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Last updated:

April 20, 2022


Unlimited Duration


This course includes:

Unlimited Duration

Badge on Completion

Certificate of completion

Unlimited Duration


This course is concerned primarily with the chemistry that underpins the operation of the three-way catalytic converter that is placed in the exhaust systems of motor vehicles in order to reduce the emissions of primary pollutants:

carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen and volatile organic compounds, including hydrocarbons. Discussion of the various effects of these pollutants and the consequent introduction and refinement of 'automotive emission regulations' has not been included, nor is there a look forward to future research trends.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • Discuss how the gas mixture expelled from the engine, and the conversion performance of the three-way catalytic converter, depend on the air/fuel (A/F) ratio
  • List the chemical reactions whereby the three-way catalyst removes carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) from petrol vehicle exhausts
  • Interpret the results of experimental studies (involving activity tests, kinetic measurements, adsorption studies and/or various surface science techniques) of the three-way catalyst and appropriate model systems
  • Discuss possible mechanisms for the catalytic reactions removing CO, hydrocarbons and NOx from vehicle exhausts
  • Outline the modes of deterioration of the three-way catalyst, and comment on the strategies that could be used to reduce H2S emissions.

Course Curriculum

  • Introduction 00:10:00
  • Learning outcomes 00:10:00
    • Exhaust pollutants 00:15:00
    • Composition 00:20:00
    • Catalyst performance 00:25:00
    • Exhaust emission characteristics 00:45:00
    • Introduction 00:30:00
    • Removal of CO 00:45:00
    • Removal of hydrocarbons 00:15:00
    • Removal of NO 01:00:00
    • Postscript 00:20:00
    • The role of CeO2 00:45:00
    • Chemical reactions: summary 00:20:00
    • Introduction 00:10:00
    • Thermal effects 00:25:00
    • The effect of poisons 00:25:00
    • Phosphorus 00:10:00
    • Sulfur 01:00:00
    • Catalyst deterioration: summary 00:20:00
    • Conclusion 00:03:00

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