In automobiles, a component of emission control systems used to reduce the discharge of noxious and polluting gases from the internal-combustion engine. The catalytic converter consists of an insulated chamber that contains a honeycomb structure or pellets coated with a catalyst, through which the exhaust gases are passed. Hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide in the exhaust are converted to water vapour and carbon dioxide, and nitrogen oxides are reduced to nitrogen and oxygen.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.For the full entry on catalytic converter, visit Britannica.com.
What made you look up catalytic converter? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.
Take our visual vocab quiz
A quick quiz about stuff worth knowing
The commonly misspelled words quiz
The Vocab Quiz Game for iPhone & iPad
"Incredibly fun and addictive. And informative!" User Review, iTunes