters, recycling them can be very lucrative.

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  • Q:

    What are the symptoms of a bad catalytic converter?

    A:

    A failed catalytic converter affects engine performance and fuel economy. With a plugged converter, pressing on the accelerator does not increase the speed. The engine backfires, and the car jerks while driving down the road.

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