The catalytic converter is a device added to the exhaust systems of automobiles in order to reduce the amount of pollutants put into the air. Carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides are oxidised in the converter; the byproducts of this oxidation become carbon dioxide and water. Several expensive metals are needed for this process, including platinum, rhodium and palladium. These materials have a high resale value and if you are scrapping a car and want to pull these metals out of the converter, it is simple to do so.
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Saw the converter off the vehicle. You can either elevate the car or just slide under the back end of it. You'll see a honeycombed metal container with a pipe coming out of both sides. Remove the converter by cutting the pipe on both sides or by removing the clamps, if the converter is clamped on.
Pound on the sides and the ends of the converter with a hammer or mallet to break up the honeycomb material inside of it. The honeycomb will break up into smaller pieces inside the metal shell.
Tilt the converter on it's end and hold it over a clean towel. Shake the converter to dislodge the honeycomb chunks and cause them to fall out onto the towel. The platinum, rhodium and palladium are attached to the honeycomb as a coating.
Tips and warnings
- The catalytic converter should be cool when you remove it from the car. If it is hot, you are likely to burn yourself.
- Only remove catalytic converters from your own car that you are either replacing or not using anymore. Removal of someone else's catalytic converter for the purpose of salvaging the metals, without consent, is illegal.
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