Catalytic Converter

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by Stoddardj
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Catalytic Converter

Houdry was a French mechanical engineer and expert in catalytic oil refining. He became concerned with automobile and industrial air pollution and founded the company, Oxy-Catalyst. The first type of catalytic converter he produced was used in smokestacks and forklifts at industrial sites. As time passed on, research was carried out to use the technology in car engines. One major obstacle restricting the widespread use of catalytic converters in the mid 1950's was the presence of tetraethyllead in gasoline. The lead from this in the gasoline would disable the catalyst by forming a coat over its surface. After this was banned from gasoline, catalytic converter's use became widespread.

Relation to Chemistry

1950 - Invented1955 - Research for use in cars started1970 - Used in gas turbines/engines1973 - Used in factories

Catalytic converters use a coating of aluminum oxide to house precious metals which react with the toxic fumes. The converter utilizes simple oxidation reactions to convert the toxins into less harmful gases. These reactions involve the loss and gaining of electrons between compounds to form new compounds.

Lasting Impact

One of the most evident impacts of the catalytic converter is the reduction in toxins in the air, as well as a reduction in air pollution. Global warming is also being slowed by the reduced output of Nitrous oxide, although the converter does not eliminate it altogether.


Chemwiki. UC Davis, n.d. Web. 1 June 2014. "Catalytic Converters." Catalytic Converters. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 June 2014.

Catalytic Converter

Eugene Houdry

Dates to note

Catalytic Converter Deconstructed


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