Nitrogen oxide spoils the environment when it reacts with oxygen; however, the catalytic converter breaks it up, reducing the amount of nitrogen oxide being released. In the reaction 2CO + O2 → 2CO2, oxygen is added to carbon monoxide to create carbon dioxide, which is practically harmless. Oxygen is also added in the reaction CxH2x+2 + [(3x+1)/2]O2 → xCO2 + (x+1)H2O to unburnt hydrocarbons in order to create carbon dioxide and water, which are again harmless. Catalytic converters play a major role in assisting in the reactions in order to change the products by rearranging and breaking up the
Introduction Catalytic converters are an integral part of converting much of the pollution that comes out of a car’s exhaust. Almost every car since the year 1970 has come with a catalytic converter in order to reduce harmful emissions. I chose to explain the function and chemistry behind the catalytic converter because I have an interest in cars and I wanted to know more about them. Background In order to understand how catalytic converters work, one must understand that air and fuel burn in a car’s engine best at a specific ratio. The ratio for gasoline burning vehicles is approximately 14.7 pounds of air to one pound of gasoline.
The converters used on the smoke stacks prevent toxic byproducts entering the atmosphere, just as the converters would do for the automobile exhausts. The converters worked great for the smoke stacks in the industrial environment; however there was a major setback for the catalytic converters for automobile exhausts. The lead that was used in the gasoline back in that day, the early 1900’s, “damaged the catalyst and rendered the converter useless. (Adams & Dumas, n.d.). Eventually, in 1973, “the Environmental Protection Agency made leaded gasoline illegal” (Adams & Dumas, n.d.).
Water vapor is the other product of combusion. The hydrogen in the fuel bonds with the oxygen in the air to form water vapor. However, the combustion process is never perfect, so some smaller amounts of more harmful emissions are also produced in car engines. They include carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons or volatile organic compounds, and nitrogen oxides. These are the three main regulated emissions, and also the ones that catalytic converters are designed to reduce.
Catalytic Converters Notice when a vehicle drives by nowadays, that it is so much quieter than those loud oldies that pour out the blue smoke. Ever wonder just what is underneath a vehicle that makes the new ones so much cleaner. It is called a catalytic converter. The main function of a catalytic converter is to decrease pollution emitted from a vehicles exhaust. The concept behind this is to add a catalyst and force a reaction between the automobile's exhaust and oxygen in the converter.
The third type of pollutant is carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas against which humans have no protection. Carbon monoxide comes from the exhaust of gasoline-powered vehicles and secondarily from industrial processes. Hemoglobin, which is in the blood, combines with carbon monoxide and carries less oxygen to body tissues causing health and heart effects. Some health problems come from the exhaust fumes leaking into the interior of the automobile.
Maybe if everyone knew how serious this pollution problem is, they would find ways to reduce the pollution. Most pollution that is released by cars comes from the exhaust, mainly in the form of hydrocarbons(1 factsheet, OMS-5). Hydrocarbons are organic compounds ,a combination of two or more elements, that contain only carbon and hydrogen (2 factsheet, OMS-5). Hydrocarbons are released when fuel in the engine burns partially. When hydrocarbons come in contact with sunlight they form ground level ozone.