The exhaust is made up of a few different pieces, the most expensive part is the catalytic converter or cat for short. The cat contains precious metals such as platinum and palladium.
How a catalytic convertor works.
Before catalytic converters were developed, waste gases made by a car engine blew straight down the exhaust tailpipe and into the atmosphere. The catalytic converter sits between the engine and the tailpipe, but it does not work like a simple filter: it changes the chemical composition of the exhaust gases by rearranging the atoms from which they are made:
- Molecules of polluting gases are pumped from the engine past the honeycomb catalyst, made from platinum, palladium, or rhodium.
- The catalyst splits up the molecules into their atoms.
- The atoms then recombine into molecules of relatively harmless substances such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and water, which blow out safely through the exhaust.
Inside a catalytic convertor.
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