Nitrogen oxides are a mixture of compounds released from the exhaust of a combustion engine. Nitrogen oxides emissions is a major problem in Europe and to this date, there are still cars driving around without a catalyst to reduce its harmful effects The most important and abundant compounds of Nitrogen oxides in a mixture are  :

-Nitrogen oxide (NO)
-Nitrogen dioxide (NO2)
-Nitrous oxide (N2O)

And a range of less abundant binary compound forms of oxygen and nitrogen

Nitrogen oxides are created during high temperature combustion and Diesel produces more NOx than gasoline due to a higher pressure and temperature. The most important mechanism in which NOx are formed is the reaction of N2 naturally found in the air with oxygen: (Zeldovich)

reaction 1

1.Toxicity Human Health and Environment

NOx pollute the environment and produce acid rain due to a number of reactions with water:



 NOx irritate a person’s lungs and can cause breathing problems in elderly and children. If Nitric oxide is present in the air it will rapidly react with Ozone (O3) to create smog. N2O Global warming potential has been determined to be 294 stronger than CO2.

 Driving a car every day for one hour without a catalyst is as harmful to your health as smoking 2 cigarette packages a day.

An older car with a malfunction catalyst carries the same risk as a car without a catalyst.

Nitrogen Oxides cause nausea, irritated eyes, lung problems, reduced oxygen uptake, swelling of throat, sinusitis and shortness of breath

2. How A Well-Functioning Catalyst Can Safe Your Life

A catalyst is not a filter but converts toxic elements with the use of elements such as Platina, Barium, Palladium or rhodium. These elements come in contact with the toxic gasses and break down the molecules in non harmful components Such as CO2, H2O and N2.

Catalyst figure

3. How your Catalyst Degenerates and Why You Must Maintain It

A three way catalyst attracts many impurities which can stain and stick to the conversion elements. Oil for example has a devastating effect on the framework and leaking oil can stain the elements. When the car is used to drive only short distances the catalyst never reaches its optimal working temperature and compounds that are not fully converted stick to the ceramic surface. When the catalysts heats up they can oxidize and corrode.

Checking and cleaning your catalyst is vital to ensure that your catalyst is working properly and toxic compounds are converted in harmless compounds. A useful video on how to check and clean your catalyst can be found below: