If you are willing to know what is a catalytic converter and most importantly how it performs then, unfortunately, we will have to start with history, don’t worry, we’ll keep it short.
The emissions from the vehicle exhaust can have harmful effects on humans and their surroundings. It was suspected for a long time, but the recent scandal of Volkswagen emissions gave rise to the issue.
The United States became the first country to recognize this and bring out the law that all the vehicles must be fitted with a converter that would limit the potential damage. That converter is known as a catalytic converter.
I. What is a catalytic converter?
The catalytic converter is simply an exhaust emission control device which reduces toxic gases. It reduces air pollution; modern automobiles are equipped with it, which reduces emissions of harmful compounds.
The first catalytic converter was introduced in 1950. It was invented by French engineer Eugene Houdry. However, it was used widely in cars and trucks only in 1975.
II. What does catalytic converter do?
The basic job of a catalytic converter is to eliminate unburned fuel and potentially dangerous compounds from the exhaust before they can reach the environment.
If these toxic gases are not removed, then it can have dangerous effects on the environment. This device is specially designed to reduce the emissions of the vehicle and greenhouse gases. However, if the converter is not working properly, and some issue arises, then the effect is very clear that even the driver sitting inside can easily notice it.
The converter focuses on reducing three compounds, which are:
Hydrocarbons are the leftover compounds of gasoline, and if they are not burnt by the engine properly, then they can enter into the atmosphere causing serious effects. It can cause harmful clouds of smog to form.
Nitrogen oxide is formed by combining two forces; oxygen and nitrogen, while the heat in engine is still running. It is a very bad gas for the environment. It causes smog and forms a pool of cloud that falls on earth as acid rain.
Carbon monoxide is formed by the heat of the engine during the work done. This gas is the most dangerous and poisonous, especially to the mammals who breathe oxygen – which include humans.
Related Post: How Long Do Catalytic Converters Last
III. How does a catalytic converter work?
The catalytic converter looks just like a muffler. It is fitted between the engine and the muffler, located at the part of the exhaust system. An oxygen sensor is necessarily installed before and after the converter. The catalytic converter works very silently throughout.
A catalytic converter uses a catalyst which is a combination of platinum, palladium, and rhodium. A ceramic honeycomb inside a metal casing is attached with the exhaust pipe which is coated with these metals. The honeycomb structure has its advantages. It provides a maximum surface area on which several reduction and oxidation reactions can take place while using the least amount of catalyst.
The device converts carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide; nitrogen oxides are broken into nitrogen and oxygen. And hydrocarbons are converted into carbon dioxide and water.
At first, the catalytic converter uses a reduction catalyst to reduce the nitrous oxides. Whenever the molecules of nitrous oxide pass through the converter, the catalyst helps to remove the nitrogen atom and allows the free oxygen to form oxygen gas.
And at the second stage, the converter uses the oxidative catalyst, which decreases emissions of carbon monoxide and unburned hydrocarbons.
Related Post: Driving With a Bad Catalytic Converter
IV. Pros and Cons of removing a catalytic converter
A clear benefit of the catalytic converter is that it protects the environment from dangerous gases.
Here are a few pros and cons of removing a catalytic converter:
- After removing a catalytic converter, some models experience an increase in horsepower. So you can generate more horsepower without it.
- A converter must work harder to achieve the same energy as it does without the device. Removing it will lessen the burden, and you can achieve better gas mileage.
- Your exhaust sounds better after removing the converter. The sound your vehicle emits is healthier, deeper, and distinctive.
- The converter eliminated options of using leaded fuel, but once you take this device away, you can find several high-performance fuels for your engine.
- Even a person with little knowledge of cars and tools can easily remove it at home. It is a very easy task to do at home.
Read Also: How to Unclog a Catalytic Converter
- In the United States, it is illegal to remove your catalytic converter without reason. You have to go through a lot of procedure to legally perform this. You might even get serious fines if your vehicle is without this device.
- The fault code in your vehicle may be triggered by removing a catalytic converter.
- By removing a catalytic converter, you might experience leakage of harmful gasses in the atmosphere. The carbon monoxide can affect your lungs and even cause a headache.
- The catalytic converter does stop not only harmful gases but also reduces the consumption of fuel. After removing the catalytic converter, you will have to pay more for the fuel.
- To pass the visual test, it is important to have a catalytic converter in your vehicle. The testers are there to report failures like this. Failure can also cause your vehicle to be seized.
- Removing your catalytic converter may experience loss in low-end torque while operating the vehicle. Since it is only beneficial for off-road vehicles so the benefit might not be of your type.
The pros and cons of removing the catalytic converter involve performance and aesthetics. You will notice changes in the performance, and you will have to pay more for the fuel after the device is gone. So choosing the action is at your own risk.
A catalytic converter is responsible for the burning and ignition of the gases that remain unburned after several reactions. Unites States has made this device essential for all vehicles with the 1975 and onward model. They help with the performance of the vehicle and keep the environment clean.