Chemistry Put to Work: Catalytic Converters (Chapter 14)
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Catalytic converters have become a major importance in our world’s fight for global warming. Why? Because these catalytic converters are greatly reducing the amount of air pollution coming from the exhausts of our automobiles. “Two components of automobile exhausts that help form photochemical smog are nitrogen oxides and unburned hydrocarbons. In addition, automobile exhaust may contain considerable quantities of carbon monoxide” (Brown, LeMay, Bursten, Murphy, & Woodward, 2012). However, adding catalytic converters to the exhaust of automobiles will cause a chemical reaction to occur and help somewhat prevent the amount of pollution that exits the exhaust.
“In the mid-1900’s, a man by the name Eugene Houdry began developing a catalytic converter after witnessing large amounts of smog in American cities” (Adams & Dumas, n.d.). The first catalytic converters that were made were used for the smoke stacks in the industrial environments. 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.). This greatly helped the cause for catalytic converters to be used in automobiles now that lead had been eliminated from gasoline, no longer making the catalytic converters useless.
The purpose of the catalytic converter...
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...wing, the amount of pollutants that come from the exhausts of automobiles can almost be nonexistent.
Adams, D. & Dumas E. (n.d.). Improving the effectiveness of catalytic converters via reductions of cold start emissions. Retrieved from: http://188.8.131.52/eng12/history/spring2013/pdf/3150.pdf
Brown, T.L., LeMay, H.E., Bursten, B.E., Murphy, C.J., & Woodward, P.M. (2012) Chemistry: The chemistry science. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
Belcastro, E.L. (23 April 2012). Life Cycle Analysis of a Ceramic Three-Way Converter. Retrieved from: http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/theses/available/etd-05072012- 130457/unrestricted/Belcastro_EL_T_2012.pdf
Coxworth, B. (28 January 2014). New catalytic converter could make cars cleaner, more fuel efficient and less expensive. Gizmag. Retrieved from http://www.gizmag.com/more- effective-catalytic-converter/30636/