SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Catalytic converter on the underside of a car. This device reduces the toxic emissions from an internal combustion engine by converting the harmful exhaust by-products into relatively harmless ones. Oxidation catalysts convert hydrocarbons to carbon dioxide and water. Three- way catalysts convert oxides of nitrogen back into nitrogen. A 90 percent reduction of pollution emission has been achieved without loss of engine performance or fuel economy. The addition of a catalytic converter to a car necessitates the use of unleaded fuel since the lead compounds added to regular petrol as anti-knocking agents contaminate the catalyst.
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