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Catalytic Converter – How The Amazing Air Filter Saves The Environment.

Automobiles are not environment-friendly, evident from the large carbon footprint they leave behind. However, in such a scenario, a catalytic converter hops in to save the day. It helps cut down the emission of toxic gases. Moreover, a catalytic converter scrubs the exhaust using a series of chemical reactions. Thus, in this article, we shall discuss how this fantastic air filter works and its design basics.

The Catalytic Converter:

As the name suggests, the convertor catalyzes reactions that convert harmful and toxic products into relatively harmless products. Thus, to serve its purpose efficiently, the converter needs a high temperature of about 426 C. Thus, engineers place it as near to the engine as possible. The converter uses some of the most precious metals found on the earth, such as palladium, platinum, and rhodium. As these metals are rare, their usage increases the overall price of the convertor. These metals are the primary catalyst speeding up the reaction.

The Construction Of The Catalytic Converter:

Nature inspires the design of these air filters. The core has a honeycomb shape, and this shape strengthens the structure. A coat (wash-coat) covers the core and increases the surface area. Moreover, it carries oxygen promoters and catalytic elements. The promoter stores oxygen. Thus, during the reaction, these promoters decompose to release oxygen to react with the pollutants.

The Reactions Facilitated By The Converter:

There are two types of catalytic converter, categorized according to their function.

  • The Two Way Converter: This type filters out the two basic pollutants, unburnt hydrocarbons, and carbon monoxide. A series of reactions transform toxic by-products into water and CO2. However, this type of converter fails to deal with nitrogen compounds. Hence, to combat this problem, engineers developed the three-way converter. Therefore, with time the use of the “two way” declined.
  • The Three-Way Converter: The three-way converter adds another round of security. This is because it deals effectively with the oxides of nitrogen. Moreover, it uniquely achieves its function by reacting the toxic gases together. Hence, after a few textbook reactions, nitrogen, water, and CO2 are expelled.


The catalytic converter is a classic example of an air filter and its importance. The science behind the catalytic converter is easy yet very effective. The converter scrubs the exhaust by speeding up a few reactions and expels relatively harmless gases such as water and nitrogen. However, the catalytic converter can be poisoned by the usage of low quality or leaded fuel. If you are interested in air filters, then feel free to surf through our collection. For more inquiries, call us at 713-253-0100.