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Are catalytic converters poisonous? Answered


I've been looking around and it seems like most catalytic converters have palladium in them. I think palladium is mostly inert but palladium salts are highly toxic. I would like to open up a catalytic converter and use the substrate to make a thermoacoustic engine stack.

So do you know if it would be poisonous to me to open a catalytic converter?

Thanks!

Discussions

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Frostbite36
Frostbite36

4 months ago

It is not uncommon, but highly illegal, for "early" passenger diesel truck owners to "hollow out" the material within a catalytic converter to attain an engine performance advantage. In states or counties requiring a diesel smog test, part of the test is a visual inspection of emissions equipment on the vehicle (including the presence of the CAT)...even if the modification may not be detected with a particulate matter detection/sniffer. Because of this, people will remove the internal catalytic converter material on their trucks and still retain the body to maintain the stock non-modified appearance. Back to the question...while removing this internal material by brute force, much fine dust is produced. This material is partly made of heavy metals and also likely has asbestos for insulation and internal packing. It is surely a respiratory hazard! I would recommend the use of a high-quality filter or rebreather if/while handling this crumbed dusty CAT internal matetial. Of course all this is still illegal (tampering with emissions) under both USA Federal EPA laws and state laws requiring emission tests. Just ask Volkswagen...

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steveastrouk
steveastrouk

8 years ago

Palladium ? I thought they used platinum ?

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Kiteman
Kiteman

Answer 8 years ago

Most use platinum, but some use palladium, rhodium, also cerium, iron, manganese, nickel and copper. Some use combinations of two or more metals.

Nickel is illegal in European converters because it reacts with carbon dioxide, and copper is illegal in the US because it produces dioxins.

I already knew about palladium, but not the rest - got to love that Wikipedia.

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RedneckEngineer
RedneckEngineer

Answer 8 years ago

+1 I think your right. Thats why there is so many people stealing them off peoples cars and trucks. They sell them for the platinum inside to recycle centers. With the cost of platnium per ounce its too much of a temptation for thieves with a portable sawsall.

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snotty
snotty

Answer 8 years ago

I think I read that newer ones in north america use palladium though.