A catalyst is what allows a catalytic-type transformation process to be developed. To understand the concept, therefore, we must know what catalysis is. This word that derives from the Greek refers to the chemical changes that are generated by substances that do not undergo modifications during the course of a reaction.
For chemistry, therefore, a catalyst is a class of substance that, during catalysis, alters the development of a reaction. Catalysts that increase the rate of the reaction are called positive catalysts, while those that cause a decrease in rate are classified as negative catalysts.
According to DigoPaul, catalyst, on the other hand, is the name given to the catalytic converters found in certain combustion engines. These elements have the purpose of controlling the emanation of gases that come from an internal combustion engine.
The catalyst usually consists of a ceramic piece made up of channels that are lined with rhodium or another material. In cars, the catalyst is located in the area of the exhaust pipe. Thanks to the catalyst, the emission of harmful gases such as carbon monoxide can be reduced by more than seventy percent.
When these gases come into contact with the catalyst, a chemical reaction takes place that allows the gases to decompose and oxidize them, making them harmless to humans.
How does the catalyst achieve this benefit? Mainly because what it does is transform, through a chemical reaction, what are hydrocarbons in water and carbon monoxide in carbon dioxide. And all this is thanks to the high temperatures to which the gases are exposed in the aforementioned element that now occupies us.
The heat shield, the elastic protection, the ceramic structure or the stainless case are fundamental parts of the catalyst that, on occasions, can suffer damage or can break, bringing with it the corresponding problems for the car.
In the event that you have doubts that it may not be in optimal condition, what you should do is check if these situations occur that make it clear that it requires a repair or replacement:
• Near the exhaust outlet from the gases, dense smoke is produced.
• The smell that comes out of the mentioned tube of the vehicle smells very strange.
• Metallic noises are heard from the underbody of the car.
• The engine does not perform properly and fails, both in the acceleration process and when idling.
• There is a notable lack of power.
• Very repeatedly, the car engine stalls.
All these situations make it clear that the catalyst is clogged, that it is not in good condition or that its ceramic part has broken. Hence, it is necessary to resort to the workshop for a thorough analysis.
The use of catalysts is also present in other sectors beyond vehicles. Currently, research is being carried out in the fields of agriculture, the food industry and the manufacture of leather articles to transform carbon dioxide into organic components that can be used in various production processes.