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Education and Outreach Programs

Lincoln-Way East High School ESRP 2018

Uncovering Flaws and Failures in Catalytic Converters Using XANES

Authors:

  • Students:
    • Thomas Arndt
    • Kendall Blankenberg
    • Samantha Bollman
    • Noah Marron
    • Zachary Martin
    • Noah Baker
    • Arnulfo Pulido
  • Teachers:
    • Benjamin Voliva
  • Mentors:
    • George Sterbinsky (Argonne National Laboratory, Advanced Photon Source & Center for Nanoscale Materials)
    • Tianpin Wu (Argonne National Laboratory, Advanced Photon Source & Center for Nanoscale Materials)

Center for Nanoscale Materials; Advanced Photon Source Sector 9: Spectroscopy Group

The purpose of our experiment was to focus on the causes for the failure of catalytic converters to complete the reactions of harmful compounds to less harmful oxides and relatively inert elemental nitrogen. It is hypothesized that the failure is due to one or more of the following causes:
1) The catalyst is being reacted and consequently stripped from the interface of the converter and the exhaust fumes.
2) The catalyst is being rendered ineffective by the accumulation of scale at the exhaust/catalyst interface
3) The life of the converter is being reduced through uneven wear and formed a gradient pattern throughout the converter and reduced its effectiveness over time.

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