Catalytic converters are devices used to convert harmful engine emmisions into desirable elements such as waper vapor,Carbon dioxide and oxygen.
The catalytic converter is located right next to the engine at the very beginning of the exhaust system. Internal combustion engines produces harmful emmisions such as Carbon monoxide, Nitrogen oxides and unburned fuel. Catalytic coverters works its magic at the atomic level, the harmful emmisions from the engine reacts from the precious metals contained on the converter. Platinum, Rhodium and Palladium are used to transform harmful molecules into oxygen and carbon dioxide.
In order for the catalytic converter to function at its peak, the precious metals has to be very hot. This heat is also harnessed from the engine exhaust, technically, catalytic converters are very inefficient on short trips. Running your car cold for the first 5 minutes wont do any good for the environment as the precious metals contained on the converter only transforms these harmful emmisions into good ones above 1,300 Fahrenheit. However, some auto makers solve this problem by installing pre-catalysts right next to the engine block so heat transfer time is less.
Catalytic converters began its production stage in 1973. Eugene Haudry, its inventor has to hold off its public introduction because the formula for fuel at that time contains an additive to prevent abnormal combustion that causes engines to knock. This additive Tetra-ethyl lead makes the catalytic converter useless as it forms a blocking coating on the converter's microducts.
In the precious metals market, prices of Palladium and Platinum are co-related to the economic activity of car sales. When car sales slump, Platinum and Palladium are among the hardest hit as the demand for new catalytic converters are dictated by the current health of the automobile market. Theft was also a problem noting that the precious metals contained on catalytic converters can be sold for a good price. Today's regulation requires the use of three way catalytic converters as a response for growing public weariness on global warming. The advent of the electric car and other alternatively powered automobiles will affect prices of Palladium and Platinum heavilly as the need for catalytic converters is redundant.
(CME : PA)