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What metal is in a catalytic converter?

    What metal is in a catalytic converter

    A catalytic converter is a device that uses catalyzed or accelerated chemical reactions to convert toxic vehicle emissions into less harmful gasses. Catalytic converters are used in the exhaust systems of most modern vehicles, including automobiles, lorries, buses, trains, motorbikes, and planes. Catalytic converters actually have some precious metals, which help turn toxic vehicle emissions into less harmful ones. So you may be thinking, what metal is in a catalytic converter? 

    Catalytic converts actually contain small amounts of precious metals like rhodium, palladium, and platinum, making them highly valued. Currently, palladium is utilized in catalytic converters for gasoline-powered vehicles, with 2-7 grams per converter, depending on the vehicle. Platinum has a lesser temperature tolerance; hence it is generally utilized in diesel and hybrid automobiles.

    Let’s get to know more about metals in Catalytic converters and why precious metals are used in them!

    What metal is in a catalytic converter?

    The platinum-group metals include platinum, rhodium, and palladium, all utilized in the catalytic converter. They accelerate chemical reactions without altering their own chemical structure, which is useful in the case of cleaning automobile emissions.

    Platinum can be used as a catalyst for both oxidation and reduction. Due to platinum’s ability to catalyze a wide range of reactions, it has become an essential component in many industries. Palladium is a catalyst for oxidation, while rhodium is a catalyst for reduction.

    Cerium, iron, manganese, and nickel are employed in certain instances. Nonetheless, some businesses prohibit the usage of a few of these.

    What metal is in a catalytic converter that makes it so expensive?

    Catalytic converters contain platinum, rhodium, and palladium, which are known as platinum-group metals. These are used to minimize the car engine’s harmful emissions.

    The typical catalytic converter includes between 2 and 7 grams of these valuable metals. On the market, catalytic converter precious metals can fetch anything from $100 to $1,000.

    Why are precious metals used in catalytic converters?

    The catalytic converter of a vehicle controls and decreases harmful exhaust gasses and pollutants, including nitrous oxide. A chemical reaction occurs at high temperatures to remove the most harmful components of these exhaust gasses. A catalyst makes this chemical reaction more effective and accelerates it.

    So, Copper, cerium, iron, nickel, manganese, platinum, palladium, and rhodium all possess the necessary chemical composition for exhaust system catalysts; however, the first five are either too soft or corrode too easily to be efficient catalysts. 

    This leaves platinum, palladium, and rhodium, which are utilized in catalytic converters as a result.

    How much platinum is in a catalytic converter?

    Platinum is usually 6-30 grams in catalytic converters in large-engine SUVs, trucks, and diesel vehicles. Actually, platinum is mainly used in diesel vehicles and large vehicles only because of its lower temperature tolerance than palladium. 

    However, if it is used in cars, motorcycles, and light-duty trucks, then its amount ranges between 2-6 grams, depending on the manufacturer. 

    Read Also: What could be causing my brake to make that noise?

    How much rhodium is in a catalytic converter?

    Rhodium content in catalytic converters ranges from 1-2 grams, with a typical catalytic unit weighing 1.2 kilograms (2.2 pounds). Rhodium is not the only metal used in the production of catalytic converters; platinum and palladium are also commonly used.

    Hydrocarbon emissions can be reduced by 87 percent, carbon monoxide is reduced to 85 percent, and nitrous oxide is reduced by 62 percent with the use of these precious metals in catalytic converters.

    What Are Used Catalytic Converters Worth?

    Catalytic converters typically contain less than 0.03% platinum, which is worth roughly $30 per gram. On the other hand, rhodium might fetch as much as $517 per gram.

    A typical catalytic converter contains approximately 13 ounces of tungsten, which accounts for approximately 90 percent of its weight and is valued at approximately $40. 

    Which Catalytic Converters Have The Most Platinum?

    According to data from 2021, Ford F250, Dodge Ram 2500, and Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Coupe 63 had the most platinum in their catalytic converters. Due to the presence of precious metals, their value might range from $1,000 to $3,300!

    How much gold is in a catalytic converter?

    There is no gold in catalytic converters. Catalytic converters only contain rhodium, platinum, and palladium. A chemical reaction occurs at high temperatures to remove the most harmful components of these exhaust gasses. A catalyst such as platinum, rhodium, or palladium makes this chemical reaction more effective and accelerates it.

    Gold cannot do this process as it does not have high heat resistance like the rest. That’s why it is not used in catalytic converters. 

    Bottom Line

    Now you know what metal is in the catalytic converter of your car. So, your car really contains precious metals, including platinum and rhodium. However, you should not try to extract precious metals from the car as it is not easy to extract. 

    We hope this article was helpful & informative. Please leave your valuable thoughts & suggestions in the comments below!

    Thank you for reading!