Catalytic converters contain metals such as platinum and rhodium, which reach high prices on the black market. Why do catalytic converters become an endangered species? Because they contain three valuable metals: platinum, palladium and rhodium, which makes them worth hundreds, even thousands of dollars, stolen or not. That's what rhodium thieves are looking for. It's very rare, very expensive and has some strange properties.
Could there be a better time for a dreaded chemistry lesson from hell? I don't think so. With the increasing rarity of precious metals, as well as the high cost, scientists are studying the possibility of replacing rhodium and palladium with catalytic converters, New Age Metals reported. The catalyst component of a catalytic converter is usually platinum (Pt), together with palladium (Pd) and rhodium (Rh). The most common metals, such as iron, aluminum or copper, are more chemically reactive and rapidly oxidize (and decompose) under the conditions necessary to purify gasoline exhaust gases, at a temperature of approximately 600°F.
They contain a honeycomb coated with precious metals such as platinum, palladium and Rhodium, which helps reduce and filter harmful fumes from vehicle exhaust systems. Most of today's recycled catalytic converters come from cars manufactured, on average, 10 or 15 years ago. To avoid significant financial losses, companies must quickly and accurately determine the Pt, Pd and Rh content in spent catalytic converters at the collector site or in refineries. Difficulties in extracting rhodium and other precious metals from South African mines increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the government ordered them to operate at 50 percent capacity, according to Reuters.
There are several reasons for the large price spikes for rhodium, including that it is the rarest of platinum metals, according to Live Science. Catalytic converter thefts have increased in lockdown amid a rise in the value of precious metals, research shows. My brother has some catalytic converters that he intends to recycle, but he's not sure about the procedure. You can boil any of the metals in nitric acid (practically nothing on earth will survive this) and they sit there laughing.
The aftermarket value of catalytic converters comes from the minuscule quantities of precious metals they contain, which can be extracted from used parts. With numerous applications and limited supply, these valuable metals are an attractive target for the recovery and reuse of spent catalytic converters. These three platinum group metals, or PGM, are extremely rare, but they have a wide range of applications in addition to catalytic converters.